Honestly, does the world really need another Steven Segal movie? I think what’s even more depressing than the thought of another Segal flick is the fact that he has attached himself to the project as an executive producer. Clearly, this is the failed actor’s latest attempt in an ongoing quest to regain the successful film career he enjoyed in the 90’s. Of course, his string of hits ended for a very good reason. Sure, there will always be a place for the big, dumb, mindless action movie. The thing is, even mindless ac…ion flicks have been done better than this one. The plot here is pretty much the same kind of thing you would expect. The son of a wealthy arms dealer has been kidnapped, and Segal is called in as a mercenary to rescue the boy and collect a handsome reward. Only, when the mission gets underway, Segal realizes that he has been double-crossed, and he must choose between his reward and doing the right thing.
Do these things still make money? While I certainly understand Segal’s desire to want to keep making films, I can’t understand the studio’s desire to keep funding them. When I was a 15-year-old boy, I was all about going to see Steven Segal karate chop some foreigner. Once I reached an age where I would be legally permitted to go to see such films, however, I had matured beyond this stage in my life. Apparently, I am in the minority, because here he is yet again, killing for a good cause, in this steaming pile of a direct-to-video film.
It pains me to say it, but the audio quality on this film is actually pretty decent. It’s not going to impress any serious audiophiles, but dialog is basically clear, and everything seems to come from where it should. During battle scenes, gunfire comes from the lefts, rights, rears, and all points in between. Low end is present, but not overpowering, serving to support the sound effects instead of becoming one. While it is true that no amount of window dressing can make a bad film good, it is still nice that they picked up the quality in those areas where strides could be easily made.
The video is not as good as that of the audio, but it is still admirable. Grain is kept to a fairly low level, and the majority of the images are nice and sharp. Black levels are a mixed bag, however. On the plus side, blacks are deep and rich, with no issues with gray areas or cloudiness. On the other hand, the overall images are way, way too dark, making even bright exterior scenes show up with large percentages of black space.
The rest of my complaints with the video come as a result of the camera work itself. This film should be shown in film classes as an example of how NOT to shoot a film. Shots are set-up awkwardly, lighting is often atrocious, and the final product looks much more like a film shot with a hand-held camera without the assistance of a Steadicam than a true Hollywood film. Just as it is clear when an excellent cinematographer works on a film, it is also clear when less care is given to such matters. This film falls firmly in the latter category. I might have been able to tolerate this film had it at least looked great, but I can find more inspiring camera work by watching an episode of The Unit than by sitting through this lame production.
This disc includes one lone special feature, a making of featurette. As such things go, this one is pretty standard faire. Really, what we are looking at here is the electronic press kit that was made to promote the film, which means that it is filled with a lot of mutual admiration, but not a lot of actual information. There are some behind the scenes clips, and quite a few interviews with the cast and crew, but really very little that I would consider to be educational.
Soldier of fortune John Seeger is the best in the business… the business of kicking ass!
That is a direct quote from the back of the box. Seriously, I can’t make these kinds of things up. I don’t know, it just seems like bad programming is so readily available on television anymore, that movies should have to meet a sort of minimum level of artistic integrity. Of course, maybe I am wrong. Maybe there is an audience out there that has been clamoring to see an older, pudgy, greying martial arts master fire a semi-automatic rifle and make liberal use of the “f”-word.
Somehow, I doubt it.
Special Features List
- Making of Featurette