I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Wrong Side of Town

tn_wrongsideoftownI don’t know if you guys remember this, but one time I reviewed a horror movie called CHAOS, and the director of the movie challenged me to a wrestling match in the Ain’t It Cool talkbacks. The director was David DeFalco, a some-time independent circuit wrestler, director of the movie THE BACKLOT MURDERS, and guy who played Marquis De Sade in THE EXOTIC HOUSE OF WAX under the name “Bobby Young.” He was known for wearing spiked collars and Marilyn Manson style contacts and yelling things like “I’m a demon! I’m the king of violence!” during Q&As for his movie. The official CHAOS websight boasted that he had been banned from the 24 Hour Fitness gym chain. I guess after that he had to start working out at the L.A. County Morgue – that’s where the DVD extras show him flexing his muscles and yelling wrestling promo style taunts to Roger Ebert. So I was pretty excited to see his new one.

mp_wrongsideoftownWRONG SIDE OF TOWN is not horror, it’s a B-or-lower action movie more along the lines of POINT DOOM (a terrible Richard Grieco movie that DeFalco wrote and appeared in). It belongs to the new subgenre of DTV action movies starring lesser known WWE stars*, a sister-genre of the DTV action movies starring guys from UFC. It stars Rob Van Dam (named for his slight resemblance to Jean-Claude, I assume) as Bobby Kalinowsky, a former Navy SEAL who is in the wrong place (i.e. side of town) at the wrong time and ends up in the crosshairs of a drug dealer or something. A club owner anyway. A guy who wears suits and has henchmen.

Bobby has to get across town when everybody’s trying to kill him, like in THE WARRIORS. Also his daughter gets kidnapped. At one point he explains his predicament as, “A neighbor invited Donna and I to a club and we got into some trouble.” That would also be a good title.

Rob Van Dam is… A NEIGHBOR INVITED DONNA AND I TO A CLUB… AND WE GOT INTO SOME TROUBLE!

See, the couple who just moved in next door invite them to dinner at this club, The Mayan. When the ladies go to the bathroom and the neighbor gets back before Donna, Bobby immediately jumps up and runs to help, as if this is a sure sign of trouble. He happens to be right, because the coked out co-owner of the club, left in charge for only an hour, tried to hit on Donna and is now pinning her down in a backroom trying to rape her. Bobby tosses him around, the creep pulls out a knife, accidentally falls onto it and dies.

Now the club owner guy has made sure everybody in town (at least on this side) is trying to kill Bobby. Luckily he has some skills. “As far as trained killers go,” we’re told, “this guy’s the elite of the elite.” He can get the cops to leave him alone just by pulling out the “Special Services” ID card that he keeps loose in his pocket, although he doesn’t try that trick until the second time he’s in an interrogation room. He’s believably tough and does some pretty good stunts, but doesn’t have the grace of the “elite of the elite,” more like the stiff movements of a guy who’s injured every body part known to science in the ring. But he tries to use his wits to get out of messes, not just brawn, and he knows how to do self bullet removal and what not. He’s surprisingly worldly for a dude with that shaved-on-the-sides/ponytail hair cut and an ugly Ed Hardy type t-shirt with a sequin cross over his heart.

This is not what most people would call “a good or above average movie.” There’s not even trace amounts of imagination in it, most of the acting is bad, the dialogue is stiff and lazy (when they need somewhere to meet they just call it “the abandoned pier by the bridge.” What the fuck is an abandoned pier anyway? How do you know a boat’s not gonna show up?) And with the exception of one fight which I’ll get to later none of the action is very well choreographed or staged. I also gotta say that as much as I didn’t like CHAOS there was something to be said for the rawness of it, and the lack of music. Now that DeFalco’s making a movie with a sense of humor he’s got a cheesier look and slathers the thing in shitty metal and rap songs that just pile on top of the scenes instead of work with them.

But I’m glad I chose not to spend the four or five years since CHAOS training to face The Demon in the ring in case I had to negatively review his next movie, because the truth is I got a kick out of WRONG SIDE OF TOWN and would recommend it to others who enjoy DTV action for the not necessarily intentional quirks that make them a little more charming and funny than their higher budget counterparts. You can no longer say something like this is “good for DTV” because it’s so clearly obliterated on every artistic or spiritual level by UNDISPUTED II, BLOOD AND BONE, NINJA or of course UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: REGENERATION. But it’s some goofy shit that made me smile, starting with its James Bond style opening credits (when was the last time you saw a movie where a silhouetted woman actually lip synchs the theme song?)

The script is made up almost entirely of recycled materials, the oldest cliches possible (the old Navy buddy who he saved the life of who now saves him and says they’re “even”, etc.) but some of them aren’t all the way thought through, and that makes for some good entertainment. For example, when Bobby finally gets to the right side of town his wife tells him they kidnapped his daughter and, “They said they were gonna kill her if you didn’t come rescue her!” That’s their demand. Not “give us a million dollars” or “promise to leave town” or even “turn yourself in,” but “come rescue her.”

Another good one is when some thugs seeking the bounty on his head have him at gunpoint and he tricks them by saying, “You shoot me you lose the money and the diamonds.” He tells them a phony story about the boss being after him because he has diamonds in his sock. Although skeptical about his claim they at least accept the logic that if they shot him it would be impossible to then take diamonds out of his sock.

And I wouldn’t dream of giving away the big twist at the end. Okay, I’ll give it away. Turns out that the brother of the club owner who was killed was actually… his son. So that’s the true reason why he was so mad. It wasn’t because his brother was killed, it was his son, but he pretended they were brothers. That changes everything, right? You almost want to go back to watch it from the beginning to see if there were any hints. A real mindblower.

Most people wouldn’t care about this, but I appreciate that it has a few subtle tweaks on action movie business as usual. The hero’s wife looks more normal than usual, and is at least in her mid-thirties. They save the hot twentysomething to play the daughter. Although Ja Rule is in the movie briefly there’s not a wisecracking or streetwise black sidekick – in fact it’s a nerdy black architect sidekick. He doesn’t jump around acting scared like Martin Lawrence, though he later lays in bed and talks about wishing he had done more to help. It’s not the usual minstrel show shit. After escaping some street thugs he says, “We’ve come a long way from slavery to Obama. You need to stop using the n-word. It’s disrespectful.”

Director David "The Demon" DeFalco
Director David “The Demon” DeFalco

I honestly think whatever charm is in the movie actually comes from DeFalco. Even though I think he overreacted to me calling him a “dipshit” in my review, I do think it’s cool that there’s a guy like him out there who straddles the worlds of wrestling, horror conventions, movies about “pit fighters” and softcore porn. Because of that unusual background he seems to be able to flush alot of interesting weirdos out of the fringes of L.A. (even though this one was filmed in Baton Rouge). Here he’s got this goofy looking wrestler trying to be a square family man, getting chased by a motley crew of rappers, wrestlers, bodybuilders, dudes with mohawks and blue hair, a guy who looks like Ric Flair without muscles, bouncer types with ZZ Top beards, and even DeFalco himself leading a gang who attack Bobby at a gas station. When he goes to ask an old friend for a favor he finds him sitting in a club next to Stormy Daniels with her tits casually hanging out. This is a world where you can be walking down the street and suddenly a guy with a skeleton bandana over his face drives by on a motorcycle and whips you with a chain. You beat him up, steal his motorcycle and luckily already own a helmet. This is my reality, Roger Ebert.

One thing I couldn’t help but notice though is that they cast the wrong guy in the lead. Nothing against Van Dam (well, maybe against his haircut). He seems like a charming guy in the interviews on the disc, but in the movie has a typical retired NFL player level of movie star charisma. But there’s another wrestler I wasn’t familiar with, Dave Batista, who plays his old friend Big Ronnie, and that guy is great! He’s monstrously tall, has an interesting face and a strong screen presence, and of course is only in a supporting role. And it almost seems like the movie figures out he’s the more interesting one because Big Ronnie ends up having a longer and more involved fight at the climax than Bobby. A henchman who spent the rest of the movie standing around in sunglasses looking like Sticky Fingaz suddenly turns out to be a great martial artist – he’s played by Marrese Crump, the movie’s fight trainer (whose only other credit on IMDb is a GI Joe fan film). Crump and Batista have a long martial arts battle and knife fight while Van Dam just knocks the main villain over and snaps his neck in about 5 seconds.

Big Ronnie also gets the best shot in the movie, when he abandons Bobby to be killed (partly because he’s mad that he never invites him out to dinner) and then you see him in vivid color in the foreground stopping and thinking about it before changing his mind and deciding to save him.

Wait a minute – I just went to get the cover art and realized the cover has Batista in the foreground, five times bigger than Van Dam, with his name at the top in a much bigger font. Van Dam, the actual star of the movie, is standing in the background on equal footing with Ja Rule, who just has a cameo. Now I feel bad for the guy. Sorry Van Dam. At least he gets his name ahead of Omarion from YOU GOT SERVED (I’m not sure who he played in the movie). And they spelled Batista’s name wrong. I guess it all evens out.

The extras unfortunately don’t have much of Dave the Demon, you see him on set but there are no interviews, commentaries or visits to morgues. This is not the movie that opens the Doorway to True Evil that he talked about back in the CHAOS days. But for a shitty wrestler movie it’s pretty watchable – I definitely enjoyed it more than some of the official WWE Films releases like THE CONDEMNED and THE MARINE. I hope he continues in this direction but lets his freak flag fly even higher, and maybe then everybody will stand up and pledge allegiance to it.

Also, let’s get this Batista guy in some more movies. In real life his badass juxtaposition is that he collects metal lunchboxes:

batista-lunchboxes

*By this I guess I mean anybody less mainstream popular than Stone Cold Steve Austin. From reading Wikipedia it’s clear that Van Dam is a superstar in wrestling, but I figure since I didn’t really know who he was exactly then nobody who doesn’t watch wrestling ever heard of him. I might have seen him before though when I watched wrestling in the ’80s because it says he was an audience plant who got paid $100 to kiss the foot of “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase.

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.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010 at 9:34 pm and is filed under Action, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

68 Responses to “Wrong Side of Town”

  1. “But for a shitty wrestler movie it’s pretty watchable ”

    Vern – Now you’re just sucking up, afraid he might pull a Uwe Boll on you in the ring.

    Anyway to fill in your wrestling knowledge gaps by this smark:

    Rob Van Damm was a major incredibly popular star in the old ECW before he jumped to WWF (before ECW went bankrupt and WWF bought their intellectual rights and WWF for some reason became WWE) and was even WWE Champion, pinning future 12 ROUNDS star John Cena at a PPV to win the strap.

    Then he gets busted by cops for Speedin & Weedin (driving while smoking pot) and not only forced to drop his title (and paycheck) in a humiliating squash fashion…his career never was really the same. He quit some years back, but like that Jeff Hardy fellow, he fucked away his hard-earned success for the drugs.

    As for Dave Batista (simply Batista in WWE), he can’t wrestle worth a shit. But yeah you’re right Vern, he is a monster. Physically imposing and charismatic, and some surprisingly irrelevant facts: His mother’s a lesbian, he’s in his 40s, and a grandfather. Also in his club bouncer days, he got arrested for beating the total fuck out of some patrons.

    I don’t know if the lunch box collecting began before or after that.

  2. I think Van Dam got the starring role because he was more popular in the wrestling circle. Batista sucks ass in the ring. I know he’s half Filipino and maybe I should be proud that someone with Filipino blood has made it as a main event wrestler, but I’m not real proud of Rob Schneider making it in the movie business with god awful comedies. But maybe Batista should go and do movies and just quit the wrestling business. Go do what The Rock should be doing, which is action movies, instead of THE TOOTH FAIRY.

  3. Yeah , if I remember right , Rob Van Dam (RVD for the wrestling fans ) was driving to a WWE show when he was busted , smoking pot in his car with Sabu , another very underrated indy wrestler . I always considered RVD wasted potential in WWE , because they never used him in the right way . Maybe one time , during the first One Night Stand pay-per-view , when he delivered a very good , open , shoot promo about his experience in the WWE. That was fun , and in the ring he was always good and sometimes very good . Batista is just a piece of wood in the ring , but I the last time I saw him wrestle was at the Royal Rumble , so , maybe he’s getting better . Oh , and RVD’s real life badass juxtaposition is collecting comic books , in fact he was the owner of a comic book shop , like that guy from the Simpsons .

  4. CallMeKermiT – What I never understood was WWE never really having the desire to push RVD to the top during that time, despite the fact that he was incredibly over with the fans.

    Reminds me late 1990s WCW which had that legendary mid-card of Booker T, Benoit, Chris Jericho, Dean Malenko, Raven, Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio, Finlay, etc. All to a degree were super successful as heroes or heels, selling insane merchandise. Yet WCW never really got behind any of them, prefering instead for years a main event of that bloated NWO sillyness and Hulk Hogan playing air guitar.

    No wonder WCW went bankrupt, just a few short years after it nearly bankrupted Vince McMahon in late 1997.

    A good reason why that happened: WCW in 1995 fired that Steve Austin fellow because he wasn’t “marketable.” And that’s the bottom line because Stone Cold said so. *Glass Breaks*

  5. My wife is a big fan of Batista, being filipina and all, so this will be watched when it arrives in the UK later this month.
    I agree he isn’t much of a wrestler (my faves are the more athletic guys like John Morrison) but he
    has great charisma.

    I’ll say one thing for Duane “the Rock” Johnson – he might appear in some questionable movies (is
    he under contract at Disney?) but he at least has been able to bring the same charm and charisma
    he had in the ring to his films – something John Cena hasn’t been able to do.

    Yan – I believe Batista is starring/appearing in a filipino movie, a superhero comedy. I remember
    seeing a promo teaser for it over at twitch a while back.

    Vern – as you’re a fan of Isaac Florentine’s workyou might be interested in a WWE film which almost
    feels like one of his movies – Behind Enemy Lines 3: Columbia (actually directed by Tim Matheson). It’s a pretty decent DTV which has
    MR KENNEDYYYYY in the role of Reliabile Second-in-Command.

  6. That’s funny, because Batista definitely seems like the better fighter in this movie. To be fair he just has the one fight scene and obviously spent alot of time training for it. But Van Dam’s fights are mostly stiff punching and clotheslines. They didn’t really find a good way to transfer his wrestling skills to street fighting.

    I don’t know, has any movie besides THEY LIVE managed to make wrestling moves work outside of a ring?

  7. Check out FLASHPOINT, a hong Kong movie starring Donnie Yen and Jackie Wu. Their fight at the
    end of the movie incorporates a lot of wrestling moves in amongst the flying kicks etc. Pretty good movie overall, too.

  8. “I don’t know, has any movie besides THEY LIVE managed to make wrestling moves work outside of a ring?”

    Shame on you!

    Blade II!

    Blade’s fight with the lackeys before taking out Ron Perlman is full of wrestling moves.

  9. MikeOutWest – I would add that The Rock was the first movie star who also just happened to be a wrestler. All your others happened to be wrestlers (Hogan, Piper, etc.) who also just happened to do some movies. So yeah we may not care for him doing simply kids movies, but its a method of madness working for him so far. Can’t blame him.

    Speaking of WWE Films, I wouldn’t be shocked if eventually we get DTV action vehicles for guys like The Miz or M.V.P. The latter a guy who went to jail for over a decade for armed robbery and The Miz, surprising the fuck out of everybody by going from reality TV star to maybe the most entertaining, charismatic obnoxious heel on the rise.

  10. RRA : I’ve got a theory about why WWE wasn’t able to push or use RVD , and other good workers in the business, very well.It’s not really a theory , but a well known fact : Vince McMahon is a fan of big men . That’s why he’s still paying people like Mark Henry . Look at the Really Big Superstars , all big men : Andrè , Hogan , Triple H and , yes , Ultimate Warrior ( boy , his website and blog are batshit crazy ) . With some notable exceptions ( mainly Stone Cold and HBK ) they’re all big , and that mentality of the big main-eventer is not only a problem for the smaller , more high flying or well rounded superstars , but it’s also a good excuse for the smaller guys to use steroids . Plus , with some notable exceptions ( again Stone Cold ) , non WWE-born superstars are never really pushed that much once they arrive in WWE.

    Vern : RVD is more of a quick , high flying , jumping from the ropes and turnbuckle kind of wrestler . That’s not really a good style of fighting to translate into raw street fights . I will watch this movie when I can find it , but I doubt it will showcase the skills of RVD.

  11. Quite a few Vern… definately at least one of the (great!) Deathstalkers – I think Deathstalker 3 where Deathstalker uses wrestling moves on amazon women to great effect. One of my favourite movies The Barbarian Brothers as well. I pretty sure there was some wrestling moves in Willow. Hercules the series was filled with WWF style wrestling with Sorbo doing it every episode. Come to think of it, B fantasy is jam packed with wrestling moves working outside the ring.

  12. AU, thanks for reminding me of The Barbarian Brothers. I just scored a bootleg for $2.50. Awesomeness.

  13. Vern, I always thought “The Rundown” staring The Rock had great wrestling style fights in it, and is a damn good movie. The Rock’s best movie hands down.

    RVD was always a special wrestler but he never fit the WWE mold. As much as I think he is an innovator in the ring and a great worker he does not have the size or physique the WWE likes. In addition his mic work was never his strength and he has that laid back stoner demeanor about him*. The funny thing is the same things that held him back from being pushed harder by the WWE also make him an odd choice for an action movie star. I am not knocking the guy. I am a big fan. His ring work is amazing. I would point to his matches against Jerry Lynn from the original ECW or his work with the late great Eddie Guerrero in the WWE as an example of how good he was, but a movie star he is not.

    *If I remember correctly at one point being a stoner was part of RVD’s gimmick in the original ECW. The WWE had Austin 3:16 and ECW had RVD 4:20. It was pretty funny. I remember on one pay per-view there was a scene of him in the locker room getting ready for his match when his manger Bill Alfonso walked in and recommended he crack a window to help air the place out.

  14. Using an 80s comparison chart I would say Rob Van Dam is Jimmy ‘Superfly” Snuka to Batista’s “Rowdy” Roddy Piper.

  15. CallMeKermiT – You’re right, though the non-WWE native bit is ironic considering as you pointed out the two biggest WWF/E stars (Austin & Hulk Hogan) were brought in from the outside.

    Marlow – Snuka=RVD makes sense, but not Piper=Batista. For one thing, Piper could wrestle. Second, Piper’s promos were Ric Flair-caliber in being more fucking entertaining and must-see than the matches…and alot of those matches were excellent. Piper made Hulkamania possible.

  16. Wesley Snipes and Luke Goss utilize some wrestling moves during their final battle in BLADE II. It’s kind of amped up by the special fx but it’s there.

    As for the Rock, I think those family films make sure he continues to work in the mainstream and not in DTV hell. Let’s face it. Hollywood is not producing action scripts at the rate they used to. If Johnson held out for those primo action movies to come his way, he’d be waiting a long time and maybe get forgotten by mainstream audiences. To be forgotten is a fate worse than death in Hollywood and something to be avoided at all costs, thus, TOOTH FAIRY.

    Having said that, I think he oughta’ hook up with John Hyams and the two of them could possibly make something happen. Either that or hope James Cameron has a part for him in BATTLE ANGEL ATLITA.

  17. Dude, I want that fucking Gremlins lunchbox.

    I guess fighting him for it is probably out of the question, though.

  18. Dwayne Johnson unfortunately started his action film career at a bad time: When the classic action movie was dying/already dead and all the action roles went to “real” actors instead. I mean, a few years ago we all agreed that The Rock, Diesel & Statham had all potential to be this generation’s Arnie, Sly & Bruce, but nobody bothered to make the right movies for them. (I think Statham was the luckiest one. Say what you want about Crank and The Transporter, but he HAS at least some kind of action career. 2nd luckiest was Vin Diesel, whose Riddick is at least some kind of iconic character, even if its movies were so-so. Too bad that Johnson, the best of the three, got the shaft. But hey, in case that his action career will suddenly kick off again, he can now skip the family movie/comedy phase, because he already did that.)

  19. Love seeing all of the 90’s wrestling fans coming out of the woodwork. Van Dam (and Sabu) were my fave wrestlers in the late 90s, but I could never see RVD as a good actor. He was more about having an awesome, cocky attitude and being legit awesome to watch in the ring. But he also did Black Mask 2. So when it comes to acting, he is unfortunately strictly direct-to-video, at best.

    And it is so silly that WWE (who changed their name after being sued by the world wildlife fund) would hate on Van Dam for getting busted smoking pot when his tagline was “RVD 4:20 says ‘I just smoked your ass'”

  20. I remember Johnson was going to be in a movie version of Spy Hunter but it never got off the ground – he probably got sick waiting. He was the best thing in Get Smart, as well. He’s got great comic timing.

  21. Vern, technically they did spell his name right, because his real surname is Bautista, but WWE have him perform under Batista. No idea why, but they’re always changing people’s names so they won’t be as much of a commodity in other places under their real ones. And from watching a clip of the film where Batista saves RVD from Ja Rule’s gang, it seems like Batista is basing his current character off of this one in WWE, only as a bad guy. He even dressed pretty much the same as he does on the DVD cover this week on Monday Night Raw, only minus the tanktop underneath.

  22. Since we got a panel of wrestling experts and historians here, anybody know the history on David DeFalco as a wrestler? I don’t think he was ever in one of the big promotions, but I believe the story that he wrestled somewhere or other as “The Demon.” Anybody know anything about that?

  23. I’ve worked as a crew member on one of The Rock’s films (he’s a REALLY good guy–nice to everyone, humble, always took time to talk to fans who were extras, just an all around cool dude) and got the sense that he never wanted to be an “action star” per se, he’s more interested in being an actor. Remember, his first big role was in Be Cool as a gay country singer! He is very funny and does have terrific comic timing, and frankly, if all he does is comedies in the future, I’m not complaining, he’s good in ’em.

    But remember, he does have geniuine range and acting talent. Mock it all you want, but he gave a damned good performance in THE GAME PLAN–you belevied him as a cocky, full-of-himself ladies man, and then later has real chemistry with the girl who played his daughter. You believe he really loves and cares about her. And he was one of the only good things about Southland Tales as, ironically, a big action star….Anyway, Matt Soller Zeitz had the best description I’ve yet heard of Dwayne’s on-screen persona, which is that he recalls a young Kurt Russell.

  24. Vern – if memory serves me correct, The Demon was in latter-day WCW, where they made a special deal with KISS to co-opt the whole Demon face-paint, costume-style, etc… I’m pretty sure he came out to KISS music too but I’m not sure which song.

    But anyways, The Demon never really caught on, and was basically a jobber/guy who got squashed. The only thing of note is that part of their contract with KISS was that The Demon would get at least one main-event on a PPV. Of course that was never going to happen, since nobody cared about him, so I remember randomly in the middle of some PPV, The Demon was coming out to fight who the hell knows, and the announcers quickly said “This is our main event match!” And all my friends who didn’t have the internet were like “wait, WTF? Why is the main event between two jobbers in the middle of a PPV??”

  25. Vern, I just posted about this movie and linked to the review on a wrestling forum. I incorrectly assumed Defalco was the “Kiss Demon” from WCW, but someone corrected me on that fact, but didn’t know who Defalco was, so he’s probably not worth looking up for his work in that area. RVD is though:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFcvHZm_6Iw

  26. I’m pretty sure Demon Dave is going to show up here any minute now, so we could just ask him then.

  27. Neal2zod, Dale Torborg was the Kiss Demon in WCW. He was a pro baseball trainer that got into wrestling only to get saddled with one of the stupidest gimmicks of all time. I think he actually works for a major league club in some capacity these days. I am pretty sure it is the White Sox, but it would not be the first time I was wrong.

  28. @ neal2zod, you are wrong there, Demon Dave was not the KISS Demon of WCW “fame”. The Kiss Demon was a dude named Dale Torborg(or something).

    VERN, watch THE MARINE 2. It is really good for DTV and compared to the first one. Ted DiBiase Jr. is the lead this time, and he is good in his action scenes.
    He even has a fight with two Muay Thai dudes, who do all the crazy Tony Jaa moves and they make the fight really interesting. And Michael Rooker is in it playing an washed up Army Ranger.

  29. Shit, I have to type faster…

  30. I feel like I am pretty knowledgeable when it comes to pro wrestling, but I am in no way familiar with DeFalco as wrestler or director for that matter. My bet is he never had a run with a major promotion or if he did it was under another name with a different gimmick then The Demon. During the 90’s at the peak of the wrestling business in the united sates there were a lot of independent promotions out there that he could have worked for, but none of them had television deals. I even tried to look on Youtube (a great place to find obscure or foreign pro wrestling) to see if any of his wrestling work was on there and I couldn’t find any.

  31. Rob van Dam has a internet radio show on his Websight. There he talked about Demon Dave and the movie. And various other topics like dope or politics.

  32. Man, you guys are quick! I guess I just assumed The Demon was The Kiss Demon since I basically never heard of any other Demon. So Charles – was Dale Torberg also the guy who came out in facepaint that resembled the stitching of a baseball? Part of me thinks his name was “The MVP”, not to be confused with the current MVP (Montell Vontavius Porter).

  33. Neal2zod, you are correct. Torborg, was also the ridiculous MVP in WCW. It is hard to say which was the worse gimmick MVP or the KISS Demon.

  34. By the way MVP stood for “most violent player”.

  35. LOL Most Violent Player….WCW had some crap writers. Anyway, I can’t remember now who wrote that Batista’s gonna be in a Filipino comedy, but I’m a little excited and interested in seeing that. I seriously think that Batista could do really well in movies. He’s pretty charming and he’s massive. His wrestling still sucks and I’m soooo gonna hate his match against Cena for Wrestlemania. I think RVD will not be taken seriously in any movie role unless he cuts his hair. Some wrestlers just need to let go. And Vern, if you wanna check out what RVD’s capable of, check out his matches against Jerry Lynn in ECW. Better yet, just find his DVD “One of a Kind” which is a giant collection of his matches. I can’t dog Dwayne Johnson too much for doing family movies. At least he’s getting work, right? I just wish he was right there with Statham doing some kickass movies in between his family movies. I thought “Doom” was pretty good and I’m still wondering if “Spy Hunter” will still be made.

  36. TRIVIA

    Bob Mould (Husker Du, Sugar) was a writer for WCW in the late 90s.

  37. Jareth Cutestory

    March 3rd, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    I’m really disappointed that Demon Dave hasn’t shown up yet. Does someone want to say “dipshit” three times fast in an attempt to summon him from the Doorway to True Evil?

  38. Ron Davis – and of all people, Freddie Prince Jr. (for some random reason) was a paid WWE writer too just until quite recently.

    Surely Mr. Buffy the Vampire Slayer knows something about Booking that the rest of us don’t.

  39. Dipshit dipshit dipshit.

  40. Ron – I loved Sugar and Husker Du, and I remember reading a Bob Mould interview in some music magazine and then they suddenly started talking about wrestling and booking, and I seriously thought that someone did a bad cut and paste job and crossed interviews, or I was going insane. As much as I like his music, his WCW output was pretty terrible.

    RRA – I can’t speak for Mr. Prinze’s work as a writer, but I thought he was the best RAW guest host they’ve had so far (with Jeremy Piven a close second). Prinze actually mustered up legitimate enthusiasm for wrestling and made the talent (especially Orton) look top notch. Who do you think the best guest host has been so far?

  41. neal2zod – I suppose Jon Heder, if because he certainly had an enthusiasm for wrestling, knew and passionate enough to play a decent dickish heel with the crowds. And honestly I think most of us wrestling fans would, if we could, play the villain since that’s always more fun.

    In general though I hate the Guest Host gimmick. You have way too many hosts who clearly don’t know anything abou the WWE or wrestling, much less give enough of a shit to bother acting like they want to be there and not just pimping a new album or movie. For every fun episode like Bob Barker, you have well 10 crummy ones we have to suffer through.

    At least I don’t have to worry about that bullshit with ROH on HDNet. A wrestling show with mostly wrestling. What a radical idea.

    Nevermind WWE and their top-paid “comedy” writers* almost never really doing anything with the potential offered by some of these hosts. Take Cheech & Chong the other night. You would think those pot comic icons would make good fodder for senor CM Punk and his anti-drugs Straight Edge Society stable right?

    Well WWE didn’t think so. Apparently we want a midget week in and week out, same little guy that’s won 2 of the last 3 WrestleCrap’s yearly “Gobbledy Gooker” awards for that year’s worst wrestling story/gimmick/idea/booking.

    And this has absolutely nothing to do with Linda McMahon running for the Senate. No sir.

    *=They’re so bad, Jimmy Fallon’s writing staff mocks them.

  42. So I went and read Vern’s review of Chaos (which was excellent by the way) and the talkback on AICN and I have to say I am really disappointed Demon Dave did not join our talkback about this movie. Demon Dave if you are out there please join the conversation. I have so many questions. Seriously, you are either a really out there dude or an amazing self promoter. Maybe you are both. Either way the more I know about you the more I want to see this movie. I want to know what influence real EVIL had on the creation of this film, and was the cast affected. Maybe, that is why Batista recently turned heel and attacked John Cena. It has nothing to do with wrestling. It is because after working on this film and being exposed to the doorway to true evil he is now unknowingly under the influence of Satan.

  43. RRA, ROH is good stuff, and features more of the type of pro wrestling I enjoy, but like ECW in its twilight years the bulk of their talent has moved on and their roster is pretty thin these days. They can still put on a good show but they just don’t have the talent level they used to. That is the problem with being a minor league promotion is that your best talent will always leave you for the majors.

    Best non-wrestler guest host: I am a sucker for Bill Shatner, but I agree with neal2zod Freddie Prinze Jr. was very good as well. Both are fan’s or wrestling.

    Worst guest host: Al Sharpton (for those of you that do not follow wrestling, yes you read that right Rev Al was the guest host of Monday Night Raw) or maybe Dennis Miller.

  44. Maybe we said it the wrong way…?

    Ahem: dipshit three times fast.

    {g}

  45. Nah, he’s got more of a candyman vibe imo, you gotta say it five times

  46. Charles – Except (hopefully) ROH has learned some lessons from ECW’s demise. Because as mad scientist genius of a booker Paul Heyman could be, the reverse was true for Heyman the Accountant.

    Sure TNA and WWE has guted ROH lately, and ROH is in a rebuilding phase, but alot of good excellent shit still exists. From the always-reliable Briscoe Brothers (and that rather rich tag team division) to Austin Aries the prick heel and well, having Jim Cornette around as a mouthpiece is a good thing.

  47. RRA, I completely agree. I hope that ROH is able to regain their footing and continue to deliver the same high quality in ring work that has been the stander of the company since it’s inception. I used to watch the HD-Net show, but I have Time Warner cable and they no long carry the channel. The Brisco’s are really good. Did you ever see the ladder war match with them versus Stein & Genrico? It was crazy. If you have not seen it I highly recommend it. I am also a big fan of the guys from NOAH like KENTA and Morishima.

  48. Charles – I saw that match. Absolutely terrific. Might be on YouTube (some guys been loading up recent HD.Net episodes), but you should try to watch that Briscoe Bros./Young Bucks match. It’s PPV quality but on free TV.

    Which I can’t exactly ever say for TNA. Urgh. I can rant up a storm with that fucked up promotion. But you know at times I’m tired of bitching at Vince Russo. He’s like the Michael Bay of wrestling. A fucktard, yet keeps getting hired.

    Except to be fair, some of his WWF-era stuff was compelling. While nothing Bay has done I ever liked. Then again, that WWF shit was a decade ago.

  49. RRA, thanks for the heads up I have heard that match was awesome but have not had the chance to see it. I will check it out.

    Also for those of you interested it looks like RVD while be returning to pro wrestling full time. I believe he just signed with TNA. Hopefully they utilize his unique skill set properly, but I guess we will have to wait and see.

  50. Charles, I actually saw that Al Sharpton guest hosting gig by accident flipping the channels around. The one thing arguably more surreal than Rev. Al deciding when the belt is on the line was seeing an audience of wrestling fans booing literacy. (He mentioned his literacy program and they booed. He handled it well though.)

  51. Vern, your right it did make for some strange television. I remember feeling kind of uncomfortable watching it. It was one of those moments where I was embarrassed to be a pro wrestling fan. However, the Rev did handle it extremity gracefully. I have noticed since than that many of the guest hosts do not appear in front of the live audience and only in pretaped segments.

  52. They booed LITERACY? How can you boo literacy? Did they think that ‘Literacy’ was some kind of wrestler?

    I’m going to have to youtube this.

  53. Jareth Cutestory

    March 4th, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    Charles: When it comes to Demon Dave, it’s probably safe to say that he’s influenced equally by Pure Evil and old Wes Craven films.

  54. Jam, no they were not specifically booing literacy as much as they were booing Al Sharpton who was there promoting a literacy campaign. They opened the program with the rev in the ring and the crowd showered him with boos despite the fact he was trying to explaining to them that he was there for a good cause to promote literacy. It was an awkward and uncomfortable scene, but it was a dumb idea to book Al as the host of the show in the first place.

  55. Jareth, I haven’t seen Chaos so I can’t say for sure but from what I have read it sounds like plagiarism may be a side affect of pure evil.

  56. MikeOutWest: “Check out FLASHPOINT, a hong Kong movie starring Donnie Yen and Jackie Wu. Their fight at the
    end of the movie incorporates a lot of wrestling moves in amongst the flying kicks etc. Pretty good movie overall, too.”

    I’ve been wondering for a while why Vern hasn’t reviewed this or the superior SPL (aka Kill Zone in the US), especially since there was that positive review of Ip Man. Donnie Yen has really injected some fresh blood into the martial arts movie scene, and I think SPL/Kill Zone is definitely one of the better examples of recent years. Speaking of good Hong Kong movies, have you ever heard of Johnnie To, Vern?

  57. I think I like Flashpoint more than SPL but it might have something to do with Flashpoint being remarkably less depressing than SPL.

  58. So I netflixed this – have to say I was a bit disappointed. 1) Stormy Daniels gets like 3rd billing on IMDB – she’s literally in it for 30 seconds. 2) The action sequences are poorly shot and choreographed. Vern’s right – this is no Undisputed II. 3) The nu-metal playing through all the fights made me think I was back in 1999. 4) The James Bond parody opening credit sequence was out of place and was endless (fast forward time). 5) It just didn’t have the tension of The Warriors or Judgment Night or whatever else it was trying to emulate.

    So yeah, Batista is pretty funny, but the knife-henchman he fights with at the end was the breakout star for me. The training sequence with them on the special features makes me wish he got his own knife-fighting spinoff in the vein of The Hunted or Under Siege.

    Oh, on another note, Viscera aka Big Vis is in this too. (Big thug at the gas station that RVD sprays with gas) – is he still in WWE? I haven’t watched ECW or Smackdown in years.

  59. Hey Vern, it’s your old pal the Demon. I just happened to stumble across your review of Wrong Side of Town and I thought I would comment, something I rarely do on line. First, I want to tell you that whole review and talk back that ensued on Ain’t It Cool News for Chaos was really a memorable career moment for me. It was actually the funniest well written review that I think I have ever read for one of my movies. And although initially I was upset with you, by the time it was over I developed a respect and even a liking for you. Several months ago I happened to come across your new website The Life and Art of Vern and I forget what it was but you had written something about me and Chaos. I was actually pleasantly surprised by some of the nice things you had to say about me. I wanted to tell you that in Chaos I really tried to make a statement and break out of the B-movie box that I was in from the previous movies I had done with Full Moon and Dominion Entertainment. Although Chaos did get some hard hitting reviews and national publicity from Roger Ebert, unfortunately it was not a financial success due to the NC-17 rating nor did it do for my career what I had expected. Ironically, though, the director’s cut DVD sells for a lot of money and seems to have become somewhat of a cult movie. Anyway, after years of nothing really happening I opted to direct Wrong Side of Town, a movie I wrote and produced for friends of mine that were WWE superstars. It was a big fear of mine to get involved with directing a low budget (1.4 million) action movie as opposed to horror which I felt you at least have a chance with no budget. But, I did it for Rob Van Dam and Dave Batista who are two very close friends of mine. And although we had a small budget and only 15 shooting days, I tried to inject that goofy offbeat brand of characterization that I think you recognized in your review. I was thrilled that you like Batista. I have been grooming him for years now and have created a real opportunity for him in movies. We are set to do another smaller action movie I have also developed for him entitled D.C. SOLDIER in May. This one should be a lot edgier than Wrong Side and will star Batista. I want to congratulate you on your website and thank you for your continued reviews of my stuff. David “the Demon” DeFalco

  60. Thanks for coming by David DeFalco. We always respect filmmakers who come by here, even after their movies may or may not have been sent off to the local firing squad.

    I have a dumb question: How is SOLDIER going to have that title in spite of that (terrible) Paul W.S. Anderson actioneer?

  61. I think the title is supposed to be D.C. SOLDIER. It’s a sequel to D.C. CAB in my opinion.

    But seriously, glad you finally made it, Demon Dave. When this review dropped all of us regulars were waiting for you to show up.

  62. Great to see you Dave, thanks for the nice comments. I hope I was fair to the movie. I sincerely look forward to DC SOLDIER. Nothing against Van Dam but I really will be excited to see a Batista vehicle.

    Are you still trying to get that Doorway to Evil thing off the ground, or did you give up on that one?

  63. Maybe he mis-typed and it’s supposed to be D.E. (Doorway [to] Evil) SOLDIER?

  64. Hey Vern, RRA, Mr. Majestyk and everyone else on here, Its my pleasure to come on and say hi to Vern. I still tell people to this day about that infamous CHAOS review and back talk we had on Ain’t It Cool a few years back. To answer your question though, I did put THE DEVIL’S DOORWAY on hold for a couple of reasons. One, of course, was getting Lionsgate behind the action movies I am doing with Batista and second I started to get intimidated with the whole evil thing. This might sound crazy but when you open that “doorway” it can present a whole bunch of issues. I had that project all the way to ICM being interested and I decided to drop it when my life was turned upside down. Many of the bad things happening to me I directly attested to THE DEVIL’S DOORWAY. In fact, the coroner Cormier, who is himself very spiritual, warned me that things would start “happening” if we were to go forward with the project. So, that’s basically how I got to WRONG SIDE OF TOWN. And, yes Vern I thought you were more than fair with your review. To be perfectly honest, I thought you were pretty fair with the CHAOS review and of course also quite funny. WRONG SIDE was tough for me. I never wanted to direct a lower budget genre action movie because I feel they are very tough to pull off as opposed to horror which I definitely think is my forte. But, I did it for Dave and Rob and now with D.C. SOLDIER, I think I really have created a great vehicle to further Dave’s (Batista) career. I wanted to come up with something a little edgier this time. This movie will feature Dave as a gang member that has a run in with the Surenos, Mexican Mafia. When they rape and kill his sister in retaliation for him killing one of them in prison, he goes after them one by one a la DEATH WISH. I think with this one I may have a chance at doing something more along the lines of what I like. Anyway, glad to have caught up with you again Vern and the Demon gives your new website two thumbs up! David DeFalco 666

  65. So in essence, Dave, CHAOS led you through a DEVIL’S DOORWAY to THE WRONG SIDE OF TOWN with a D.C. SOLDIER… I wonder how many other director’s life/career can be traced so accurately through the titles of their films?

  66. Netflix Instant is now streaming WRONG SIDE OF TOWN.

  67. As a lifelong fan of the “so bad its good” genre, as well as truly oddball directors, I must confess I have never actually seen a Demon Dave DeFalco movie.

    Guess I’m just not ready to open the Door To Ultimate Evil!!!

    Of the ones reviewed here on Vern’s site, I would say POINT DOOM most fits my taste. Sounds like fun cheese with a fun cheese cast. I know, he didn’t direct it and only wrote it and has a bit part. Diet Demon I guess, but it sounds like fun.

    I’m posting here, on this one, because its this talk back where the Demon lurks. And yes, presents himself well and intelligently. I’m guessing he dropped the persona and is genuinely thankful for the publicity you gave him. Either that or the Gateway to Evil really did scare him into becoming a kinder, gentler Demon.

    Anyway, Demon Dave, if your out there, keep making the flicks. I realize I said I never saw any…but I’ll catch up when I can! I’m sure I’m not alone…if you crank them out, we’ll watch them!

    The world of cinema needs more crazy fuckers like you!!!

  68. This was a hoot!! I am really glad I decided to give Demon Dave a shot after a few years of hearing about him, because this one is an undiscovered gem.

    Yes, there was a lot of stupid shit in this. Really stupid shit. Most of its talked about in the review, but its a mix of cliches and just plain dumb. But its also a lot of fun!

    I laughed out loud quite a bit (mostly with it) and loved all the weird characters creeping around. One blue haired guy in particular was a fantastic character. Its movies like this that got me into DTV in the first place; hokey but entertaining, with a somewhat cockeyed “not ready for primetime” view of the world.

    I have now seen all three Demon Dave directorial efforts, and this is my favorite. The only one I didn’t really like was his most famous: CHAOS. The other two were much more tongue in cheek and just having fun with their obvious genre trappings, with fun casting and good cheesey lines. You forgive, even embrace their faults.

    Anyway, I know I’m a bit late to the party here (this flick is 6 years old I think) but I hope the Demon continues his weird path. He’s an interesting and strange anomaly that’s for sure. But he’s one I’ll keep my eye on and watch anything he makes, good, bad or just puzzling!

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