Under Siege 2 – Dark Territory

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.

I Wanted To Like Rambo

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know I’m a sucker for one-man-army movies. Bruce Willis, Steven Segal, Arnold – it doesn’t make any difference.

There’s lots of cartoon violence and not a whole lot of plot. The villain is exquisitely mean. His hired minions are the world’s only well trained rent-a-cops. The movie culminates with that one scene where good and evil go one-on-one (I now swear off using hyphenated words for the rest of this entry), usually without weapons.

With those good times in mind I was thrilled to turn on the TV and see “Rambo – First Blood” was coming on. It was a movie I had never seen, though I knew the legend of John Rambo – few words, all action, good versus evil.

I can’t begin to tell you how disappointed I am. Nothing that I wanted was here in this movie. In fact, with Brian Dennehy and Richard Crenna in the cast, I was hoping for a lot.

What I can’t figure is how they could make multiple sequels in this series. Seeing one was more than enough. Now, when does the next “Under Siege” movie air?

The Best Movie Ever Made

Having the DVR does open up some possibilities. Every once in a while I just scour the listings, looking for something to record. The software on my Comcast issued Scientific Atlanta box makes this a little more difficult than it should (reverting to your current time and channel each time you set a recording). It’s still worth doing.

Often, I record something and never watch it. Hey, that’s life.

Last night, after watching The Daily Show, I looked through the list to see what else had been saved for me. Near the top of the list I saw, “Under Siege.”

“Under Siege” is a classic ‘guy’ movie, starring Steven Segal, supported by Tommy Lee Jones, Gary Busey and the always inflated Erika Eleniak&#185.

The concept is (this will be the first time ever this is refered to as a concept picture) a disgruntled Gary Busey, the executive officer on board the soon-to-be-decomissioned USS Missouri, conspires with Tommy Lee Jones and his gang of evil doers to steal the Missouri’s contingent of nuclear weapons. First they have to neutralize the crew – often in the most violent of ways.

Of course there is one small thing they never planned for, Casey Ryback. Ryback was a Navy Seal and all around deep sea Rambo until he got busted for striking a superior officer. There’s not much detail, but the brief description given makes it seem like a patriotic, yet emotional outburst from a ‘real man.’ Now he’s a cook, finishing his 20 years in the Navy.

Is there any need to go into the details? There are a hundred other movies that are virtually the same. In fact, there’s another Segal movie, starring Eric Bogosian as the whacko evil doer, which would seem like plagarism if it weren’t from the same group.

There is something eerily attractive about this movie.

Busey and Tommy Lee Jones make great villains. This is espeically true of Jones who plays a psychotic who is genuinely off center in every way.

If I’ve seen this movie once, I’ve seen it a dozen times. And, if given the opportunity, I’d see it again tomorrow. It is a guilty pleasure, to be sure.

What is it that makes action movies like ‘Under Siege’ or nearly any submarine movie so appealing – especially to me a totally non-violent man? Is it somehow wired into my genes? I don’t know and I won’t attempt to fight it.

&#185 – It should be noted that though Erika Eleniak appears topless for a few brief seconds near the beginning of the movie, mostly she is dressed and shot in such a way that her physique is a non-factor… as difficult as that is to believe.

Die Hard

What is it about this genre of movie that I find so compelling? I would never pay $1 to see this in the theater, but Die Hard on TV… I’ll watch it every time it’s on (it’s on right now on Encore-West).

It is totally predictable, violent and trite. Again, I love it. I can’t help myself.

The only thing better than a Die Hard movie is Steven Segal’s Under Siege. Eric Bogosian as a terrorist! It just can’t be beat.

I’m sure this reveals some psychological weakness. I’ll live with it.