Sunday, July 4, 2010

To the Limit (1995)

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Tagline:

Her code name was Colette. Her mission was danger.

Back of DVD:

When Frank DaVinci's wedding day turns into a massacre, he finds himself in the middle of a war between rogue CIA agents and the underworld. A missing CD Rom leads the mysterious and Sexy Collette through a quagmire of exploding bombs, double-crossing partners and military trained assassins. She has the key to unlock the dangerous secrets, but is she a friend or deadly enemy?

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Movie Review:

I picked up this PM Entertainment movie from my local Dick Smith store for two bucks. It comes with another Anna Nicole Smith (ANS from now on, it's easier to type) movie on the same disc, "Skyscraper". I haven't watched that one yet but christ it better be better than To the Limit was. This only barely rates as an "action" movie. There are about four sex scenes (mostly with ANS), one bathtub scene and one shower scene where she gets intimate with the shower head.

So now that I've "wet" your appetite (haa... ) I'll describe the movie proper. An American and Russian with bad accent (think 'nuclear wessels') are meeting in a darkened room with a perpetually swinging light to make a deal. The Russian with bad accent leaves with a suitcase and boards a chopper. He gets double crossed and pushed out, but the double-crosser opens the case to reveal blank paper and a bomb, which blows up in his face and takes the chopper with it. The American, watching on a computer screen from his darkened room with swinging light looks through some photos and says "Now Mr. DaVinci, we deal with you."

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Joey Travolta (yes, brother of John Travolta, playing Frank DaVinci) is getting married to his girl. After a bucks/stag night he and his best men, the Bambino brothers, head to the church for the wedding. ANS has been invited to this wedding but is running late because she is playing with herself in the bath (to the tune of a song with lyrics "everything a man could want") and then has sex with her husband. ANS's massive talent is on show in this scene - so much talent it consume the whole screen at times. This movie is ALL class. Once that is all over with and they head to the car she realises she has forgotten the present and goes inside. When her husband gets in to the car and starts it, it explodes. At the same time at the wedding they had just missed, Frank and his new wife (a Playboy Playmate friend of ANS) are shot, as well as half the guests, by guys in black balaclavas. The cops turn up and return fire for one of only two shootouts in this supposed action movie, but Frank is badly injured and his new wife already dead. Some bad guy gets shot with a shotgun when he's on fire which is nice, but one of the assassins gets away.

Some time later, ANS returns to her hotel and more balaclava'd henchmen burst in. I was impressed with this scene as ANS does a roll, grabs a pistol and point blank shoots the two assailants. One doesn't die instantly so she pins him down with her foot, swears "Fuck you" at him and shoots him dead. The movie needed more of this stuff, and the car chase that followed. It's a standard chase but it has two hilarious parts: her pursuers car appears to randomly explode (at least I couldn't pick what made it explode the first time I watched it, but I picked up later that she had dropped a grenade on the road). That wasn't as funny as ANS crashing her car straight through a landed helicopter that gets engulfed in flames, but she manages to just drive through the wreckage unscathed. Utterly ridiculous. She goes to visit Frank (wearing a black wig, red beret and bad sunglasses - now THAT'S a good disguise) but when she sees the Bambino family exit the hospital she drives away and disappears to the mountains for a while.

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There is far too much drama and relationships in To the Limit and not enough explosions. Frankly, this is boring. Even with the multiple titillation scenes, it was a confusing, badly scripted yawnfest for the most part. "Three Months Later" Frank is alive and well, though hobbling with a cane. On his first night out with the boys in Vegas since his wifes death, he finds ANS in his hotel room. She explains that she is a CIA agent and tells Frank who shot him and his wife, and her husband. His name is Arthur Jameson (Jack Bannon, brother-in-law two both Joey and John Travolta), and he was the American from the opening scene if you weren't paying attention. He too is CIA but has gone rogue or something. This plot is all about a CD-ROM that ANS's husband had that had enough evidence on it to send Jameson to the gas chamber. She struggles to hack into computer files without the CD, probably because her hunt-and-peck typing skills are too poor.

There is a bizarre S&M scene with Jameson that is worthy of mention. He lights up a massive crack pipe then gets whipped by a girl in bondage. It's so bizarre and irrelevant. I don't know if it is meant to say 'look how insane this guy is', but it just doesn't work. Speaking of not working, any scene involving Frank's little niece is painful to watch. One of the worst child actors I have seen. Then there are the cringeworthy lines, mostly delivered by ANS; like the one to Frank just before she sleeps with him, "If you help me forget, I'll help you forget." Another awkward line is between Frank and one of the Bambinos. "Jameson fucked us both.", "Let's fuck him back." Arrrgghhh....

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The final shootout is average and we are revealed a secret about ANS, but the real standout part of this movie is the ending (I'm sure you won't mind me ruining it for you). Frank eventually acquired this damning CD-ROM and will trade it to Jamesons who holds one of the Bambinos hostage. They meet over Hoover Dam (where any movie that has any scene in Vegas ends up at for its climax). ANS shines the CD in Jameson's eyes to confuse him, takes the disc and throws it, embedding it in his forehead! It doesn't shatter or anything! Jameson falls into the dam to his death and the movie ends (skip to the last screenshot to spoil the movie).

If you hadn't worked it out yet, I thought that this movie was a boring, confusing and generally painful mess. When there was action, it wasn't too bad - the flipping cars and resulting explosions were quite nice - but there was nowhere near enough of it and it was interjected with too much bad dialogue. Twenty minutes could have been shaven off this movie and it would have been much more bearable. I'm sure the creators of To the Limit where trying to focus on ANS's other "assets" and not her (appalling) acting skills, but she proved at least once in this movie that she could kick some arse, even if just a little. I would have much preferred to see her throwing more CD-ROMs at people and less monotonous sex scenes that feel totally out of place, and are only present so that we can see more of this once Playboy Playmate of the Month in the nude.

Hopefully Skyscraper will be better, but I think it might be some time before I bring myself to try it out. Not one of PM Entertainment's finest hours.

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The Video:

I reviewed the Payless 'DVD Double Feature' with Skyskraper. As the movie is one of two on the same disc, and that disc is only single-layer, the video was heavily compressed. There was severe macro-blocking in the dark scenes. The source picture was from a VHS master and was very washed out. The sound was adequate, though in many scenes the bad recording and lack of ADR showed itself with echoing in rooms and hallways. Runtime 96 minutes.

Sourced From:

Dick Smith CBD for $2.

Trailer:

More Screens:

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2 comments:

  1. I actually enjoyed this film, though i'll amdit as far as PM films go this one ranks near the bottom of they're catalogue(Skyscraper is a significant improvement as it has alot more in the way of action and rarely slows down for plot, and it also has a gratitious shower scene for ANS) If you want a REAL PM film, then check out stuff like Last Man Standing, The Sweeper, the Cybertracker films, Hologram Man, The Elite, T-Force, Zero Tolerance, Riot, The Silencers, Rage, Steel Frontier and Guardian Angel.

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  2. That's good to know that Skyscraper is better than this. I have quite a few of those films you mention and more in the post; T-Force in particular looks great.

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