The Asian Connection (2016)

Gan Sirankiri, the Cambodian crime boss portrayed Steven Seagal (you know how an actor is born to play a certain role – this is the opposite of that) is being ripped off and he is pissed!

And how do we know that? It’s not because he is cussing about it all the time. (Seagal must have gotten a bonus for every time he could work some variation of the F word into his dialogue.) It isn’t because he’s literally demanding the head of the thief of a platter. (The traitor sends back his brother’s hand instead. Whoops.) It isn’t even because he lumbers off his compound to personally interview people in his crime empire to determine their trustworthiness. (The guy in charge of the local martial arts gym passed, but Seagal waddled into the ring and beat up all the guys training there just because he could.)

No, we know that Gan is furious beyond anything we’ve ever seen from a Seagal character when he angrily flips the table containing his lunch spread over! Do you know how much it must mess with his chi to not get his customary midday 5000 calories? It probably would be at least another hour before his team of chefs could cater another feast for ten so he could enjoy a nice peaceful meal by himself!

Interrupted binging aside, The Asian Connection is so routinely awful that the movie really only comes alive whenever Steve’s meaty head fills the screen. The amateur bank robbers who are the focus of the film are such unsympathetic scumbags with zero charisma, seeing Steve appear periodically with the tacky orange Transitions eyeglasses he’s been inexplicably wearing for his last several films is strangely comforting.

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Jack and Sam are friends who decide to rob a bank in Cambodia. They seemingly hit the jackpot when the bank they rob contains an enormous amount of American currency. Fleeing across the border to Thailand, Jack intends to use the money to give his girlfriend, Avalon, the life he thinks she deserves. (Avalon brags in a self serving voiceover how she never took shortcuts like her friends who became go go dancers, apparently believing that robbing banks is somehow more honorable than giving a lapdance.)

But while Avalon is no doubt complimenting herself on doing things the right way unlike her slutty friends (when she tells Jack to do her on all the stolen cash, it’s because she LOVES him), things take an ominous turn back in Cambodia where we learn that all that money Sam and Jack stole was Gan’s! (Jack wonderded who would have thought that a crime boss would keep his money in a bank? And he’s right – that was never in that Bonnie and Clyde movie!)

Gan tells one of his lieutenants, Niran, he needs to track the thieves down and get his money back since it was Niran’s idea in the first place to put Gan’s money in all these Cambodian banks. Niran, showing the same intellectual capacity that lead him to put his boss’s cash in a banking system that apparently doesn’t have the equivalent of FDIC deposit insurance, tracks down Jack and instead of getting the money and returning it to Gan, decides to not only keep it, but also feeds Jack information on other banks to rob that are also holding Gan’s money.

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After Sam gets himself killed (not during a bank robbery oddly enough), Avalon immediately promotes herself from moll to robber, excited to finally get to go on a heist and also completly extinguishing any rooting interest you might have had in her.

After about the tenth time of one of his banks getting hit, Gan can’t help but catch on that it is Niran behind the heists and goes after him. Jack though gets to Niran first thus setting up a final confrontation against Gan.

Being that this is a Seagal movie, it is not surprising that not only does Seagal survive and not even break a sweat but somehow gets a pass from Avalon even after killing Jack. As she lounges sexily on a beach, she thinks about how her fairy tail went a little awry, but that the monster in her fairy tale (Seagal) was capable of compassion since he allowed her to live. It’s really a great fairy tale, Avalon. I’m shocked Disney hasn’t made a cartoon about it yet.

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Exotic locales and Seagal’s unique brand of zen method acting (he’s exactly the same in this movie as in his other recent low rent quickies except he’s decked out with a gaudy medallion that some local must have tricked him into wearing) are the only things that distinguish this mundane crime drama. Jack and Avalon seem to choose a life of crime for no reason other than being too lazy to earn money legitimately and consequently the audience is given no reason to care about them.

Niran is an utter moron, the idea that he would really cross Gan like he does is beyond stupid. How did he think he was ever going to get away with it when the banks he put Gan’s money were the ones that kept getting robbed?

Boring action scenes of guys standing around shooting each other and a slow motorcycle chase (so slow a guy on foot catches up with them!) merely cement The Asian Connection as yet another Steven Seagal movie that only adds to the list of his increasingly impressive number of unimpressive films.

© 2016 MonsterHunter

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