CONNORS’ WAR is a straight to video picture most of you never heard of, starring Treach (from Seagal’s TODAY YOU DIE) and Nia Peeples (from Seagal’s HALF PAST DEAD) written by some guy who wrote HALF PAST DEAD 2 (not Seagal’s).
Treach plays Connors, a dude from a notorious secret government agency of super badass loose cannon killers and problem solver type individuals. There’s a PGFDTV (pretty good for direct to video) opening where some terrorist individuals have the first lady hostage in a fancy hotel. When the secret service arrives on the scene (they should’ve been with the first lady in the first place – I blame their incompetence for this movie even happening) they are told by the police that Sgt. Mandela is already working on it. It would be funny if the movie tried to name a guy Mandela, but this is actually a joke played by Brooks, the head of this secret agency. He sits smiling in the lobby and bragging that his team is already inside. His team, it turns out, is Connors dressed as a waiter.
Being a one-man counterterrorism team is pretty badass, but Connors must want to do some extra showing off because for some reason he goes in there without any weapons. He only uses knives and guns that he manages to swipe from inside. He saves the first lady but, as often happens in these sorts of scenarios, the fuckin secret service won’t listen to him, they storm the room and set off explosives and he gets blinded.
Skip ahead to two years later, now Connors is a grumpy blind dude whose houseboat is a mess and his only friend is a disabled old hippie who he is mean to even though this guy brings him food. Connors is still training, for example he runs really fast down the dock and tries to stop right at the end without falling in the water. Good job, Connors.
But suddenly Brooks shows up. It turns out there is an experimental treatment which could restore Connors’ eye sight. If he was a good friend, or if he was worthy of his Mandela alias, Brooks would help Connors get the eye treatment to get his life back together and repair the damage done by his heroic act of live-saving. Instead, Brooks tells him he will get him the treatment IF he does a mission for him that night. Yeah, thanks alot Brooks.
The eye treatment involves injecting a solution into his eyes meant to mimic the mirror-like surface that causes cats’ eyes to glow. The treatment sort of works in waves, giving Connors a blurry fish-eyed vision and super night vision like Riddick. Also by the way he’s an ex-con who was coerced into working for a secret government agency just like another Vin Diesel character, Triple X.
So then Connors goes on this mission where he breaks into a government compound and blows out the backup power supply, then he sneaks around in the dark and nobody can see him. The movie is directed by a guy who knows a thing or two about sneaking around in the dark, Nick Castle, who played Michael Meyers in the original HALLOWEEN. This is nothing new, the guy’s been directing for years. His best known are probaly THE LAST STARFIGHTER and THE BOY WHO COULD FLY, although he also did crap like MAJOR PAYNE and DENNIS THE MENACE. The dude is not exactly Kubrick, or even Kubrick’s cousin, or even a guy who once delivered a pizza to Kubrick’s cousin and said “are you by chance related to Stanley Kubrick?” and the guy said “yeah” and he said “that’s cool.” He’s not that guy but he IS Michael Myers. And you know what man, regardless of who is the best slasher, we can say definitively that Leatherface didn’t direct a movie. Chucky didn’t direct a movie. Jason didn’t direct a movie. Freddy directed 976-EVIL, but did that have a member of Naughty By Nature in it? I’m not sure because I don’t know who the fuck is in Naughty By Nature other than Treach, but I’m guessing no. Better luck next time, Freddy. You blew it.
The main thing keeping this from being a great DTV movie is that there isn’t a whole lot of action in it. If I remember right Treach did some pretty good action in LOVE AND A BULLET, but here he gets one minor fight, a couple gun shots, some sneaking around in the dark. He stabs a guy once, but that’s in the opening, you forgot about that by the end. He crashes a car through a fence in one part. Nothing too spectacular.
The other problem is the title. Connors really doesn’t have a war. That’s okay, because one man having a war, whether it really happens in the movie or not, is always a good corny action concept. However, my problem is with the name Connors. I mean, if it was just Connor, that would make sense. CONNOR’S WAR. That’s what I thought it was and that’s what IMDb still lists it as. But it’s not Connor, it’s ConnorS, with an S. So it’s CONNORS’ WAR. As in, CONNORS’S WAR. It just doesn’t have the same ring to it when the apostrophe gets moved over one slot. I don’t care if it’s playing in theaters or not, I demand a tasteful placement of all apostrophes.
However, I have to repeat my belief that Treach is a pretty good DTV star. His personality isn’t very convincing as a government agent, but he’s charismatic. This one also has a pretty good story. There’s nothing original about it but it’s a fun time, the intermittently blind badass getting doublecrossed by his mentor and having to stop him without selling out to the man. I liked the story enough that I was able to watch it in one sitting with minimal distraction, which is the test you must past to qualify for a BTADTV (better than average direct to video).
I also have to note that it has a few quirky touches that made me like it. I will attribute these touches to the directorial vision of Michael Meyers. First of all, Connors’ friendship with the disabled hippie is pretty cool because it’s just there for flavor, it has no purpose in the plot other than to have a hippie van to loan to Connors. The hippie never gets held hostage and he never sees Connor do some crazy stunt and then have some wacky reaction like “Man I gotta stop smoking this weed!” or nothin like that. In fact, there’s no reason why he has to be disabled and I don’t think they ever comment on it either. Their friendship is kind of sweet.
My favorite touch was the ending of the movie. There’s a nice little scene at the end where Connors and his new female friend (he makes the moves on her but they never really become a couple) sit under a sunset discussing the outcome of the movie. We find out that nothing went right: they both lost their jobs, they didn’t really tie up the loose ends, and Connors is blind again. Of course, he ends up revealing that he made out with a bunch of money, but I still like that he’s still blind and didn’t completely clean up his mess. It’s not really the ending you expect. Unless you read this review already. Spoiler.
So I kind of enjoyed this, but I can’t really recommend it to other people, since they have better things to do, lives to live, journeys to mount, dreams to chase. If you don’t, though, it’s not that bad. You could do worse.
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.