Seriously, this film couldn’t be any duller and more formulaic than what it actually is. After the huge stink bombs that are On Deadly Ground and Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (the last one which I unfortunately own), action hack Steven Seagal decided to trail back to familiar ground, and once again be cast as a cop, and he did it with this movie. Unfortunately, this film just never takes off despite a few clever moments, and it’ll leave you more with a certain amount of sickness and blah after seeing Seagal trying to tackle the action/horror/comedy genres in one movie and in such an uninteresting way.Here’s the skinny: In the rainy shithole that is Los Angeles, Detective John “Jack” Cole (Seagal), whom is a Buddhist and carries his love beads around, is assigned the notorious “Family Man killings” case, and is teamed up with “brudah” Detective Jim Campbell (Keenan Ivory Wayans). As they are investigating the killings, they come up with a pair of killings in which Cole, in all his obvious CIA expertise (not very had to figure out) realizes that they were not made by the serial killer himself but by a professional killer, and soon this suspicion leads to a probable conspiracy, possibly involving the CIA via it’s agent, Mr. Smith (Brian Cox). Then Cole saves the life of psycho kid Johnny Deverell (Johnny Strong; seriously, that’s his name) and afterwards the boy’s father, Frank Deverell (a wasted Bob Gunton) appears at that moment to thank Cole for saving his kids life. Soon, Mr. Deverell would become one of the possible suspects in Cole’s case, along with the CIA and the Russian mafia. Oh, and he also has a bodyguard named Donald (John M. Jackson), and if you’re a police or mob movie fan, you’ll know what his role is in the movie. In one of the killings, they kill Cole’s ex-wife, and (unsurprisingly) one of Cole’s prints are in the body. So now, while the Internal Affairs department starts investigating his mysterious past, he takes it personal in finding out not only the rotten apples of the conspiracy and clear his name, but also to find out who killed his wife and who committed the other killings.
"There’ll be Nothing but Jungle, Then a Glimmer, then you’ll Be Ripped Off"
Does any of this sound familiar to you? This whole deal is nothing but a rehash of an already tired formula, which has been done better. Hell, even a 5 year old could guess the outcome of this movie. The script is full of more clichés than any other Seagal film, and some holes may abound, though surprisingly I found few (Cole’s current wife is completely underdeveloped). Even the fight scenes, which happen to be one of the movies few bright points seem somewhat uninspired. The most hilarious moment is when Cole confesses to Campbell that he can’t fight, or rather, he’s not supposed to fight because IT’S AGAINST HIS RELIGION. Uh-huh, if that’s so, then what the fuck is he doing in the Police force in the first place? Shouldn’t he bee in some monastery or something? Then there’s also the pretty dumb scene in which Cole saves the life of Johnny, which he does by putting him through a window, the funny thing being that they managed to land into another window of another room. Suspension of disbelief doesn’t even cut it considering the logistics and the actual distance from one room to the other while there’s a HUGE FUCKING VOID below. That was absolute bullshit. Seriously, most of the supposed twists and turns in this film are so blatantly obvious that you’ll either fall asleep trying to figure out how boring and how dull this film is, or you’ll get a few signs of brain damage. The movie then tries to throw you a few comical moments (well, duh, it’s got Keenan Ivory Wayans), but most of the jokes fall flat, especially (and unsurprisingly) the ones that Seagal recites in his one-liners (they’re pathetically dumb). Wayans though, has the funnier ones, and pretty much his antics make it for pretty much the only highlight of the movie, but seriously, don’t you think that his antics and his character are way out of place? Kevin Brodbin, welcome to screenwriter hell.
The film tries to be many things at once, horror, action, mystery, suspense, comedy, and fails miserably on all accounts. The opening sequences as well as several scenes are a mix of campy wannabe horror that reaches unfathomable depths of pretentiousness, the amusing thing being that the dried blood looks more like red paint, and the bullet wounds look more like circular blobs of clay. There’s a certain air of uneasiness in the entire film, which makes the entire experience seem pretty ugly. The action is just all by the numbers. The mystery and the suspense are nonexistent yet laughably predictable. The comedy is mostly stupid and it’s just simply out of place. Director John Gray seems to be trying a lot, and I give him credit for that, but he falls short, very short. Trevor Rabin’s music though, was quite something to admire.
The entire cast is wasted. Seagal as usual, is as blank as a piece of paper. Keenan Ivory Wayans is seriously miscast; in fact, his entire character is miscast in the movie. I mean can you imagine a Wayans brother doing serious action? Hello Keenan, remember Damon? Besides, didn’t this film lead to Most Wanted? Bob Gunton and Brian Cox are wasted, and John M. Johnston is laughable and less credible as Deverell’s bodyguard, and you’ll laugh more as he tries to be all artsy fartsy ass-kicking badass against Seagal.In the end, you might want to avoid this movie, because it’s nothing but a worthless piece of shit. There are plenty of Seagal and Wayans movies for you to waste your time on. I hope Warner Brothers stops releasing these pathetic formulaic films and starts promoting and releasing more quality material. I mean, seriously, for a prestigious studio like Warners to be promoting Seagal flicks (ESPECIALLY his latest films, which most of them are all crap) in one of their preview ads and amongst their “prestigious film repertoire” is kind of insulting and nausea inducing. Oh by the way, I also bought this film long ago, and my dad loves it. Otherwise I would offer it for sale.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=6541&reviewer=235
originally posted: 12/17/02 16:16:39