Friday, May 23, 2008

Pistol Whipped

PISTOL WHIPPED is the latest Steven Seagal movie, which is already airing on USA cable just two months after its DVD premiere. If you've seen any of the 14 (!) movies Seagal has starred in over the past 5 (!) years—and you haven't (SUBMERGED? OUT OF REACH, anyone?)—you know that their homogenous titles and plots make them seem to be one long BERLIN ALEXANDERPLATZ of an epic. Though just any one of them, watched at random, can feel longer than BERLIN ALEXANDERPLATZ.

PISTOL WHIPPED isn't really one of Seagal's worst, but it earns the audience's wrath by having the indecency to waste the great character actor Lance Henriksen, starring opposite Seagal for the first time. Henriksen appears briefly in only three scenes that were obviously shot in the same day. As "The Old Man," Lance and his henchman, Blue (played by familiar LAW & ORDER guest star Paul Calderon), strongarm drunken, gambling-addicted, corrupt ex-cop Matt (Seagal) into working for them as an assassin. Since their targets are mobster scumbags, Matt doesn't appear to be too shaken up by his forced new career (Henriksen bought up all his gambling markers, worth more than $1 million; why the hell would these bookies keep giving him credit?), until the next subject to be whacked is Steve (Mark Eliot Wilson), Matt's former cop buddy who's now married to his MILFy ex-wife (OPEN WATER's Blanchard Ryan, who oughta be getting better offers than this).

As usual, Seagal demonstrates that he's about the laziest actor in film today (narrowly beating out Michael Madsen), although considering how many times he's made this same movie, I suppose it's unsurprising how bored he looks. At least he showed up at the dubbing studio to loop all his lines (some Seagal movies have unconvincing voice doubles dubbing occasional dialogue), though he still relies a lot on doubles to appear on camera while he sleeps or something in his trailer.

The action scenes, staged by Dutch director Roel Reine, are unimaginative and implausible, many of them consisting of guys in suits firing dozens of bullets from automatic weapons at point blank range and hitting nobody. J.D. Zeik's clunky script is frequently ludicrous beyond belief, as in the hilarious exposition that opens the film, where a priest tells Seagal (us, really) all about Seagal's wastrel lifestyle, which one would presume Steve knows already.

Strangely, considering he's a 57-year-old man who appears bloated, pasty and apathetic, hot young ladies continue to throw themselves at Seagal. Poor Renee Elise Goldsberry receives the Good Sport Award for making out with Seagal and pretending her character is having a good time. She even—no lie—has dialogue complimenting Seagal on how large his dick is. I wonder who wrote that line.


Adam Ross said...

This is great, I can't believe how often I see a new Seagal movie. But there's obviously a demand, how else to explain why "Out for Justice" is on HD-DVD?

Marty McKee said...

OUT OF JUSTICE is a genuinely good movie, which PISTOL WHIPPED and every other Seagal movie of the 2000s is not (though I found EXIT WOUNDS and HALF PAST DEAD to have some value). I think UNDER SIEGE is the only Seagal on Blu-ray, but no effort was made to remaster it, so it doesn't look any different than the DVD.

Vince said...

I caught the beginning of ATTACK FORCE, a 2006 Seagal entry, on USA the other night. It was my introduction to the voice doubling you mention. Seagal, who co-wrote this one, has another character say of him, "He walks with an air of confidence that's pretty rare in this day and age." I laughed for a good ten minutes.

Anonymous said...

There's something addictive about these Seagal movies, and I must not be the only one who thinks so, based on their ready availability and their sheer number. (Confession: I snap them up as soon as I see them on the store shelf!) I think part of it must be their famniliarity -- you know what you're getting even before the shrinkwrap is off, and it puts the prospective viewer in a cozy (if somewhat tattered) comfort zone.

Anonymous said...

OMG! OMG! OMG! Renee Goldsberry (sp?)?!? She left One Life to Live for this?!? I might too actually. Have to admit, I love this guy, all his bloat and everything. He's hilarious and most of his films I find enjoyable, if not technically very good...He did one called Into the Sun where he's in this love scene where a girl takes off her top and they lay down together and he's STILL in that giant trenchcoat. It's awesome.

I've been meaning to see this, and now that I know Renee is in it - watch out!