Under Siege (1992) – Andrew Davis

 

If you take Die Hard, remove Bruce Willis’ charm and humor and put it on a battleship, you have this entry on the 101 Action Movies list.

I’ve never been a big Steven Seagal fan, though having said that, I saw all the films he did in the early 80s and 90s, and none of them, as far as I’m concerned come close to this one, which could be seen as the best film he’s ever done.

Seagal plays Casey Ryback, a former Navy Seal who is now serving out the rest of his tenure as a cook on the USS Missouri, which is on its final voyage before she is decommissioned. He’s loyal to his captain, and the crew love him.

All except for the ship’s XO, Commander Krill (Gary Buesy back to being a baddie after his turn in Point Break), who is scheming not to just get rid of Ryback, but is in fact working in concert with an international group of villains to see the cruiser’s tomahawk nuclear missiles.

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Under the guise of the Captain’s (Patrick O’Neal) surprise birthday party, Krill flies in the lovely distraction of Miss July Jordan Tate (Erika Eleniak) a rock band, and catering team. All of them but for Tate are actually there to seize control of the ship, and are led by Stranix (Tommy Lee Jones) an unstable former government killing machine.

While most of the ship’s crew are dead, or locked up in the forecastle, Casey breaks out of the galley, where Krill trapped him, and begins to wage a one man war on Stranix and his cohorts, with the lovely Jordan in tow.

The action comes fast and furious as Casey works his way through the baddies, and does his able-bodied best to bring Krill and Stranix’s plan to a dead stop. With a satellite uplink, he’s in touch with a command center which offers him off-site intelligence and clues him in to everything that is going on.

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It’s a bit of mindless fun, and while Tommy Lee Jones seems to be avidly chewing the scenery, it’s not stellar material, this is a no-brainer afternoon on the couch, distraction movie that has a lot of noise and bang to it.

Seagal may have the moves in this movie, but he’s not the best actor in the world, he’s soft-spoken delivery just doesn’t really work, but that’s not why he’s in the film, he’s there to kick butt and save the day.

This he does, and he does it well.

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With the added weight of actors like Tommy Lee Jones the film plays more seriously than some of Seagal’s other fare of the time, and Andrew Davis as a director shows a strong grasp of action scenes, but also in laying out the ship’s geography for the viewing audience.

I personally enjoyed seeing Colm Meaney show up as a bad guy in this film, because he’s always been a fave of mine, and I love when he pops up in films.

Overall, it’s a fun film if you’re lazing about on the couch.

What’s your favorite Seagal film?

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