by David Cornelius
I suppose I should stop complaining about Steven Seagal movies; after all, I, too, have become too old and too fat to be kicking people in the face. Then again, I’m not desperately trying to convince a dwindling fan base that my mojo’s still working and I’m still worth, well, if not a ten dollar movie ticket, then at least a four dollar movie rental (or less, if you factor in Two-For-One Mondays down at the Video Hut).Seagal’s latest attempt at action flick relevancy comes in yet another filmed-in-Romania direct-to-video time waster, this one titled “Flight of Fury.” Here, Seagal plays John Sands, an ace pilot whose knowledge of top secret projects is so dangerous that the government is planning to wipe his memory. (Don’t ask.) Sands escapes, winds up thwarting a rest stop robbery, lands back in prison, only to be offered a deal by the same folks who were about to wipe his memory in the first place, thus making the first half hour of this movie the most irrelevant bit of plot filler since, I dunno, whatever happened in the beginning of Seagal’s last movie.
"Seagal may be getting lumpier, but his bored monotone has stayed the same."
Anyway, the deal is this: there’s a new stealth bomber out there that’s so stealthy is can turn actually invisible (!), and some corrupt pilot’s gone and stolen the darn thing, giving it to a group of Afghan terrorists, who want to drop biological weapons over Europe and the U.S. (in a plan that will wipe out the entire world’s population in two days, but terrorists never seem to be bothered with the minor details), and if Sands can stop the bad guys and save the world, he gets to keep his memory.
This is what happens when you let Steven Seagal write a screenplay.
It’s the same lumbering, incompetent mess we’re used to seeing from Seagal and his band of cohorts (director Micharl Keusch and co-writer Joe Halpin both worked on Seagal’s last two DTV efforts), although Seagal is obviously playing down his own involvement in the storylines, a combination of age and laziness (rumors abound of the actor limiting his time on set and refusing to return to a movie once his few days of filming is complete). And so we get a couple of mercenary sidekicks to help fill screen time - one of them being what appears to be a lesbian prostitute, because, hey, skin sells. There’s also a subplot involving the goings-on at the terrorist camp and another pilot’s attempt to also save the day. Occasionally somebody throws a punch, or something blows up while an underpaid stunt guy pretends, poorly, to get hurt.
Tiresome, sure, but the real kicker is in the aerial sequences. This being a movie about Air Force adventure, you’d expect a couple of solid dogfight bits to help make up for the limp action on the ground. Alas, what we get in “Flight of Fury” is a collection of weak stock footage - the film quality doesn’t even match - with the stars’ voices randomly dubbed over in a failed effort to make it all fit. (The entire finale recycles clips from “Iron Eagle.” Hooray.)Are there people out there who are still sticking with Seagal as a major provider of action movie entertainment? Even after such unwatchable efforts such as “Attack Force,” “Shadow Man,” and “Black Dawn?” Surely the Romanian tax breaks and the foreign box office revenue are enough to keep Seagal in the movie business, but is anybody actually still watching? After “Flight of Fury,” I can’t imagine anyone answering “yes.”
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=15883&reviewer=392
originally posted: 03/10/07 11:53:45