Friday, October 5, 2012

Steven Seagal Week 2: Submerged

Are you there, Seagal's voice?  Today's film is Submerged, a movie about Seagal on a submarine.  Well, it worked before!  The downside here is that this is an Anthony Hickox film.  No, don't get me wrong- his Resume is not spotless.  He's become a 'Work-for-Hire' Director a la Lucio Fulci- only he's mostly done Direct-to-Video Action Films.  That said, he's responsible for Waxwork, Waxwork II, Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat and Warlock: The Armageddon.  Basically, if you judge his career solely on his work between 1988 and 1993, he's fucking awesome!  Regardless, he's done a Seagal film.  It happens to the good Directors- i.e. Siu-Tung Ching- every once in a while.  So what is the film about?  Well, the plot involves an evil Doctor, mind-controlled marines and a submarine...kind of.  The film's title and marketing are a bit misleading...which I will get into further down.  What you need to know is that Seagal's old tricks are in play, but the Direction is good.  Can the good outweigh the bad?  To find out, read on...
Somewhere in Paraguay, a U.S. Drone is watching a military base.  In Argentina, the U.S. Ambassador is watching the feed.  With the flick of a switch, an evil Doctor activates his mind-controlled men to kill everyone- including themselves.

Gary Daniels is here, playing the lead mind-controlled Marine.  He's captured after the opening and left behind as a Trojan Horse.  Who can save him?
Naturally, it's Seagal, seemingly re-using his attire from Half Past Dead, who was locked up for doing something wrong.

Nah, just kidding.  It was all political...since Seagal characters have all of the nuance of plain white paper!
He assembles his team- which is only notable for including a spicy Latina and Vinnie Jones- and they rescue the Marines.

The best part- he knows that one guy is a double-agent...based on a scene that's not shown.  He's right- since it's Seagal- but could you have bothered to show us this at all?!?!?
The Marines break out and kill a few of Seagal's less-interesting men before building up to a Gary Daniels/Steven Seagal face-off.  This should be...over in one minute and be one-sided.

According to Gary Daniels, the fight scene was re-choreographed by Seagal on the day of shooting.  Who's surprised?  Nobody?
At 49 minutes into this 90 minute film (with Credits), the Submarine is blown up by an Aircraft carrier.  Barely halfway through the film and the key set-piece is abandoned.  Ugh.

Remember when Texas Chainsaw Massacre took place in Washington, D.C. for the second half?  No, of course you don't!
The rest of the film takes place in Paraguay- with Argentian flags visible- and the team takes out most of the bad guys.

I should mention that the bad guys are actually three people- a C.I.A. Agent, a Businessman and the Doctor- and they work against each other.  Confused much?
 Naturally, Seagal wins the day, but loses Vinnie Jones in the process.  It's also important to note that Seagal takes out a random black guard before the main villain.  Who was that guy?  Why was he important?

The best part: Seagal kicking the Agent fifteen feet backwards through glass.  Even for you, that's silly!
 Since we have to have sequel-bait, we do.  Given that the person controlling the drones is dead, I don't see the suspense here.  The End.
Seagal's voice is not the only thing missing in action here.  With so much crap going on, I didn't really address the ADR issue here.  Roughly 1/3 of the Seagal's dialogue is done by someone else.  All I can figure is that this had to do with the Seagal/Millennium Films issue.  While he's already proven himself to be a lazy ass, it's somewhat easy to see why he might back out of going into an Audio Booth.  The good part- the Direction.  It may sound like I'm just trying to defend the Director, but he does do a good job.  The movie has a good style to it...which is only ruined a bit by its star and his quirks.  It would be nice to see a Hickox film of a similar style with a star who can actually do shit on screen.  It's basically my same complaint from Belly of the Beast, in other words.  The film has so much promise and could have actually been good.  The idea of mind-controlled drones battling a group of military men could be great.  Hell, they have good people in it like Daniels- who just gets shit roles general- and Jones.  Is there a way to re-Edit the film around Seagal?  In the meantime, enjoy this film for its promise and see how Seagal's fat ass smothers it.  More shadows, dammit!
Next up, Seagal works to rescue a plane.  What he can't rescue, however, is all of the stock footage they stole in the first place!  Stay tuned...

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