At the peak of DVD market penetration, I discovered the wealth of action movies, old and new, that somehow passed me by. How did I miss Rambo? What was I doing when Kickboxer was out on video? This has helped me build a respectable library of movies, almost always focusing on the action, albeit sometimes horror-action and scifi-action.
I also remember seeing on the shelves movies I had never heard of; that probably nobody had heard of. To my eyes they looked cheap and nasty. Why would anyone be interested in a Universal Soldier movie without Van Damme in it? How many movies does Steven Seagal have with him pointing a gun on the cover? Body Parts? Bloodfist?! That just sounds terrible.
Terribly AWESOME that is. That is what I have been discovering the past few months. Just because the cover SCREAMS 'direct to video' doesn't mean it will be BAD. Most of the time some enjoyment can be had from these movies. A lot of the time they are almost on par with their larger, more expensive peers. And the best thing is picking up a lot of these movies in retrospect is very cheap thanks to eBay and the like.
Companies such as PM Entertainment in the 90's and Nu Image in the 00's have kept the direct-to-video and made-for-tv flame alive. With little budget and second-tier actors they make enjoyable no-nonsense action movies that, generally, do the job well and don't outstay their welcome.
This blog will feature all kinds of action movies - buddy-cop, disgraced soldier, warring street gangs, merciless alien hunter, etc. - but will try to focus on the lesser known titles, new and old, and give them a fair go.
The setupI have two review setups; one will be used more than the other.
Pictured here is The Reclining Throne Room. It comes complete with Coke Zero and Doritos to keep me awake and alert, and a notepad to take notes as I watch. The TV is a Samsung Series 5 32" LCD with great colour and deep blacks. Connected to it are a matching Samsung C5500 Bluray and upscaling DVD player and my Popcorn Hour media streamer (for playing downloaded content, though the new Samsung can also do this so the Popocorn Hour may be sold off at some stage). There is also an LG combo DVD/VHS player which will come in handy for any videos I find.
I source my DVDs all over the place. JB Hi Fi for newer and easy-to-find releases, Lawsons in the CBD for deleted titles, Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk for imports and eBay for everything in between. For hard to find VHS tapes I will resort to BitTorrent. I will also be getting a Quickflicks account so I can rent movies easily.
I'm a bit of a sucker for quality prints and correct aspect ratios in my films, so I will also be giving a brief description of the video and audio quality of the particular DVD (or video) I have reviewed and try to find out if what I am seeing is what the director had intended (no pan-scan or cropped videos when I can help it).
My other setup (not pictured) is a 46" Toshiba LCD with an Oppo BDP-83 Bluray/upscaling DVD player. Due to it's location in the main lounge room it will be reserved for reviews that need Bluray Zone A playback or are suitable for watching with my lovely wife; and also for any future group action-fests with my friends.
I hope you enjoy my blog! Please leave comments against the reviews if you have anything to say - not necessarily about the movie in question either!