Steven Seagal is not known for making good movies. And I admit I don’t like him very much. But, most of the time I find myself watching his movies. I think it’s out of the hope that one day he’ll be able to make a good enjoyable action movie. After I saw Under Siege, I have just about stopped meandering into his movies, why? Because this is the Steven Seagal movie that I like and think is good and enjoyable.
Under Siege is a typical high-concept film. The concept: one man, trapped in an enclosed area taken hostage by bad guys who don’t know he’s there. The “Die Hard Concept”. In Die Hard it was Willis' John McClane in a building, in Under Siege it’s Seagal’s Casey Ryback in a boat. Casey Ryback is a cook aboard a battleship. During a party for the captain a group of over-the-top bad guys lead by Tommy Lee Jones take the ship over. The one person that the villains didn’t expect to stop their evil plan? Yes, the cook. Seagal’s Ryback is a one man fighting machine able to take out a whole group of heavily trained killers. The story is simple, a group of terrorist wants weapons and the battleship has them. Jones leads the terrorist to get the weapons.
Yes, the plot is understandably absurd, but it works and director Andrew Davis (The Fugitive) finds some inventive ways of making the film work. He puts enough action in the film to keep the audience from thinking, adds to this some cool gadgets and some incredible shots of the ship and wraps this all together with the great performances of Jones and Seagal (something I thought I’d never find myself saying, Seagal? Good performance?)
Seagal’s characters never seem to get hurt, but in Under Siege that changes, he actually bleeds. There is blood running through this character. And though Seagal does a good job with his role, Tommy Lee Jones is the one to look for in this film. His over-the-top performance as the villain is great. The one character that I don’t quite understand why they added was Erika Eleniak’s Playmate Jordan Tate. The only reason I see for this is for a scene of gratuitous nudity and for her to, for some scenes, play the damsel-in-distress.
There are certain films from action stars you hate that stand out, for Van Damme it was Hard Target, for Seagal it’s Under Siege. This is a well directed and well put together movie. It has some excellent action sequences and a good insane villain. This is the only film with Seagal as a lead that I can really say, Don’t Miss this film.
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