Steven Seagal plays an LA cop who is forced into early retirement after being betrayed and shot by his partner. After an astounding recovery, which included blasting his partners brains all over the hospital walls (I’m assuming it was part of his rehabilitative therapy), he is hired by an old friend to be the head of security for his friend’s daughter. This family is linked to some bad dudes who are keen on uranium and kidnapping, so Seagal is forced to slowly shoot everyone near him while mumbling something about being a tough guy or whatever.
Yes, there is a lot of “collateral damage” created by Seagal and those around him. Since this film doesn’t seem to value life, I’ll do some measuring for it. One spoiled, rich girl gets kidnapped and that justifies several dozen good guys and bad guys getting slaughtered by gunfire, stabbings or savage beatings. This same girl, whose duties consists of attending the same club every week and whose idea of reconnecting with her life is taking her bodyguard with her shopping, is valued over the lives of countless people played by stuntmen. I know this is not the first action film to have a high body count but this one has none of the violent satire of Robocop, where the callousness towards lives lost has a subversive message behind it, or Die Hard, where it is an ‘us or them’ scenario with terrorists (just to list two of the more familiar examples), but it would take a NASA mathematician to count the amount of bloody squibs that go off, signifying yet another corpse to litter the streets. Every scene must have ended with a minimum of 6 people lying on the ground bleeding profusely. Here’s the real kicker; even if you are a violence-hound who thinks the Hostel movies are good for a laugh, and are too desensitized by video game shooters to actually consider what it means for a character to lose their life in front of your eyes…the action isn’t even that good! The director continuously uses those tiny bursts of fast-forwarding (think of the movie 300 and you’ve got the right idea) but always in moments of someone exiting a car or using their phone. This technique is meant to heighten the intensity of the action, but instead it looks like the DVD is skipping (I seriously checked to make sure it wasn’t). Neither the director, the editor, or the screenwriter seem to have any idea how to pace an action film, so it never gets any of the momentum it sorely needs. The makers of this film have a hard enough when an aging Seagal is your lead, and simply having characters talk about how badass he is does not cut it anymore. He is offered plenty of opportunities to disarm goons and talk tough to them…but it’s all very deflated if not superfluous.
The dialogue is so bland it’s easy to ignore. The writer has no idea how to do banter and simply steals the lamest of the lame action guy setup lines to move the plot along. Seagal acts impervious to intimidation without exception throughout the story so there is never any suspense or worry for the audience. One can just look at the cover and think “Seagal has a shotgun, guess a lot of people get shot and he wins.” Honestly, if I had not read the back of the DVD case, this film might not have had the strength to grab my attention long enough for me to get ANY concept of what the story is. Even so, I still could not care.
Widescreen 1.78:1. The picture quality dips for no reason I can perceive other than the director not realizing that interior shots are harder to light than exterior which means things get fuzzier whenever Seagal is in a nightclub.
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround. The trailers before the film had more power than the feature, the dialogue is CLEARLY dubbed in most of the time (badly at that), and the surrounding speakers contain only parts of the musical score so there is no real sense of immersion with whatever ambient sounds there should be considering how many exteriors and club scenes there are.
Nadda. Zilch. And for good reasons methinks.
I’d make a joke about how this film most certainly is not a “Keeper” for your DVD collection but I’d regret spending that much energy on it…and regrets are all this movie can offer you. I can’t believe I bothered with a rant about the “value of life” in an action film…should have saved that for at LEAST a Van Damme or something.