Movie Review: Dangerous Men

Cult film Dangerous Men did not come out of the blue. This is the product of thirty years hard work!

Drafthouse Films has become excellent at marketing forgotten movies. Their target: hipsters seeking nostalgia and artifacts to certify their eclectic tastes. The Policeman Police Edition of Dangerous Men includes everything you need to become an instant expert of this obscure film — and the trinkets to act out a child-like consumer obsession.

Posters, Soundtrack, Blu-ray, DVD, AND a pewter Police Badge!!!

Living in a Hipster’s Paradise

I try to avoid wearing the ‘hipster’ label. But I am the Generation Y son of young Gen-X parents. Undoubtedly within the Hipster demographic. We’re the kids who got a solid taste of 1980’s neon-synth style. The tweens who came-of-age in the era of perfected merchandising.

Buy me ALL the Ghostbusters Cereal boxes, mom!

Austin, Texas-based (surprise!) Drafthouse Films caters to nostalgia for the days of our infancy and your desires for shiny collectible trinkets. 20 years from now, people won’t see the brilliance in selling a VHS cassette with a blu-ray in 2010. Drafthouse did just that with Miami Connection.

VHS, DVD, and Blu-ray. What? No Beta tape or film canister?!

Miami Connection was my introduction to Drafthouse Films. I didn’t pony up for the VHS (good only as a doorstop in my tiny NYC apartment) but the amazing trailer won over my wife and I:

This trailer is honestly the best thing that has anything to do with Miami Connection

Miami Connection, like Dangerous Men, is the kind of adventure you take with friends. Countless nights of my youth were spent laughing over cheap movies with the guys. These films are perfect fodder for your Mystery Science Theater 3000 home game.

A Dangerous Film?

Dangerous Men is a better film than Miami Connection. It is immediately clear that filmmaker John S. Rad (yep) was a pretty literate guy. Mr. Rad also does surprisingly well behind the camera, for a complete novice. At times the production feels close to, studio, B-movie quality. The acting is clunky, the editing is loose, and the movie is overlong. But it moves better than some episodes of Rockford Files.

Sorry Mr. Garner, just my opinion!

A senseless biker gang murder kicks off the career of a new serial killer. The film almost plays like a PSA to young women. The message being that all men will attempt rape if given the opportunity (hey I didn’t make the movie!). Or it’s just a PSA about avoiding the beach and, somewhat reasonably, hitch-hiking.

The best thing ever would be if this were all one scene- with the audience expected to accept this as the same girl.

Much more interesting than the movie itself, is the story behind the production. Again, as with Miami Connection, Drafthouse really went all-out. This home video release is loaded with production information and filmmaker involvement. I enjoyed the interviews with the late Mr. Rad’s daughter and grandchildren (which re-enforced my “PSA” theory). I plan to experience all the features on the disc at least once.

What? You thought he was joking?

Writer, Director, Producer, and Composer John S. Rad moved to the U.S. from Persia after the fall of the Shah of Iran. Over the course of three decades, he privately funded his dream project: the film Dangerous Men. Perhaps feeling his mortality in 2005, Mr. Rad spent his savings to release his completed film. He rented theaters to screen the movie and bought advertising time on MTV. Mr. Rad was now a Distributor, in addition to all the other roles he had played during the production of the film.

The ads caught the right eyes and through word of mouth the film developed a cult following. It was another handful of years before Drafthouse Films and the “Rad” family agreed to a home video distribution deal.

It’s a great story!

Much to my wife’s chagrin, I am one of the millions of artists who would love to be the next John Rad.

Don’t Overdose

After watching Miami Connection, once alone and then again with some friends, I sold my copy. Dangerous Men is destined for the same exit. As a younger, unmarried, man I may have kept these movies for ritualistic watch parties. Now, as a busy adult, these discs aren’t strong enough to warrant shelf space.

Yes, I still have the vinyl Miami Connection (Dragon Sound) soundtrack on display! Hipster Cred!

Keep in mind that near-Z-grade schlock like Raw Force and Boarding House have permanent space in my home. It may just be my personal eccentricities that decide which discs stay and which ones go. But I believe I can measure it as the “shocks per minute” of the films. Miami Connection and Dangerous Men can be long slogs through loosely edited scenes. Even at a whopping 157 minutes, Boarding House provides enough jolting weirdness to keep me engaged.

Fans of B-films and below should give Drafthouse’ disc a thorough watch, and at least one time through with a group.

Don’t forget the alcohol and party favors.

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