Anymore these days, you’ll hear a lot of fair weather Seagal fans complaining about their supposedly fallen idol. He doesn’t hardly do any of his own fight scenes anymore! He’s too lazy to dub some of his own lines! He’s a big fat pig in a long trench coat! His straight to video movies make one long for the originality and artistry of Jean Claude Van Damme’s straight to video movies! His stringy pony-tail is nasty! Sure, when you decide to be nick picky like that, you’re going to find faults with just about anyone.
I’m not about to waste valuable review space defending the Man against the Seagalaholics who have fallen off the wagon – movies like Today You Die can do it much more effectively.
Tired of Seagal being an ex-CIA guy on the lam from the Company while simultaneously trying to help someone else out? Well this time Sumo Steve is a thief who steals from scummy drug dealers and gives the proceeds (minus a small handling fee of course) to the poor.
But he’s looking to get out of the biz and go legit so that he and his girlfriend Jada can lead a normal life. So he gets a job driving an aromered car in Las Vegas and – wait a sec! Did I just say that Seagal had a girlfriend?
You better believe it! This isn’t your dad’s early 2000s straight to video Seagal! This is modern mid-2000s straight to video Seagal! And that means some heavy duty loving from our heavy duty action hero!
You get three different scenes in this film where Seagal is lying around in bed with his old lady. And if you think he’s ultra sauve when he’s mumbling some curse-filled putdown to a dirtbag right before he snaps an elbow, you should see him in the sack all decked out in big baggy sweat shirts! Big Steve knows not only what the ladies like, but what they need!
Jada isn’t just in the movie though to provide Steve with some relaxation in between shooting gangs of toughs, breaking out of prison, and teaming up with Naughty By Nature’s Treach to bring down the guys who framed him for something that he actually did! She’s got her own set of supernatural superpowers!
Jada frequently badgers Steve with her stupid dreams and visions and once in awhile we even get subjected to them via some really cheesey special effects. The best part of all this black magic hoodoo babble is that it turns out to have absolutely nothing to do with anything else in the movie!
Except that the visions tell her that the bad guy is… a bad guy! You know, in case Steve didn’t figure it out when he was doublecrossed into a life sentence in prison.
The set up goes something like this: Steve is forced to drive an armored car at gun point through the streets of Las Vegas with $20 million in stolen loot in the back. Along the way, he single-handedly destroys the entire fleet of cop cars that Las Vegas has at their disposal.
Cars are rammed, cars flip through the air, cars slide down streets, cars roll over, cars explode, Seagal intentionally rear ends a camper and blows it up, is completely indifferent when the police set the armored car on fire, and eventually escapes long enough to hide the money before passing out and getting hauled off to prison.
What I like about Seagal in all these movies is that regardless of the situation he’s faced with, he never seems remotely bothered by it. Long prison sentence with everyone gunning for him because they want to force him to tell where the loot is? The only reaction that gets from Steve is a smug smirk, a comment about how he hit his head during the armored car chase and has amnesia about where the money is, and plenty of prison beat downs for the punks who try to get fresh with him.
But he’s still got enough upstairs to form an alliance with Treach who just happens to have an escape plan he’ll hook Seagal up with for a cut of the money. It involves an ex-Nam pilot who has a Sheriff’s helicopter in for repairs at a nearby hanger. You can guess the rest.
During their flight to freedom, Treach is hooting and hollering while the guards are shooting at them. You know what Seagal is doing? Laughing! It’s like he forgot the camera was on him and he couldn’t contain his amusement that he was getting paid to hang out with Naughty By Nature!
Once Steve is back on the street and properly outfitted in an absurd floor-legnth brown leather coat, he can get down to brass tacks. This means that he and Treach engage in hilariously stilted exchanges as they cruise around Vegas looking for guys to shoot.
Between Treach’s G-Bonics (hey, that’s what he called it in prsion!) and Seagal’s mouth full of marbles, I didn’t catch most of what was being said, but I’ll bet it was awesome!
But I caught enough to understand that Seagal managed to arrange a gang war between an Asian gang and a white gang. It had something to do with Steve’s quest for revenge or to clear his name or to get his money or something.
Lots more Seagal-inspired violence (and inspired Seagal violence!) follows including Steve sticking a guy’s head in a vise, shooting a guy inside a car, then having it torched while maintaining to Treach that the guy was depressed and shot himself, and of course a showdown with the evil Max.
Max’s hideout was decked out with occult knick knacks and lots of lit candles and Max himself was playing a piano. Max announces that he was born with evil inside him or something along those lines and Seagal responds as only Seagal can: “That’s chilling. You also seem to have a great propensity for music.” Then he shoots everyone! And because this is pure Seagal gold, there was still another extended shoot out sequence after this one!
Miss this one and risk your credibility as a true action movie fan! Must be seen for the moment when Steve uses the word “jejune” in a sentence!
© 2013 MonsterHunter