I’ve done my best to establish my slavish devotion to the cinema of Steven Seagal. In fact, I previously wrote Under Siege was the best movie ever made!
Wrong. My apologies.
The real winner is Under Siege 2 – Dark Territory.
I’m going to rave about this movie in just a second, but I have to preface that with this warning. Steven Seagal movies in general and this one in particular are violent and gory. It is gratuitous violence. It is always graphically portrayed. In many ways it is cartoon violence. In addition, there are a few scenes with strong sadistic overtones.
I would like the movies just as much if the action wasn’t as graphic – but it is.
Seagal is, again, playing Casey Ryback. He’s a Navy Seal, commando, red state patriot and smoldering tough guy, who is forced to finish his navy career as a cook. He knows his way around the kitchen, including all its cutlery. As with the original Under Siege, he can make a bomb with simple materials found around the kitchen.
That’s a talent!
The plot has to do with a rogue scientist electronically capturing a spy satellite. The satellite is also a secret deadly weapon capable of creating earthquakes on demand. How convenient. The rogue scientist is played by Eric Bogosian.
Without a doubt, Bogosian is the finest, weirdest villain ever portrayed in an action movie1. He is totally geeky and over the top. He is consciously funny – nearly breaking down the fourth wall. His kinky, curly hair only adds to his off center persona.
Let’s me answer the standard questions asked about a movie of this genre.
Seagal is bulletproof and capable of killing a few dozen of the enemies finest mercenaries without breaking a sweat. He has “MacGyver” like abilities to fashion weapons out of anything electrical or mechanical. Anyone he recruits to help him (Erika Eleniak in the first movie, Morris Chestnut this time) goes from quivering wuss to gun slinging operative in just a few minutes while becoming impervious to attack!
Of course the final scene pits Seagal against the leader of the bad guys without guns. In fact, in an exhibition of extreme machismo, both throw away the clips from the sidearms and fight hand-to-hand with very sharp knives.
I hope I’m not spoiling it, but the world is not destroyed and Casey Ryback survives the film, should another sequel ever be suggested.
I would never see one of these movies in the theater. This is TV fare – especially good on weekend nights after the rest of the family has gone to bed.
Though I’ve seen this movie a few times before, this was the first time I saw the first 5-10 minutes. Amazingly, they weren’t necessary in order to grasp the plot.
I know watching these movies must say all sorts of bad things about me, but I can’t help it. I am a slave to this genre.
1 – Though Eric Bogosian is great, the most evil villain ever portrayed in any movie of any genre is James Cromwell as Captain Dudley Smith in LA Confidential. Here was a man with no sense of humanity. Cromwell nailed the role.