Friday, February 17, 2012

Steven Seagal Week: Into the Sun

The worst thing to happen to Japan until, you know, that other thing.  This Seagal film also takes place in Asia, as I'm sure you inferred from that awful joke.  This time, it's Japan.  Given that it's a Seagal film, you know it's either about terrorists or organized crime.  It's the latter this time, although there is a bit of the former in there too.  It makes no sense and completely ruins the plot in many ways, but it's there.  This is stock Seagal at its best and worse.  If you don't know, it breaks down to this- Seagal is a Federal Agent who is a bad-ass and knows everything about Asian culture.  To be fair, Seagal did live in Japan for many years.  To be fair to Japan, however, he did so to open an Akido Studio and get famous.  Once he got the chance, he bolted from Japan like a fat bolt of lightning.  If you like lots of talking, little action and lots of Seagal's double doing all of the hard work, you're in luck.  To see if Japan can make Seagal interesting in spite of himself, read on...
The film begins with the murder of a Japanese official up for election.  It's all part of a bigger plan to unite the Chinese Triad, the Yakuza and the Golden Pyramid from Thailand.  Bear this in mind for later.
Naturally, Seagal is called in when shit goes down.  It's good to know that even in a fully-lit rooms, God sees fits to cast shadows and cover his double chins.
I should also mention that Seagal is semi-retired and runs a sword shop.  Wow, you saw Kill Bill and thought 'I'm better than that.'  If you needed more proof that Seagal had a writing credit, there's this...
A random sub-plot comes up involving Seagal and this Japanese lady being lovers.  They share about three scenes in the movie, but whatever.
It sure was nice of Mr. Seagal to bring Mr. Hristov along for his trip to Japan.  That guy gets to see all sorts of neat places!
Random Cameo by Gamera II.  Not sure why they're watching a film from the '90s in this 2005 film,, yeah.
Did you doubt that Seagal was really in Japan?  If so, here he is in a Pachinko Parlor.  Say hi to Nick Cage while you're there!
As you probably guessed, Seagal's lady gets killed by the bad guys.  This leads him to sending Hristov in to kill some guys!  That Russian/American sure can kick some ass.
As far as the villains go, they all die- violently.  The lead villain challenges Seagal to a sword fight and loses...badly.  Seagal walks off into the sunset...only to get called again as the Credits roll.  The End.
Even Japan can't make you look good, Seagal.  To be fair, Godzilla fighting Jesus would only serve to distract us from Seagal's fat ass.  I'm too harsh, aren't I?  I should talk about the good parts of this movie.  Japan is nice.  Okay, now back to the bad parts.  There's not a lot of action in this film, which is odd for a Seagal film. The best and worst parts of Belly of the Beast were the action scenes & they're sorely-missed here.  There's about three of them in the movie, not counting scenes of people walking up to each other, firing two shots and leaving.  That doesn't count!  Given the film conceit that everyone in Japan seems to know karate, this is surprising.  The film's theme is all about the youth trying to go against the long-held rules of their elders.  To that end, Seagal- who was 53 at the time of this film's release- goes around killing all of them.  Real subtle, huh?  Furthering that narrative, Seagal's character is given a young partner who doesn't know anything about Japan...despite being stationed there!  This guy serves solely to make Seagal look good and, naturally, to die a horrible death.  Good to know your place, buddy!  The bottom line: this movie is not as funny as stuff like Beast, nor is it as good as, well, most movies about the Yakuza.  Save for the bloody finale, it's just kind of there.  Take us away, unflattering profile...
Next up, the final Seagal film of the week.  This films comes to us from 2010, with Fat Seagal in all of his non-glory.  Stay tuned...

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