I get the sense that Steven Seagal and director Don E. FauntLeRoy wound up 2005’s Today You Die, looked at what an awesome opera of action violence they wreaked and Don said to Steve, “if that’s what we could do when you’re just an armored car driver, what would happen if you were the most decorated veteran of the first Gulf War?” And Steve responded with, “and I was the leader of an elite team of mercenaries?” Don says, “that just might be one of our best projects of 2006!” Steve is nodding his chins and Don seals the deal with “have you ever been to Cape Town, South Africa, Steve?”
Mercenary For Justice is all about highlighting the best of Seagal’s recent oeuvre of little-seen action flicks where the budgets consist of two items – Seagal (and his army of stand-ins, stuntmen, dubbers, and guys that make his full length leather trench coats) and ammo – and taking it to the next level! An example would be the big fight in the restaurant bathroom.
A lot of cheesy low rent merc movies would use the toilet to give the bad guy a swirlie. That’s what it’s there for, right? And make no mistake, Seagal is a pro and it isn’t long before he’s taking a break from snapping various joints and ramming this dude’s head into mirrors to give him nice hard dunking. But Seagal has trained in the Far East and knows the secrets of the ancient masters so he chucks this dumb bastard into the urinals as well!
Steve knows though that part of any good potty fight is selling it once it’s finished. Just as he’s finished thrashing and flushing this loser, one of the mercs he was at dinner with comes in and surveys the damage. Steve’s response? “That’s work.”
Then he goes on to ask the other merc if he’s from Detroit and wouldn’t you know it but Steve is a Michigan boy as well and let’s go get a drink and Steve’s buying, etc. And to make sure you get the full sense what sort of movie we’re dealing with, the other merc’s name is Bulldog.
As all the classic merc movies do, this one starts with a mission gone tits up to the moon! The only reason Steve was willing to go on the mission was because his good buddy Radio asked him to.
Considering the mess that Radio gets Steve into, this may be the same Radio from that movie about the retarded football player named Radio. It goes without saying that the no name dude playing Radio in this movie is a much better actor than Cuba Gooding, Jr.
So just what sort of crazy-assed mission has Radio signed us up for? Well, after Steve singled-handedly tore up Uruguay in Submerged, Poland in Out Of Reach and Las Vegas in Today You Die, he finds himself fighting the French army in the island nation of Galmoral!
While Galmoral sounds a bit like the sort of place that you would expect to see Seagal using his kung fu on hobbits and orcs, it’s really just some African cesspool that needs liberating from some despot or other.
Now while Seagal himself wasn’t the one who kidnapped the French ambassador, his wife, children and staff and he also wasn’t the one who blew their truck up sending their shattered bodies into the Galmoralian sky, they were members of his merc team.
Just so you don’t think Seagal condones that sort of behavior, he does threaten to kill the crazy South Africans who did it. He ultimately decides against it, but you can bet there was probably a pretty stern lecture in the helicopter as they were escaping the war zone.
It turns out the mission was done at the behest of some crooked CIA types and Seagal and his crew were left hung out to dry. Radio buys the farm on the mission and Seagal stupidly promises to take care of Radio’s wife and kid. It isn’t more than ten minutes later before Radio’s family gets kidnapped so that Seagal will be forced to take on one more merc mission, this time to bust a Greek arms dealer’s son out of a South African prison!
And not just any prison, but one that is described as not quite as tough as Leavenworth, but certainly the toughest in South Africa! And they have only four days to get the job done before the Greek is extradited to the U.S. You can practically sense Seagal yawning. “Four days? Hell, I just broke out of a U.S. prison in Today You Die and it took like two minutes!”
As it turns out, Seagal wasn’t going to be busting into any scuzzy foreign prison! While the crazy South Africans are breaking into the prison, Seagal is safely ensconced in some high tech bank breaking into their computer system!
But don’t think Steve is missing out on any action. He hangs around the bank making all sorts of transactions for so long that the cops finally catch on and start shooting. Guess who ends up walking out of the bank smiling while stepping over about fifty bodies?
Seagal is the picture of the professional merc throughout the film. Every ten minutes when his boss figures out Steve’s latest double cross, he threatens to kill Radio’s family, but Seagal blows him off, blithely announcing he needs “proof of life” before he can take any further action on the mission.
At the end of the movie, he lets his boss drive off prompting complaints from the surviving mercs including a comment regarding the boss’s less than manly personality. Seagal responds, “I thought he had an explosive personality.” Then he pushes the detonator in his hand and blows up his boss inside his car leaving Seagal to chuckle and remark “I said ‘had’!” That Seagal was always the class clown at merc school!
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