True to form, Seagal chases a group of kidnappers as they speed away from the scene of the crime, shooting endless rounds at his beat up SUV but never hitting him once. By the end of the chase, Seagal’s truck looks like Swiss cheese and he is in perfect health if not for a small strain in his trigger finger. Every single shot he makes finds its target, enabling him to kill with a single shot, fired out a window of a moving vehicle, while still driving. But not every aspect of this elite film can hold up under such detailed scrutiny.
The new generation of Seagal films, all DTV, suffers from shoddy craftsmanship and nothing more potent than a passing interest from Seagal in the production itself. A simple conversation in a new Seagal flick could provide many confusing problems. Performance is always a problem nowadays. Let’s face it, nobody chews the scenery in a DTV film quite like Seagal and so as it goes we’re left with a number of flat and wooden characters. There’s always an issue with the plot, which new Seagal films seem to over complicate, taking what could be a simple twist on the old “bodyguard” chestnut and layering so many clichés into the dialogue that you get lost, adrift on a sea of cheese, and that’s only beneficial if you’re planning on playing a drinking game while watching the movie. On the visual side of the film, there can be some confusion during a conversation when you see Seagal talk. Every reverse angle has someone standing in for the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama and you wonder, “Where did he go, and why is this guy wearing his clothes?”
The first fifteen minutes as the movie opens, is dedicated to a completely pointless sequence that has nothing to do with the movie otherwise. Seagal and his partner bust a bunch of drug dealers in their apartment. There’s no other way to resolve this situation in a Seagal film other than bullets and death. So once they’re all dead, Seagal wants to call for backup. His partner wants to take some of the drug money for himself. This too ends in bloodshed when his partner turns uncharacteristically toward his friend and shoot Seagal, supposedly killing him. Of course we all know that Seagal is “hard to kill” and he is taken to a hospital where he has to defend himself from an assassination attempt whilst still being bedridden. This of course is some kind of twisted homage or straight lift from the movie of the same name. We get to see his entire progress as he recovers; the power montage played a little too soon if you ask me! Here he shows that he’s a master at throwing big fucking knives into straw mats. (This is a skill that will prove useful later on in the film.) Now, some of this would seem to be the perfect place for a credit sequence, (especially when we know this is some weird tangent that has nothing to do with the rest of the film,) but instead there is a completely separate sequence for the credits that is shot over stock shots of a city at night. Maybe this is just so that the filmmakers could eat a few more minutes of screen time to help meet the ninety minute mark. There’s also a female character who is introduced, also a cop, who disappears after the training montage. That’s fair. None of this is what that movie is about after all. It could be said that this was all a brilliant statement on the film itself; a precursor to the story that shows us a piece of old Seagal (clear revenge movies, straight forward plot, etc) and then contrast that with the school of Seagal Nouveau.
Borrowing a few themes from the bodyguard, Seagal goes to work for an old friend, protecting his daughter. Again, this would seem like the perfect role for such a bad ass guy like Seagal, if only for the part where he suspects something isn’t quite on the level. He turns to his friend and says, “Something tells me, you’re hiding something”, (or something to that effect) but then takes the job anyway saying, “Something tells me I’m going to regret this.” Now, of course he’s betrayed by another one of his so called friends, it was obvious! Hell, even he said it was going to happen! So I guess the theme of betrayal carried through, but the problem is that the audience has no sympathy for a dumbass! I mean, come on, he walked right into it!
So you can see what you’re dealing with here, another ass kicking adventure churned out of the secret factory that Seagal has stashed away somewhere, manufacturing several ass kicking flicks a year with no rhyme, reason, reasonable doubt, alibi or suitable punishment. So sayeth the followers of Seagal, may his big belly never go empty. Amen.