Sunday, February 20, 2011

Steven Seagal Is A Dangerous Man

What the hell—a halfway decent DTV Steven Seagal movie? Hey, I’m just as surprised as you are.

That A DANGEROUS MAN is one of Seagal's most watchable films in years is despite the fact that Seagal is as disinterested as ever. Rarely has a movie star been so bored by his job that it shows up in her performances. Many shots of Seagal are actually a body double, and a lot of his dialogue is dubbed by another actor trying to sound like him. If he ever took a step during a fight scene, it would be a miracle. All he does is stand in a spot and wave his arms around in quick cuts that try and fail to disguise his girth.

That’s all par for the course in a Steven Seagal movie. What sets A DANGEROUS MAN apart from most of its competition within Seagal’s DTV oeuvre is that it appears some care was taken in other respects to deliver a watchable action movie. Put a more interested (and interesting) star in it, and A DANGEROUS MAN could have really been something.

Seagal is Shane Daniels, a former military man who served six years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit (we never learn who did). His first night on the street, he witnesses two Chinese gang members killing a cop. He kills the killers and rescues a young Asian woman, Tia (Marlaina Mah), and a Russian guy, Sergey (Jesse Hatch), who talks like a McKenzie brother (A DANGEROUS MAN was shot in British Columbia). Pretty soon, Chinese drug dealers, Russian gangsters, and corrupt cops are involved with Shane and Tia and Sergey in a complicated plot that I didn’t fully catch or care about really.

Director Keoni Waxman (THE KEEPER) appears to share Seagal’s fetishes for hot Asian girls and brutal violence, which is maybe why A DANGEROUS MAN turned out as well as it did. Few action heroes have ever been as nasty as Seagal in delivering the wet stuff, pounding and grinding and stabbing his opponents until their faces look like Robert Davi lost a fight with a cheese grater. The fights and explosions work well enough for a Friday night rental and make A DANGEROUS MAN look impressive indeed compared to the rest of its star’s recent work.

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