Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Under Siege (1992)

Here we go, Steven Seagal's response to Bruce Willis and 'Die Hard', his very own Die Hard and quite possibly the first film after 'Die Hard' to be labelled with the 'Die Hard on a...' tag. What's even more amazing is this is a superb action flick that not only looks damn slick, sounds damn cool and plays out reasonably realistically for the most part, but its easily one of Seagal's best (and he ain't got many).

Plot...a battleship loaded with dangerous nasty weapons and a full crew, its hijacked by a crazy ass bad guy and his endless team of henchmen (plus a dirty double dealing Officer of the ship). People are killed, the rest are locked up leaving only one man, that man is a cook, that man is...STEVEN SEAGAL. Its now up to Steven Seagal, the most lethal, most dangerous, most stealthy badass ex-Navy SEAL ever! to save the day and terminate every last bad guy with extreme precise knife wielding prejudice.

So yeah the film is a total play on a certain McTiernan classic, the setup is the same, the execution, the way the film unfolds, hell there's even the same explosion whilst leaping off a high ledge sequence. The only real difference here is Seagal has a rather pointless sexy female that follows him around like a lost puppy, she adds nothing and she does pretty much does nothing accept show us her lovely tight ass at the start.

What I do like about this film is the realistic aspects of it. Filmed in part on a real battleship this naturally helps sell the whole concept and it does look really good. This in turn gives you the claustrophobic tightness of the battleship interior which makes fights, booby traps and gun battles even more tense and exciting. I also really enjoyed seeing Seagal go all A-Team on us with his little death traps and tricks using various objects and interior fittings, unsure how realistic they all were but I'm sure they are true to life.

Also nice to see Seagal getting assistance from a few freed crew members which again adds a nice touch of believability to the story, its not completely Seagal the killing machine. Although the excuse for using Erika Eleniak is still wafer thin, literately there just for that one strip sequence methinks.

All other aspects of the military including lingo, scenarios, meetings, weapons, procedures etc...all seem top notch, I do believe a lot of care is taken with this kinda of thing especially with Seagal. Of course the whole idea of hijacking a battleship seems ridiculous as there would be so many men on board, so many places to hide, hold up and run to and probably various ways of communication/alerts that I'm sure it would impossible.

The film relies heavily on two factors, the invincible hero in Seagal and the scenery chewing villains, namely Jones and Busey. The whole film is so obvious right from the start, everyone knows Busey is the bad guy, he looks just like his character from 'Lethal Weapon', he's a bad guy clearly. Busey is basically you're standard villain, he's just the perfect bad guy every time, bad guy classes 101, hire Busey with his crazy blonde hair and huge teeth, the perfect slime ball. Jones of course is also clearly a bad guy but feels a bit miscast for me, doesn't really come across as an ex-CIA kinda guy or an insane hippie. Plus I can understand why he wants to get even after they tried to eliminate him.

Anyway Seagal looks in good shape here, he's trim, no ponytail, his fight sequences actually look half decent and more importantly he's kinda believable too. Not too many cheesy one liners but a more straight laced no nonsense fella, of course every film Seagal stars in he plays an invincible ex-military/ex-cop superman type so there's nothing new here.

The whole film is sharp and action packed yet none of it looks over the top, its all pretty grounded which is why its well remembered. Great gun battles, cool looking hardware, authentic settings and some really good violent fights, the workshop fight makes you wince here n there. Only down side for me was the rather anti-climatic finale and ending, oh and the close up shot of Seagal's stern mug as he salutes is hilarious, unintentional of course.