Lou Diamond Phillips is one of those actors that somehow is condemned to star in B movies even when he has already proven himself to being capable of doing so much better. This weekend I will be watching and reviewing films he features in (that I skipped on in the past) to see if I can prove my point that he deserves better recognition.
First on the list is Bats.
Bats is one of those horror movies that you never can take seriously and is very well aware that it won't be taken very seriously and plays around with that fact. It's not afraid to go over the top when it needs to be but at the same time let's the actors act with a straight face making it effectively hilarious. For the most part Bats is a lot of fun and enjoyable. And this is because of our main character Lou Diamond Phillips, Dina Meyer and Leon. You just got to love how they don't flinch one bit when they get attacked by the most fake looking bats ever. And if you can get past it and pretend they are real you will find yourself rooting for the poor people fallen victim to these flesh eating flying rodents. Now I do have to say that even with the right mindset that Bats can drag a little in certain scenes but it does not become annoying or bothersome. There are some scenes where the Bats are immensely creative and menacing. That is so much more important than the special effects looking good. This one is best to be enjoyed in company or on your own if you are looking to watch every creature horror film ever made but are trying to avoid real bad ones. (On IMDB the rating is very low for this film and I don't think this is as bad as that rating suggests. But of course it is never good either. This is what you should realize when you are going to watch this one. The viewing experience will be much better because of that). A little underrated if you ask me.
Next up on the list is Hangman.
Hangman (TV Movie 2001)
Hangman is a decent thriller / whodunit that at times does real well to misdirect you. But then there are times I wished it would have pushed a little harder to make it more tense and thrilling. There is just enough suspense to keep you interested but it really could have benefited from some dread. This TV movie definitely shows how Lou Diamond Phillips makes the difference. He brings a sincerity to his role that makes everything else tolerable and then some. If he would not have been in this then I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much as I did. I have to mention the ending. Don't worry not going to spoil anything. But for me it was a lazy and sloppy one. I am sure that some would think it's strong. However for someone who has watched a lot of thrillers and whodunits it's an unsatisfying one. Overall though it did not feel like a waste of time.
Then we get to Red Water.
Red Water (2003)
genre: horror, crime
As you would expect Lou Diamond Phillips does what he can to make this worth your while. However the plot and narrative is so bad and all over the place that I was wondering if somehow accidentally two scripts of two different movies got mixed. Since on the one hand we are dealing with your typical good guys versus bad guys kind of story and on the other one angry bull shark who is very hungry. I could care less about the first one but wouldn't you know it. It is that what the director focuses on the most. The shark scenes are easily the best and it is really puzzling why they did not let the shark be the main draw. But there are only a few of them and by the time they do occur you already have fallen asleep or lost interest.
Only watch this when there is nothing on very late at night. There is a slight chance you might appreciate it better. But overall I would say give this one a miss. Not even good old Lou can make up for this mess.
Last but not least it's Malevolent.
genre: thriller, crime
From the poster this might appear like some sort of action film and while Malevolent features some action it is more a thriller. The cat and mouse variety. Truth be told that I was not expecting this to be that good. But to my astonishment it actually was far more decent. Flawed but it did a few things right. Lou of course is the main draw and he manages to make his character interesting. Then there is the villain of the story. He has one of those faces no matter how good of a character he would be you never would trust him. He is that creepy. I liked it how that even when it seemed how events would play out that there were still some surprises in there. A little far fetched maybe. But for this type of movies it is often a blessing since it is exactly that what keeps you hooked. Malevolent does slow down at times but not enough to spoil your fun. If you happen to catch this on the tube you won't be disappointed.
You could view above movies as really bad movies and choose to ignore them or you could take a chance and let Lou Diamond Phillips win you over. I do think he has proven with these movies that he most of the time is capable of making you forget that the movie is a bad one. Which I think does take quite some skill. Think about this when you see a movie that features him. It might be worth your time.