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Overall Rating

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look: 14.29%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 14.29%
Total Crap71.43%

1 review, 8 user ratings

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Submerged (2005)
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by Jack Sommersby

"One of Steven Seagal's Worst"
1 stars

Don't be fooled into thinking this is another "Under Siege," for in light of all the banalities, it's the unsuspecting audience who's under siege.

Submerged is a particularly rancid Steven Seagal action picture that's bad on some many levels you'd think the moviemakers had purposely set out to concoct something irredeemably rock-bottom as a homage to that historical king of bad movies Edward D. Wood. This direct-to-video endeavor's cover art shows its star and a submarine, surely in an effort to appeal to fans of Seagal's battleship-set, career-best Under Siege; only it takes thirty-five minutes for Seagal to actually get on the submarine and then only twenty minutes are spent on it until the asinine story gets back on land for the remainder of the running time. (If ever there were a movie that deserved to be infinitely hung up in dry dock, this is it.) Seagal himself doesn't appear until the twelve-minute mark, and even this is twelve minutes too soon in light of his lazy, somnolent acting throughout. With a dubious Southern accent and the bored demeanor of a night watchman, he plays Chris Cody, the military's best mercenary who's released from a Navy brig along with several of his cohorts to rescue a group of U.S. soldiers who've been captured by a mad-as-a-hatter scientist who's able to turn people into programmed assassins through a mind-control device; as the story opens, the U.S. ambassador of Uruguay is murdered by her own Secret Service detail, our soldiers are sent in to investigate, and after being captured they're kept in cages in the scientist's underground facility where they're brainwashed. When Cody and his team rescue them and jump on a submarine, the soldiers get loose and go after their rescuers, and what could've possibly functioned as some sort of tense thriller within the narrow confines of the submarine, the action is over before we know it, and the rest of the plot switches to Montevideo and morphs into a half-assed political thriller, only the thrills are practically nonexistent. For a movie incredibly inept at each and every turn, the plotting is both complicated and scattershot at the same time, with abruptly awkward scene transitions and so many continuity errors it's as if someone with ADD had put the whole thing together in the editing room. You can't keep track of the story because it keeps shooting into confusing Byzantine directions, and after its passable beginning (all five minutes of it) you don't want to -- it's like trying to stay involved in a visually inexpressive foreign-language film sans subtitles.

Still, Submerged would've greatly benefited from being seen rather than heard what with Seagal's drawling unintelligibility and the constant dreadful dialogue. He sounds dubbed by a much-younger actor, and even when it sounds like him it's mouthing drivel by the likes of, "If you wanna have some catfish, you gotta have some bait." He wears sizes-too-large black jackets to hide an apparent weight gain, and in the fight scenes an obvious body double is used that could easily be spotted even by a Mr. Magoo. I'd previously written that if the aikido-trained star developed some variety and style he might keep himself in the top rank of movie action stars, but in Submerged it's as if he'd regressed to a primordial inertness -- he's a seedy-looking creased-forehead mannequin with unruly sideburns. (This is the same guy who managed to hold his own against Tommy Lee Jones and Gary Busey in Under Siege?) So with a tranquilized leading man exuding all the vitality of a week-old meat loaf, that leaves the story and action, both of which should've been jettisoned at sea. The movie has been co-written and directed by Anthony Wilcox, who impressed with the little-seen 1995 neo-noir Payback (with C. Thomas Howell and Joan Severance) but floundered with Waxwork II: Lost in Time and Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth. Unlike Seagal, Hickcox hasn't laid down on the job, but he's trying to do too much for what should be undemanding genre entertainment: the discombobulated narrative induces more in the way of whiplash than suspense; and because you don't give a damn about who's doing what to whom and why, all the intricacies to the plotting never satisfyingly click into place. That leaves the action sequences. Raggedly staged, Wilcox puts a lot of variety into the camera angles but little in the way of spatial cohesion: an assassination attempt in an opera house is hampered by too much crosscutting with the goings-on outside of it; the submarine action is so blurrily rendered you have to squint for the sight of Seagal's ponytail to know you're watching the hero; and the final hand-to-hand duel between Cody and a previously-unseen baddie is confusingly choreographed. Couple all this with cheesy special effects (the shooting down of a drone by a fighter jet looks like something out of an Atari 2600 video game) and horrendous supporting performances, and you have something of retrograde ratiocination that not even a mother could love.

The pits.

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originally posted: 11/08/13 07:33:38
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User Comments

12/07/13 Pearl Bogdan Complete and total garbage 1 stars
8/23/07 OutforaCookie Seagal needs to be launched into space so that he can never make another bad movie on Earth 1 stars
3/07/07 Frank Rountree Slow to develop, then very unbelievable. Terrible cast. 1 stars
4/21/06 Sugarfoot Inhumanly horrid. 1 stars
3/28/06 Brian Meyer An okay film. Misleading title, though. Nothing like Under Siege. 4 stars
3/27/06 Anthony Feor Not a Seagal flick to remember 2 stars
12/08/05 JM Synth Funny for about 20 mins, then just plain boring 2 stars
6/04/05 Steve Kudlak Silly action film with lots of action,violence and an absurd plot. Silly Fun none the less 4 stars
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