9/29/2006

Connors' War (2006)


Connors' War (2006) -* *1\2

Directed By: Nick Castle

Starring: Treach,  Blu Mankuma and Nia Peeples



"They'll never see him coming..."




Connors' War is a decent, if flawed action movie. Treach plays the title character who is blinded on a mission. He is recruited for "one last job" by his mentor, Brooks (Blu Mankuma). Connors' mission is to steal a secret serum. As usual, there is a double-cross, and Connors has to fight to stay alive.




The best thing about the movie is Treach's performance. He does a really good job playing blind. You feel for him. But when he spouts out words like "O.G. Killer Dawg", some of it is lost though. Nia Peeples is okay as the doctor who helps Connors, but her character doesn't do much. Blu Mankuma goes through the motions as Brooks.

One major problem is that there's not a lot of action here. There's a gunfight at the beginning and end of the movie and the rest is exposition. As far as "Treach"-ery is concerned, Love and A Bullet (2002) is a little bit better.

But overall, Connors' War is worth watching for Treach.




Comeuppance Review by: Ty

9/25/2006

Mercenary For Justice (2005)


Mercenary For Justice (2005) -*1\2

Directed By: Don E. FauntLeRoy

Starring: Steven Seagal, Luke Goss, and Roger Guenveur Smith










I liked Seagal.... in his prime. A long time ago (okay, 1989) Steven Seagal was the master of the martial arts, A man who speaks little, but makes up for it in kicking butt... and he was lean and mean. Nowadays, he's fat, he can barely talk above a whisper, and he just doesn't care. But he keeps churnin' out the junk.

And I keep falling victim to it. For Seagal DTV standards (does that even make sense?) It isn't as bad as Submerged (2005) but it's not as good as Belly Of The Beast (2003).

John Seeger (you know who...) is an ex-mercenary, CIA, FBI dude, who has to break into a prison, while orchestrating a bank robbery. Then Seeger shoots lots of people. That's about it.



What's with the three word titles? Enough already. I guess people don't think it's a Seagal flick without a three word title. The title doesn't even make sense. A mercenary works for money and has no soul, he doesn't do it for justice.

The only actors good in this is Roger Guenveur Smith as the villain Mr. Chapel and Luke Goss as Dresham. But even they were coasting.

Out For Justice? More like Out To Lunch...and he hasn't come back yet.


Comeuppance Review by: Ty

9/21/2006

Creep (2004)


Creep (2004) -* * *

Directed By: Christopher Smith

Starring: Franka Potente











Creep is an effective horror film.  Kate (Potente) is on her way to a party when she gets trapped in a London train station. That's not the least of her problems because she has to avoid the bloodthirsty monster lurking within.




Creep works because of its limited, but scary, location. It also has atmosphere to burn. The movie is drenched in dark, and the only light is outside the tunnel. Potente does an good job as well. The movie has more suspense than gore in the first act, but when last act comes rolling around the blood starts to fly! I like that the director keeps the monster under wraps until the ending.

Creep is a well-made horror film that's definitely worth watching.





Comeuppance Review by: Ty

Drop Dead Sexy (2005)


Drop Dead Sexy (2005) -* * *

Directed By: Michael Philip

Starring: Jason Lee, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Brad Dourif, Melissa Keller,  and Crispin Glover








Drop Dead Sexy is a pretty funny, but dark comedy. The plot: Frank and Eddie (Lee and Glover) are friends who are looking for a big score. When Frank is sent to deliver cigarettes to the evil Spider (Pruitt Taylor Vince), their truck explodes. But the plot thickens when Spider wanted them to die. Frank needs to get money fast, so when he sees that a rich young woman named Crystal (Melissa Keller) died, Frank and Eddie decide to dig up the body and blackmail the husband. They realize her death isn't all what it seems. Eddie also begins to fall in love with Crystal...


Jason Lee and Crispin Glover have good chemistry together. They make most of the jokes work. The movie does get into some themes with necrophilia, which could turn some people off. Vince plays a scary gangster, Brad Dourif (The voice of Chucky) makes a weird cameo appearance as a way too interested morgue attendant. The movie is set basically around a strip club, so there's lots of gratuitous nudity. (That's not a bad thing...)

This is the time of year when Lionsgate puts a movie out that's normal not shot on digital junk like Heebie Jeebies (2005). See also Creep (2004)

Overall, Drop Dead Sexy is worth seeing for the actors and somewhat unusual plot.


Comeuppance Review by: Ty

9/18/2006

The Visitation (2006)


The Visitation (2006)-* * *

Directed By: Robby Henson

Starring: Kelly Lynch, Edward Furlong, and Randy Travis











The Visitation is a well-made supernatural thriller. The plot is: Brandon Nichols (Furlong) comes to a small town. He was touched by God and wants to relive it to other people. But Brandon has something more sinister in mind... Reverend Jordan (Martin Donovan) and Morgan Elliot (Lynch) figure out the secret of Brandon and try to stop him.




This movie is very good because it was so low-key. It doesn't have fancy effects. (It has some, which look decent). The film is fueled by the acting. Donovan and Furlong are excellent. The both show the sadness and evil in both characters. Randy Travis was also a surprise. He has an interesting role as a paraplegic. Kelly Lynch was okay. She doesn't do much except stand around. She's better in Road House (1989).

The Visitation is worth looking out for.

Comeuppance Review by: Ty

Truth Be Told (2002)


Truth Be Told (2002) -*1\2

Directed By: Jeff Byrd

Starring: Blair Underwood, Craig Sheffer, and Regina King











Truth Be Told is a boring cop thriller that's not very thrilling. Cops Stratten and Harris (Sheffer and Underwood) are corrupt cops after some dirty money. There's a doublecross involving Rayne (King) too.

The problem is that nothing happens in this movie. The movie stares back at you with a blank expression. If you look at the cover, it looks like an exciting action thriller. The Lionsgate company always practices the "art of the deceptive cover". This is no exception. There is no action, just talking. Craig Sheffer and Blair Underwood are okay, but King doesn't have anything to work with. Truth Be Told was also known as: "Final Breakdown" and "Turnaround". If the movie can't decide on a title, that means the movie can't decide on a tone or genre.

The "Truth" is: "Turnaround" when you see this, and you won't regret it.

Comeuppance Review by: Ty

Survival Of The Illest (2004)


Survival Of The Illest (2004)-*

Directed By: Greg Carter

Starring: E-40, Big Moe, and Scarface










Yo! What Up Dawg! This is The Review Rapper MC T-Dog in the hizzay! The plotz iz: Nothing! There's no plot at all. It's just scenes cobbled together with rappers "acting". I guess Big Moe and E-40 put in good performances, but I can't tell them apart (because they're both overweight rappers, of course). Here's what I can gather: There's a gunfight, some talking in a poolhall, and another gunfight stretching the running time to 85 minutes. The best part is the opening shootout because when the homies get shot they forget to die. It's funny.

Survival Of The Illest is no Juice (1992) or In Too Deep (1999) . It's more like an even cheaper version of Urban Menace (1999) or Full Clip (2004) if that's even possible.


Comeuppance Review by: Ty

Ghetto Dawg 2: Out Of The Pits (2005)


 Ghetto Dawg 2 (2005) -* * *

Directed By: Jeff Crook and Josh Crook

Starring: Paris Campbell,  Daniel Outlaw, Lou Torres, and J-Hood















Ghetto Dawg 2 is surprisingly just as good as the first one. I can't believe it. This time, Dante (Outlaw) has to fight for his life when his pitbulls lose in an illegal fight. A hitman with a cold heart of gold, if that makes any sense, named Jojo (Campbell) helps him, and it turns ugly for all involved.



Paris Campbell as Jojo is great, and reason alone to see this. Outlaw also puts in a decent performance. The writing and directing are top-notch for a DTV effort. Lionsgate has been known to put out urban garbage (State Property 1 and 2, Gang Tapes) so this was a surprise. The dogfights are brutal and so are the killings by Jojo, and it was cool to see this intact and not cut up like a rap music video. Don't roll your eyes at this one. It's actually worth seeing.

Comeuppance Review by: Ty

Ghetto Dawg (2002)


Ghetto Dawg (2002) -* * *

Directed By: Brian Averill

Starring: J. King, Portia Cue,  Lawrence Winslow, Gianna Palminteri, and Drena De Niro









 Ghetto Dawg is a well-acted urban drama. J. King stars as Tariq. He wants to escape his life as a carjacker, but he can't because his gangster boss Gresh won't let him. To fuel his hate for his job even more, he falls in love with Robin (Portia Cue). When Gresh hears about Tariq's new love, he wants to destroy it.

What could've been a "Yo Dawg, What Up, Rappa" disaster, turns into a subtly acted film. J. King and  Cue put in solid performances, given the material. Winslow as Gresh goes a little over the top, but not too much to ruin the film. I like that the film has a realistic ending also. Ghetto Dawg is definitely worth seeing. Don't be fooled by the bad title. There's also a sequel.

Comeuppance Review by: Ty

Black Listed (2003)


Black Listed (2003) -* *

Directed By: Robert Townsend

Starring: Robert Townsend, Harry J. Lennix, and Heavy D











Black Listed has a good idea but poor execution. Alan Chambers (Townsend) is a lawyer and sick of his job. He corrals his friends into forming a vigilante group. Everyone goes along with it at first, until it turns sour and innocent people start dying, and Alan is the only one left standing.




Robert Townsend is a good actor. Hollywood Shuffle (1987) is a comedy classic. This time around, he falters. It's not his problem though. The problem is the absolutely horrendous transfer this movie has. I say that because every shot is out of focus, and the angles are wrong. You don't see the person talking, you see a shot of the sidewalk instead. It's very distracting. On the commentary, Townsend never mentions it, which leads me to believe that he was watching a correctly formatted version. How can York Entertainment even release this to the public? Does the company think people are so stupid they don't mind that they can't see a movie correctly formatted to fit their screen? It's embarrassing. Overall, the movie isn't bad, but if you see it, get ready to be mad at York Entertainment.


Comeuppance Review by: Ty

9/16/2006

Silent Partner (2005)


Silent Partner (2005) -* * *

Directed By: James D. Deck

Starring: Tara Reid, Nick Moran, and Gregg Henry









Silent Partner is about CIA agent Gordon Patrick (Moran) who is sent to Russia to investigate the "Death" of Mikhail Garin, a Russian government official. Gordon is met by the American Ambassador (Henry) to help in the case. Gordon finds out that Garin's death was suspicious and finds himself in the company of Dina (Reid) who may know information.



Nick Moran is decent in his role. His character is not an action hero, so he does a good job in conveying that. Tara Reid actually does a good job. Her heart is into it and her Russian accent is not bad. Gregg Henry is wasted though. He doesn't do anything. The action scenes are exciting. The car chase was cool and the gunfight was first-rate. Overall, Silent Partner is a fun action movie that keeps your attention.



Comeuppance Review by: Ty

Johnny Was (2005)


Johnny Was (2005) -* * *1\2

Directed By: Mark Hammond

Starring: Vinnie Jones, Patrick Bergin, Lennox Lewis, Roger Daltrey and Eriq La Salle











Johnny Was is an excellent thriller with a twist.

Johnny Doyle (Jones) is trying to live the straight and narrow. He lives in a flat between a Rasta DJ named Ras (Lewis) and Julius (La Salle), a psycho drug dealer. Then out of nowhere, Johnny's old partner in crime Flynn (Bergin) shows up. The cops are after Flynn, and Johnny lets him stay in his house. But there are tensions between Flynn and Julius.

What's really good about this movie is the acting. Vinnie Jones is perfect as the title character. Eriq La Salle almost steals the movie... In a good way. The title makes sense, and the ending is very different. The movie has a mixture of styles that work.

Johnny Was is one of the most entertaining movies of the year, and I highly recommend it.





Comeuppance Review by: Ty

9/13/2006

Cube Zero (2005)


Cube Zero (2005) -* * *

Directed By: Ernie Barbarash

Starring: Michael Riley, Zachary Bennett, and Stephanie Moore










Cube Zero is a definite step up from the other sequel Cube 2: Hypercube (2002) Even though it's directed by the same guy.

This time the plot is different: who's behind the Cube? You get to meet Eric (Bennett) who works the mechanics of the Cube. He begins to get infatuated by one of the Cube captives named Cassandra (Moore). He wants to help her, so he goes into the dangerous cube to find her.




The traps and gore in this movie are really cool. The acid spray garbage chute is the best trap. The actors are mediocre, but they get the job done. You do care about most of the characters, and the twist at the end connecting Cube Zero to the first one is very original.

Cube Zero is surprisingly good, considering the sequel and recent output by Lionsgate.


Comeuppance Review by: Ty

Madhouse (2004)


Madhouse (2004) -* * *

Directed By: William Butler

Starring: Joshua Leonard, Jordan Ladd, Natasha Lyonne and Lance Henriksen








Madhouse is an entertaining horror movie. The plot is: Clark Stevens (Leonard) is hired at Cunningham Hall, a mental facility. It's run by Dr. Franks (Henriksen). At first Stevens suspects nothing, until he sees ghosts. He wants to find out more about this, but the "red tape" at Cunningham Hall intrudes upon him. He realizes one more secret about Franks and then all hell breaks loose. Or does it...?



Leonard does a really good job as Clark, you feel for him. Henriksen doesn't really get to do much, but his presence is welcome. Natasha Lyonne makes a cameo appearance as a mental patient. She doesn't advance the plot. The gore scenes are exciting, but it's mostly a psychological thriller.

Madhouse shouldn't die a quick death at video stores. Check it out.




Comeuppance Review by: Ty

Cutaway (2000)


Cutaway (2000) -* * *

Directed By: Guy Manos

Starring: Tom Berenger, Dennis Rodman, Ron Silver, Casper Van Dien and Stephen Baldwin









Cutaway is one of the goofiest films ever. Baldwin plays an FBI agent named Vic who goes undercover and meets "Red Line" (Berenger) who is a skydiver. 'Line uses his skydiving skills with the help of "Turbo" (Rodman) to smuggle drugs.



For a DTV film, this has a pretty big B-list cast. It also includes over-the-top performances by Ron Silver and Casper Van Dien. Silver shouts all of his lines, for example: "I'M YOUR PARTNER! THEY WERE SHOOTING AT ME!"

Van Dien is just kinda there. Baldwin is very wooden as usual. He has one expression on his face: boredom. Berenger does a good job, but Rodman tries too hard.

What's good about this film are the skydiving stunts. They look great. The rumor is that the cast did all of their own stunts. The best thing in the movie is a line by Vic's character when he gets "In Too Deep" - (whispering): "I'm Cutting Away". I guess that means you're getting away from life's problems. There's no need to get serious. Speaking of serious, the ending is a perfect example of melodrama.

But overall, "Cutaway" is a fun movie if you're a fan of Stephen Baldwin, or Tom Berenger.


Comeuppance Review by: Ty

9/11/2006

Phoenix (1998)


Phoenix (1998) -* * *

Directed By: Danny Cannon

Starring: Ray Liotta, Anthony LaPaglia, Daniel Baldwin, Jeremy Piven, Brittany Murphy, Kari Wuhrer, Xander Berkeley, Giancarlo Esposito, Giovanni Ribisi, Tom Noonan, and Anjelica Huston








Phoenix is a hidden gem. I've seen it over five times. For some reason, it never gets old.

Harry (Liotta) is a cop with a gambling problem. He can't stop. He owes money to "Chicago" (Noonan) and he if he doesn't pay up, he dies. Harry's partners Henshaw (LaPaglia) and Nutter (Baldwin) are dirty and are becoming "collectors" to bookie Louie (Esposito). Harry needs money fast and the only way is to rob Louie. Everybody goes along with the plan until there's a double cross.


There's not a lot of action in the movie until the end, but it's not needed. Ray Liotta is excellent in the movie. But the supporting cast steals it from him. LaPaglia is fantastic as Henshaw. He makes the character come alive. Baldwin, Esposito, Kari Wuhrer, and Anjelica Huston all get their time to shine.



Phoenix is a gritty crime movie that Liotta and LaPaglia fans must see.


Comeuppance Review by: Ty

To purchase the American poster click here

Direct Action (2004)


Direct Action (2004) -* * *

Directed By: Sidney J. Furie

Starring: Dolph Lundgren and Polly Shannon 










Frank Gannon (Lundgren) is about to blow the whistle on a group of dirty cops from the "Direct Action Unit". But first, he has to train his new partner, Billie Ross (Shannon). During a drive to a coffee house, they are ambushed by the cops. Gannon kills them all. When some other members hear about this, they also try to kill them.



The plot is simple, but exciting. All the action scenes are solid. You don't usually get to see Lundgren use his hand-to-hand combat skills, when he does, it's awesome. He did all of his own stunts.

Like Van Damme, Lundgren is branching out as an actor. He does a great job. Polly Shannon is a good foil for him. They have a nice chemistry.



 Grab some popcorn, crank up the volume and you'll have a fun time.





Comeuppance Review by: Ty

9/10/2006

Bottoms Up (2006)


Bottoms Up (2005) -*1\2

Directed By: Erik Macarthur

Starring: Jason Mewes, David Keith, and Paris Hilton










Bottoms Up definitely deserved its fate. It's an unfunny mess.

Jason Mewes plays Owen, who is a bartender. His Dad's bar is about to close because of money problems. Then out of the blue, Owen sees there's a "King of The Bar" contest in California. He applies, but doesn't win, and now he needs to get the money fast. He meets Lisa Mancini (Hilton) and blackmails her to be popular.



It's a very stupid plot, with the choppiest editing I've seen in awhile. There's no buildup, or segue into scenes. There are plot holes and there is dialogue missing. And the "Golden Palace.Com" plug was the most shameless plug ever. "Hey man, I have an idea, let's win some money at Golden Palace.Com!" says one character. Also, why does Paris have blonde hair on the cover, but she's a brunette in the film?

Jason Mewes was trying his hardest to breathe life into his character, but the script let him down. Paris Hilton was also trying... but not too hard though. She's basically playing herself. It's funny when other characters call her "A whore". Truth in jest perhaps?

Let's not mince words: Bottoms Up is terrible.





Comeuppance Review by: Ty

9/07/2006

Immortel (2004)


Immortel (2004)-*1\2

Directed By: Enki Bilal

Starring: Charlotte Rampling









Immortel is from a visual standpoint beautiful. But style over substance can only get you so far. As a movie, it's jumbled and annoying.

 In 2095, some Egyptian pyramid comes down from the sky and releases a bird man of sorts. I think some woman named Jill who has blue hair has to stop it. I wish this was a better plot description, but even IMDB can't explain it. The plot summary trails off.



Immortel was shot on a "digital backlot" AKA a green screen, but what the crud is going on? There's birds, blue people, and pyramids flying all over the place. Then it ends. I guess it's too hard for a movie to MAKE SENSE. Maybe I don't "get it", but at least tell a coherent story.


If you like visual eye candy watch it, but as a movie, stay away.

Comeuppance Review by: Ty

The Immortals (1995)


The Immortals (1995) -* * *

Directed By: Brian Grant

Starring: Eric Roberts, Chris Rock, Joe Pantoliano, Clarence Williams III, Kevin Bernhardt, William Forsythe, Tia Carrere, and Tony Curtis









The Immortals looks like the usual heist thriller but it's not. Jack (Roberts) assembles a team of thieves to rob money from different parts of town and it leads up to the double cross of gangster Dominick Baptiste (Curtis). On the outset it looks the thieves have nothing in common except one thing....which I can't reveal because it's pretty original for a direct to video action movie. Speaking of action, it never stops. If you like bloody gunfights, this is your movie. It was a good idea to cast Tony Curtis. He classes up the movie. Eric Roberts is excellent as usual. William Forsythe, Joe Pantoliano, and Tia Carrere as the thieves step up to the plate and give it their all in the roles. Chris Rock, on the other hand, looks confused to why he's in the movie.

 The Immortals is worth watching for the different plot twist and non-stop bloody action.




Comeuppance Review by: Ty

Belly Of The Beast (2003)


Belly Of The Beast (2003) -* * *

Directed By: Siu-Tung Ching

Starring: Steven Seagal









Who's naming these movies? I think the title department at Sony has a vendetta with Seagal. That has to be the only reason - all of Seagal's titles sound like his present weight condition. Out Of Reach (2004)?....for a sandwich. Today You Die (2005)? Just add a T at the end of the title. Submerged? ....In fat. Okay, I'll stop. But it's so addictive. Seagal could stand to lose a few pounds. He's wearing muumuus now. He's wearing freakin'  muumuus! Take a look at the picture on the bottom of the page.

Belly Of The Beast has a bad title, but it's an entertaining movie. "Jake Hopper's" (Seagal) daughter is vacationing in Thailand when she is kidnapped by Islamic terrorists. Now Jake has to find her and stop the madness within.

What's good about Belly of the Beast is that it looks like Seagal cares about this particular outing. He puts a lot of effort into the fight scenes. He's using wires and a stunt double, but he's trying. Seagal as an actor? He needs improvement, but who watches his movies for the character development and dialogue? You can't hear what he's saying anyway. You need closed captioning and even that doesn't work sometimes.

Belly Of The Beast is junky fun at its finest.




Comeuppance Review by: Ty

9/06/2006

The Cutter (2005)


The Cutter (2005) -* *

Directed By: William Tannen

Starring: Chuck Norris, Aaron Norris, Bernie Kopell, Tracy Scoggins, Daniel Bernhardt








This isn't a movie about depressed teenage girls, in fact, The Cutter is an action movie starring everybody's favorite American Chuck Norris. The movie should be a no-strings-attached action flick and because it doesn't succeed at that, I can't help but be let down by it.

The plot: An old diamond cutter named Isaac (Kopell) gets kidnapped by Dirk  (Bernhardt) and he is put in a cell to cut a centuries-old diamond. John Shepard (Norris) is the detective who has to save him. The problem with the movie is that it tries too hard. There's some dialogue and situations involving the holocaust that hurt the flow of the movie. It's distracting. The movie's heart is the right place though.




Chuck Norris does a decent job with the material he's given, but basically he's coasting. What Norris does excel at is his martial arts. We all know Chuck's pretty silly, but when you see him fight, it's still kind of exciting. There are two good fights in the film: The one on the bus and the end fight. The only problem is that the action is cut too fast to see, but you can make out Norris and not a stunt double (most of the time).

The movie in a nutshell is a 90 minute "Walker, Texas Ranger" episode but with more explosions.





Comeuppance Review by: Ty