This movie started out with a bunch of people getting shot in the head. I was hooked immediately. Actually, I’m exaggerating just a bit. It was when I saw the front of the DVD that I was hooked: Steven Seagal with a gun! And a submarine! They know what us undiscriminating fans of senseless violence and bloated up action heroes crave!
Director Anthony Hickox (Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth and couple of Dolph Lundgren movies you’ve never heard of) pulls every editing trick he can to keep things moving at a frenetic pace in spite of his star’s stunning immobility.
Lots of quick cuts and jittery action punctuated every now and again by a little slow motion (aside from Seagal’s perpetual slow motion) all combine to give the viewer the sense of being thrust into the confusing underworld of double agents and shifting alliances. Or it may just give you a headache.
Way down in Uruguay, a certain Dr. Lehder is creating an army of mind controlled soldiers in his secret lab underneath a dam. His subjects? The American commando team that was sent to take him out and were ultimately betrayed by the evil CIA agent Fletcher!
In all fairness to the CIA, I couldn’t swear that Fletcher was ever so identified, but in these kinds of films it’s de rigeur for the Company to get blamed for pretty much every little fart that happens in these banana republics.
The military is desperate to stop Lehder, but who can they get that could smash his evil schemes without the danger of his brain being compromised? Cue the slow motion, the electric guitars, and the scene of one Steven Seagal (dressed sensibly in black of course) being hauled onto a battleship in chains!
It doesn’t take long for Seagal to announce that he’s been in the stockade and it takes us just about the length of time to notice that this is a different Seagal than what we’ve all been raised on. No, I don’t mean the fact that he looks like death warmed over. That’s been the case for about ten years now. I mean the voice.
In an interesting turn of events that will leave the viewer with a flummoxed look on his face throughout the movie, Steve has chosen to endow his character of Chris Cody with an accent!
And not just any accent! I cannot with any certainty tell you what accent Steve is employing (and I suspect that Steve couldn’t either), but the closest thing I can think of is that it is some kind of Cajun accent. At least he talks about stuff like “alligatahs” and otherwise sort of sluggishly delivers his lines. It could also have been the result of some kind of side effect from prescription medication.
No matter though, because the government makes one of those once in a lifetime offers that’s always so popular with guys who are the best at doing Lady Liberty’s dirty business, but invariably get locked up because of the gutless politicians who don’t understand that freedom isn’t free.
We’re told that Seagal averted a 9/11 on the water near Hawaii when he blew up an explosive-laden tanker, but that the United Nations raised hell and got Seagal and his crew imprisoned! If Seagal and his team can take down Lehder, they will all get full pardons and $100,000 each! That’s a lot of endless buffets for big Steve!
Director Hickox knows that garbage like character development might get in the way of Seagal hijacking a Uruguayan sub, so in lieu of that, he introduces Steve’s crew dossier-style, showing us each person while their name and areas of expertise (dynamic entry, small arms, sniper, unidentifiable dialects) are flashed across the screen.
Once all this is established and the wily Seagal sniffs out Fletcher as a double agent and avoids the ambush Fletcher had set up, it’s pretty much non-stop mayhem, murder, and mumbling!
After hooking up with a sexy field operative who had been in a local watering hole arm-wrestling locals, the assault on the underground lab beneath the dam begins. They manage to rescue the prisoners and defeat the Uruguayan army (20 soldiers and one tank), but the crafty Lehder is already gone! Next stop is stealing a getaway sub!
This part of the operation allows Seagal to display his cool professionalism as he watches his expert sniper shoot and set guys on fire while uttering witticisms as these guys fall burning into the ocean. And that was only a warm up for his stint impersonating the U.S. ambassador at the opera!
I bet you didn’t see that plot twist coming! That’s what I like about this movie. I just assumed that most of it would be Seagal wandering around a sub, beads of sweat pooling in his chins as he pensively wondered how much further the sub could go down before she buckled under the pressure. But that sub got blown up after they were only it for about ten minutes! How did the stockade ever survive this guy?
To be completely honest, I never paid that much attention to the dealings of Fletcher and Lehder. I just used their scenes to catch my breath from the outbreaks of Seagal-instigated carnage. Seagal at the opera? Would you be shocked if it ended with one of his crew shooting the conductor?
But that was just the warm up for his drive through the city that saw him run over guards, ram a helicopter and drive right through an office building! But that was just a warm up for him to beat a guy senseless with his kung jitsu before blowing his brains out!
And guess what? That was just a warm up for him to kick Fletcher in the air about a half a city block and through a window where he landed on the mind control apparatus and impaled on Lehder’s fancy walking stick! All this plus an appearance by kickboxing movie legend Gary Daniels, too! As Steve himself might say, “another helping please!”
© 2013 MonsterHunter