From the director of Chinese Ghost Story and Naked Weapon (and
collaborator in the action scenes from Hero and House of the Flying
Daggers), we have a story about an ex-CIA agent who's daughter is
kidnapped. Its not just any ex-CIA agent, but Steven Seagal. Yes !!
Pony-tail is back, BACK WITH A VENGEANCE. (Sorry, I had to do that).
This is your typical action movie, usually based on some revenge/honor
theme, where the hero has to take out dozens to hundreds of henchman
and usually a "Boss" character, or several. The acting is atrocious and
all we are left with is the action (and a lot of wire-work). Steven
brought his typical dead-pan/Prozac acting along. This movie is not
going to be on anybody's Christmas list, however, it is hysterical and
very very light. I was laughing the whole way through the movie.
Steven Seagal is looking to do some major butt-kicking. Unfortunately,
most of the serious butt-kicking is done by a much younger, thinner man
(the stunt guy is actually wearing fake fat to look like Steven), who
has a lot more physical talent than Steven had in his prime. This is
further compounded by the fact that the stunt man performs stunts that
Steven could never perform (jump kicks, jump spin kick, and all other
stunts involving jumping high).
The movie seems to have been filmed entirely in Bangkok, Thailand and
recruited what seems to be the entire cast of Onk Bak, minus Tony Jaa.
The wheelchair boss and Don the drug dealer stand out in my mind.
There are somethings about the movie that bother me. Steven (who is the
star of the movie) looks like he just woke up in Bangkok after weeks of
binging on milkshakes and vodka, with no money and no change of
clothes. He looks dirty and grimy. I wouldn't sit next to him on the
subway if he looked like that. Next, what was up with the Steven's gun?
He seemed to have a magic weapon. This weapon fires anywhere from 30-50
bullets and rarely needs another clip. Also Steven has become such a
big star, he no longer needs to aim his weapon. He just fires in the
general direction of his target. Steven's sex scene was certainly
interesting. It made me quite nauseous. Shoving toothpicks under my
fingernails is pleasurable as compared to watching Steven has sex. The
cinematography was quite strange. I didn't realize the same guy who did
certain Outer Limit and Star Trek episodes was still alive (tilt the
camera 45 degrees). The wire action becomes ridiculous, especially when
you are trying to make a somewhat realistic action movie (imagine what
one would think if Tony Jaa jumped 10 feet straight in the air and did
2 full revolutions). I also like the variation on Thai boxing : Thai
Transvestite Claws and High Heels Boxing. Not only that, what was the
deal with all the mystical crap introduced 10 minutes before the end of
the movie, complete with with a Thai Mako impersonator who had taken
too much PCP ??
One may think from my review that I hated this movie. This is not true.
This is the funniest movie I've seen since Shaun of the Dead,
unfortunately that movie was trying to be funny. I do recommend this
movie as a rental,a discount-bin purchase, or a late night cable
session while completely wasted.