20 Hidden DVD Gems to Seek Out: Part Two

Over the course of this week, we will uncover twenty titles you need to seek out at your local DVD store. Here is Part 2.

The list is laid out something like this. The title, year it was made, genre, synopsis and finally my rating. I hope to do more of these lists as I uncover some of the treasures hidden at the local videostore.

15. Legionnaire (1998) (Action – Drama)

Jean-Claude Van Damme stars as Alain Lefevre, a boxer who decides to defy a mobster and not take a fall in a huge boxing match. To avoid being killed by the mob, Alain escapes to join the French Foreign Legion stationed in Africa. Alain quickly realizes that the struggle to stay alive as a “legionnaire” might be more harrowing than avoiding the mob.

Alain learns a lot about himself and the power of redemption and friendship. “Legionnaire” ranks in the top 5 best Van Damme films among that top 5 are films like “Bloodsport” and “Timecop”.

The reason this film is so much better than a lot of the films Van Damme has done is that it is presented as an epic. The film showcases glorious cinematography, epic war battles and a great performance from Van Damme, which showcases an internal human struggle. Forget the crap films Van Damme has made  like “Knockoff”, “Universal Soldier: The Return” and “Maximum Risk” and embrace this entry in the Van Damme action journey. This movie is way better than it deserves to be! A true must for Van Damme fans and fans of epic adventure. (4 out of 5)

14. Live Wire (1992) (Action – Drama)

Danny O’Neill (Pierce Brosnan) is a bomb disposal expert assigned to a case where terrorists have developed an “invisible” biological liquid explosive. Their targets include a group of US Senators and one of them happens to be sleeping with Danny’s wife.

“Live Wire” is the 2nd Brosnan film on this list and another welcomed discovery. The film is directed and photographed like a “Lethal Weapon” film and has the adrenaline and intensity of that style. The explosive is so original I decided not to reveal what it is in this review.

You really have to see the film to understand how unique it is. It’s something I have never seen before or since. Another similarity between “Lethal Weapon” and this film is the way Brosnan plays Danny.

He plays him a lot like the way Mel Gibson portrayed Martin Riggs, burnt out and as explosive as the materials he uses.

Brosnan accomplishing this draws us into a deeper connection to the character. There is a lot of charisma in Brosnan and from his acting in this film it’s not surprising he was James Bond. (3.5 of 5)

13. Mr. Frost (1990) (Horror – Suspense)

What if Satan walked among us? A man named Frost (Jeff Goldblum) is imprisoned for murder after he is arrested while burying his victims in a garden. However, even while under strict psychiatric care, it becomes obvious that Mr. Frost is not all that he seems. There is more behind this mysterious man than meets the eye. “Mr. Frost” is so blatantly eerie that it sweeps you in with a stranglehold. Goldblum is charismatic and plays one of the spookiest characters you will ever see. Think Goldblum playing a charismatic and younger “Hannibal Lecter”. For the whole film you aren’t sure what makes the man tick and that is what makes it so addicting to watch. Goldblum is brilliant in this mind-bender. (3.5 of 5)

12. No Way Back (1996) (Action – Drama)

When F.B.I. Agent Zack Grant’s (Russell Crowe) partner is killed in an operation goes sour, he will do anything to find the man or men responsible. The action gets intense when airline stewardess Mary (Helen Slater) gets mixed up in Zack’s crusade.

These problems snowball as Mafioso and Yakuza complications present themselves. “No Way Back” is a solid and adrenaline packed action film that debuted just a year before Crowe became famous to the world in “LA Confidential”.

Crowe brings such grit and demeanor to the burnt out hero that we cheer for him all the way through. The film’s ending doesn’t do the rest justice but the reason to see this film is purely for fans of Russell Crowe. (3.5 of 5)

11. Raising Cain (1992) (Suspense)

Jenny Nix (Lolita Davidovich), wife of eminent child psychologist Carter Nix (John Lithgow), begins to neglect her daughter after an adulterous affair with an old flame (Steven Bauer).

While Jenny becomes enthralled in the affair her husband becomes deeply concerned for the well being of their daughter. Some rather distressing kidnapping grip the neighborhood in which the Nix’s live.

Could these kidnapping be linked to Carter Nix’s past. Lithgow is utterly brilliant, as he has to play not 2 characters but 4.

His performance even dives deeper into depth as Carter Nix begins to go insane.

Director Brian DePalma seems to give Lithgow a lot of leeway, as some of the mental shuffles seem almost ad-libbed. Those scenes are brilliant to watch as you see the magnificence of Lithgow.

The real sad note of the film is that it is way to short and the script seems to bolt along. The script could have used a little more detail.

The film is a great suspense ride and with the perfect performance by Lithgow which make it a great renter. (3 of 5)

2 thoughts on “20 Hidden DVD Gems to Seek Out: Part Two

  1. Jeff Goldblum as Satan? I had no idea! Where has this movie been? I love me some Jeff Goldblum, so I am putting this in my Netflix A.S.A.P. Thanks for the suggestion.

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