Played (2006)

Played (2006) -* *

Directed By: Sean Stanek

Starring: Val Kilmer, Vinnie Jones, Gabriel Byrne, Bruno Kirby, Anthony LaPaglia and Mick Rossi

Played was a decent crime thriller despite its budget shortcomings.

Ray (Rossi) is a small-time thief who is framed for a crime he didn't commit. When he gets out of jail, he falls back into the same life.

The budget for this movie was $338,000, so I understand why it was shot on video instead of film. I was worried about that because the usual Lionsgate (shot on video) output is usually terrible ("Green River Killer", "Heebie Jeebies"). It actually looks good in most scenes.

Mick Rossi does a fine job as Ray. But the big name stars are only in this for maybe five minutes each. Kilmer does his usual professional work. His dialogue was improvised and it shows. ("You're not gonna Taco, Ray.") Jones plays a good bad guy. Byrne appears stiff and looks like he wants to be anywhere else. I also noticed that almost all the actors are on the phone. It's pretty cheap just to shoot actors talking on a phone.

Overall, Played was a satisfactory crime flick, that's a good second or third choice at the video store.

Comeuppance Review by: Ty


The Contract (2006)

The Contract (2006) - * * *

Directed By: Bruce Beresford

Starring: Morgan Freeman and John Cusack

The Contract was a pretty good thriller.

Frank Carden (Freeman) is a hitman about to do another job when he is sidetracked by a car accident. His cover is blown and the authorities are bringing him to Washington. But Carden escapes into the woods and meets Ray Keene (Cusack) and his son. With the cops and other hitmen after them, they have to escape.

Freeman and Cusack put in their usual professionalism. It's fun to see Freeman as the bad guy. Cusack gets to kill a few people too. The action scenes are well-shot and the scenery in Bulgaria looks beautiful.

The only thing that's odd is why two top-drawer actors would be drawn to a project fit for Eric Roberts or Michael Pare, but it works.

The Contract is one of the biggest DTV movies of the year and it's definitely worth seeing. It's a good couch-potato flick.

Comeuppance Review by: Ty

Animal 2 (2007)

Animal 2 (2007) -* * *

Directed By: Ryan Combs

Starring: Ving Rhames and Vicellous Reon Shannon

Animal 2 is just as good as the original.

James "Animal" Allen (Rhames) is back in jail for a crime he didn't commit. On the outside, his son James Jr. is framed for murder. The only way James Jr. stays out of jail is that Animal fights Mexican and Black prisoners.

As usual, Ving puts in a good performance as James. Shannon as Darius makes you forget that Terrence Howard was the original character. He has a great speech towards the end. There's also some decent fight scenes. The only problem with that is during the fights the movie repeats the same music over and over again. But that's not a big deal.

The movie lays the groundwork for an "Animal 3" which I would look forward to seeing.

Animal 2 is just as good as the first one, which is surprising for a DTV sequel.

Comeuppance Review by: Ty


A Letter From Death Row (1998)

A Letter From Death Row (1998) -*

Directed By: Bret Michaels

Starring: Bret Michaels, Charlie Sheen, and Martin Sheen

I'm sorry to say this, but A Letter From Death Row is, unfortunately, awful.

Michael Raine (Michaels) is accused of killing his girlfriend and is put on death row. He starts to think about how he can save his life.

This movie is a nightmare to watch. Michaels can't direct or edit at all. There's one scene in the beginning where he does karate moves in front of a mirror and all these color effects and strobe lights start killing your sense of vision. Let's talk about his acting skills: Why? Charlie (Or Charles as he liked to called during 1997-1999) and Martin Sheen drop by to light their dignity on fire.

Michaels made another movie in 1998: No Code Of Conduct. It's a million times better than this.

I think all copies of "A Letter From Death Row" should be executed immediately.

Comeuppance Review by: Ty

Yo-Yo Girl Cop (2006)

Yo-Yo Girl Cop (2006) -* * *

Directed By: Kenta Fukasaku

Starring: Aya Matsuura

Yo-Yo Girl Cop is a fun flick!

A rebellious teenager (Matsuura) is recruited to go undercover in a private school to weed out potential terrorists. She needs to do this to save her mom. When she gets to the school, she realizes she's in too deep. There's one more piece of crucial piece of info: She's armed with a deadly steel yo-yo!

It's a good idea and the opening sequence is slick, but the movie lags in the second half. It makes up for it in the climax though. Matsuura puts in an entertaining performance.

Yo-Yo Girl Cop is worth seeing for the cool yo-yo action and Matsuura's performance.

Comeuppance Review by: Ty


Point Blank (1998)

Point Blank (1998) -*

Directed By: Matt Earl Beasley

Starring: Mickey Rourke, James Gammon, Paul Ben-Victor, Fredric Forrest, and Danny Trejo

This movie won't be confused with the Lee Marvin classic of the same name. For good reason. It gives straight to video a bad name and gives the 90s a black eye.

This is one bad film. With clumsy editing, terrible performances and rip-offs galore! One of the major missteps is the editing. Rourke's character Rudy is a supposed "Karate Master" but when he does a roundhouse kick to a guy it first cuts to the foot then jaggedly cuts to Rourke killing him. Rudy from The Cosby show has better moves than this guy.

This is Rourke's monotone years, where you need subtitles to hear what's he's saying. If you somehow hear the wretched dialogue he's reciting, mute the TV. It is better without the sound anyway. Let's also not forget how "roided" up Rourke is. Are you kidding me? All that boxing really did damage his brain. Danny Trejo gets shot like 15 times (twice in the HEAD!) and he's wearing a motorcycle jacket! Just don't watch this film unless you're having a party and everybody is drunk.

Comeuppance Review by: Ty

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Angel Of Death (2002)

Angel Of Death (2002) -*1\2

Directed By: Pepe Danquart

Starring: Mira Sorvino and Oliver Martinez

Semana Santa AKA Angel Of Death is a very weak movie.

Mira Sorvino plays a detective who is trying to find a killer who shoots arrows in people.

"Why do I have to move this flashlight? What movie are we making again?"

 Mira has an Italian accent which falters from time to time. Couldn't she just speak English? All the other characters have a forced Mexican\English accent which is distracting. The dialogue is very bad and the delivery of it is wooden. The cinematography looks nice, but that's not enough to save this tripe. THIS NEXT PART OF THIS REVIEW DOES CONTAIN SPOILERS!!!!

During the climax it looks like the villain is going to get away, but then he comes back down stairs to get shot and do a cool stunt down the railing. That just shows this script has no originality whatsoever. AVOID!

Comeuppance Review by: Ty

Doing Hard Time (2004)

Doing Hard Time (2004)-* *1\2

Directed By: Preston A. Whitmore II

Starring: Boris Kodjoe, Giancarlo Esposito, Michael K. Williams, Sticky Fingaz, and Steven Bauer

I thought Doing Hard Time was a decent movie. All the performances are good especially Williams as Craig and Sticky Fingaz as Eddie.

The plot is about Mike (Boris Kodjoe) who purposely gets himself thrown in prison because the killers of his child are in the same jail, and he wants revenge. It does have all the clich├ęs you expect in a prison movie (The corrupt guards, every prisoner has a cool nickname\disability). It tries to be different by showing the killer to have a heart and be remorseful and in the long run, it does work. The script is a little weak at points because it sometimes tries too hard to be "the outside the box prison movie".

In the end: It's worth seeing for the odd plot line and gritty performances.

Comeuppance Review by: Ty


The Contractor (2007)

The Contractor (2007) -* * *

Directed By: Josef Rusnak

Starring: Wesley Snipes, Lena Headey, and Charles Dance

The Contractor is the best DTV Snipes movie yet.

Agent James Dial (Snipes) has to take out a target in London. It goes as planned, but the police and his former employers are after him.

The movie has a good mix of action and drama. Snipes (finally) looks interested in the material and it shows. Lena Headey and Charles Dance also have their time to shine too. It's fast-paced and suspenseful. I think it's better than the similar titled\plotted Shooter (2007) with Mark Wahlberg. The Contractor was actually called "Shooter" but it was changed for obvious reasons.

I'm excited to report that The Contractor is worth seeing and not the usual piece of DTV junk that Snipes has foisted upon us in the past.

Comeuppance Review by: Ty