Saturday, 29 December 2012

Opened up my own DVD shop!

 First of all....HAPPY CHRISTMAS to anyone reading this.

Apologies for not posting in nearly 6 months, but staying true to my love of 'Straight-To-DVD' movies....I've only gone and opened up my own shop (chock full of the bastards) called:

The shop is now in it's 7th week, and whilst I'll never be a millionaire (most profit goes back into re-stock) I seem to be making a living, buying and selling stuff that I have a keen interest in. The icing on the cake, is that it's directly over the road from where I live.

(I reckon I drink around 20-25 cups of coffee per day, sat in my shop?)

Of course, I have to bite my lip on several occasions with straight-talking (i.e, rude) customers (expecting latest releases for £2-£3) but answering to no-one other than the tax-man, and opening and closing whenever I feel like it.....more than make up for a few idiot customers.

Even on slow days, I have my trusty portable DVD player, and now that I've exhausted my entire 'Rumpole Of The Bailey' collection (see pic above) I now have more time to watch cruddy B-movies (which I intend to start reviewing again in the coming weeks)

The paintings you can see in the background, were done by my girlfriend and are also available for sale in the shop (hey, always look after the ones you love, I say)

Hopefuly, I can make a semi-comfortable living out of something I love?

I have at least 35 Seagal movies in the action selection alone

Thursday, 5 April 2012

DIRECT HIT (1994) William Forsyth

The Blurb On The Box:

"John Hatch (WILLIAM FORSYTH - The Untouchables, The Waterdance, Out For Justice) is a professional assassin working for the CIA chief (GEORGE SEGAL - A Touch Of Class, Where's Poppa?)
He's a killer - One of the best - But he's not proud of it and wants to retire. His last assignment seems like an easy one: Remove Savannah Miles (JO CHAMPA - Top internation model/actress, Little Buddha, Out For Justice) a young woman who is supposedly bribing a U.S senator (JOHN APERA - New Jack City, The Godfather, television series Another World)
When he learns she is nothing but a pawn in a much larger game, Hatch tries to redeem his own life by protecting hers...putting himself in the line of fire. Pursued by a government-trained mercenary (RICHARD NORTON - Cyber Tracker, Lady Dragon, China O'Brien I & II) and the police. Hatch has use every trick he's ever learned to keep himself and Savannah alive"

The Truth Of The Matter:

Saw this when it first hit the shelves, and throughly enjoyed it. Was a wee bit apprehensive on re-watching it again, but it turns out this nifty little PM thriller still kept me hooked (despite it's now obvious b-movie trappings, and generic storyline) it's saving crace, is seeing (eternal 'cinematic-bridesmaid') William Forsythe take centre-stage for a change, in a role that would usually taken up by some handsome muscle-man type. Believe me William Forsythe is neither muscular or handsome (except maybe in his wifes eyes?) But his acting chops, and all-round bad-assery, make for an interesting casting choice. Rounding off the ensemble, is George Segal (playing pretty much the loveable cigar-smoking asshole, he always plays) Richard Norton (more on him later) and Jo Champa (who, according to the blurb is a "internation" model....whatever the fuck that is?)

(One for dem lady-folk)

Pic opens with wise-ass rookie, waxing lyrical about the life of a hitman, the night before his first big job. He is to be teamed up on this 'hit' with seasoned pro (and yep, you guessed it....'The Best') John Hatch (Forsythe) and their target are four heads of the biggest crime families under one roof at the same meet-up (which turns out to be an arms trade, replete with a cheesy QVC style sales pitch that would have Ricky Roma wretching)

The hit doesn't go to plan (rather fucking obvious, given that the 'targets' are packing more 'heat' than the hit-men) and the loudmouthed rookie is soon taken out (but not before blowing himself up) leaving Hatch to engage in a car-chase (c'mon, this is PM after all?) against the one remaining mobster (who's limosine driver Carl, has teeth could give Austin Powers a run for his money) The obligatory (and possibly, borrowed stock-footage) car(nage) ensures, With Hatch eventually getting his man (with a little help from a fire-truck)

(Get to the Choppers!..........Carl and his snarl)

Back at HQ, Hatch tells his shadowy C.I.A. boss, Tronson (Segal) that he 'Wants-Out' (tm) but is asked to do 'One Last Job' and take-out Savannah Miles, a two-bit nobody, who is linked in a blackmail case against (corrupt) presidential candidate Terry Daniels (John Aprea.) Hatch refuses, but Tronson glibly retorts "She's just some low-life blackmailing slut...Do her on the way home for Christs sake?" whilst also threatening not to pay our hero for the last job. Hatch agrees, and sets out to find the woman.

("This time, I'm gonna play a loveable cigar-smoking asshole" thought George)

Hatch soon finds Savannah (working unsuccessfuly) at a local titty-bar, to which the displeased owner tells our shy heroine that "No-one gives a shit about dancing...they wanna see 'Bush' you understand?" forcing Hatch to not only kick the shit out him (and most of the bar) but to also realise that this woman may not be the slutty blackmailer than Tronson is making out?

(Top internation model?)

Following Savannah home, Hatch baulks at killing her alongside her young daughter as they both sleep, and upon further investigation, he uncovers that she is about to lose custody of said daughter to her estranged husband. Overhearing her plight in a confessional booth, Hatch tells Tronson that Savannah is not the blackmailer, and wants no part in her murder. Tronson (smokes more cigars) looks pissed off, and puts another hitman on the case.

(An always welcome...but criminally wasted...Richard Norton)

Drowning his sorrows in a bar, Hatch is confronted by 'work-collegue' Rogers (Norton) who taunts our hero with "Lost your balls, huh?" and "You can't turn your targets into people" before boasting he he now has the task of taking out Savannah. Hatch meanwhile, does any any self-respecting murderer would do, and goes to visit his father up in Rocky-mountain Nowheresville. Racked with guilt and realising that 'Family' matters (helped further by an arty-farty dream sequence) forces Hatch into "Doing something he's gotta' do" by heading back home and saving Savannah from the murderous clutches of Rogers.

Upon saving her from Rogers initial assasination attempt, Hatch and Savannah flee the scene. It transpires that her estranged sleaze-ball husband is behind the blackmail, and took the pictures over a decade ago at a drug-fuelled party the senator was at. They must race to find the daughter, not only evading Tronson, Rogers and the rest of the hit-men, but also (thanks to the political 'pull' of Senator Daniels) the police force

(The usual PM car-nage)

Without spoiling things further (like you'd need to be a fucking scientist to figure it out?) a lot of bad guys get shot, wrongs are righted, and even our portly hero gets his 'Fuck-On'.

Forsythe still has the same crazy look usually reserved for his bad-guy roles...which kind of makes sense, because all that killing would probably take it's toll on your weight and general appearence. And with a haircut from hell (think 'Three Stooges' Moe) mixed with 90's baggy fitting jackets, Forsythe is anything but the stereotypical 'stylish' hollywood assassin.

(Keeping the spirit of Star Strek alive, with nonsensical 'random flashing lights in a cardboard box' technology)

And just before you think it's about time me and this movie got a hotel room, let me tell you the one aspect that really pissed me off.. It wasn't the production values, the cheesy synth score, or the "Oh-Fuck-It" attitude in the movies final was this:


I mean c'mon guys. This is Richard Norton. The guy is a total badass. You've even got Art Comancho onboard, so what in Gods-blue-and-green-misery-orb went wrong with the fight scenes? No offence to Mr Norton (he's quite a good actor) but without throwing a single punch, there was little point in him being in this movie (Christ-on-a-stick, even the Lamentable ROAD HOUSE 2, had him kick a little ass...and that was made 10+ years after DIRECT HIT?) So I just thought this paragraph may serve as a warning to any Norton fans out there.

Overall, DIRECT HIT gets some things right (in terms of casting and plot depth) but lacks the really bat-shit crazy action set pieces, that PM do so well. Forsythe manages a bit of 'Rex-Kwan-Do' on a few bad guys, but mostly resorts to gunfighting (or 'Heroic-Bloodshed', to coin a 90's phrase) Had it not been for a fuzzy final third (which looked like out-takes from the opening shoot-out from NEMESIS) this could have been a stone-cold classic. The lack of Norton-Fu, makes it recommended to bad movie perverts (like myself) and PM completists. Good...but no cigar (probably because George Segal smoked them all as part of his salary?)

Classic Quote:

Hatch: "I guess I am what I am...a cold blooded murderer"
(Probably the second most unlikeliest chat-up line that ever led to an immediate love-sequence, since Shark Attack III?)


This movie reunites three thespians from Out For Justice....two of them are obvious, but can you guess the third?

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

PENITENTIARY 3 (1987) Leon Issac Kennedy

Everyone has a favourite ROCKY movie, some prefer the grittiness of the 1976 original, others love the music-video 80's jingoism of Rocky IV. My favourite is Rocky III, closely followed by the (much-maligned) Rocky V.
In the crazy universe of the Penitentiary movies, I've always preferred Penitentiary II, but after my fourth viewing of Penitentiary III in the space of a week (I shit thee not) it's dawned on me how (bat-shit) crazy PIII actually is. Sure, PII has crop-tops, roller-boots, and a Arabian-attired Mr T (not to mention a great Rudy Ray Moore cameo) But in retrospect, it's suddenly dawned on me that PIII makes PII look like Raging Bull in comparison.

Once again, Jamaa Fanaka (lousy name....but worth a score of 27+ in 'Scrabble') directs. And he wastes little time, by getting straight to the action, as we witness Martel 'Too-Sweet' Cordone (Leon Issac Kennedy) battling it out in the ring against El Cid. The commentators explain that Too-Sweet and El Cid have a great respect for one another and are friends outside the ring. But unbeknown to Too-Sweet, his shady trainer has slipped a 'strength inducing drug' into his water, resulting in our hero going fucking apeshit and pulling all kinds of WWF-moves in the boxing ring, eventually killing his opponent (whilst the trainer that drugged him screams "That's enough Too-Sweet!" .....what an asshole!)

Sat in the back of a paddy wagon, a voice over informs us that Too-Sweet has been given 3 years in the 'Pen' for manslaughter. The slow 'sax' music during this sequence, is soon revealed (in true Naked Gun style) to be an actual saxophonist in the vehicle with them (how and where he managed to hide that, is Anyone's guess?) But this scene serves as an early warning of the many 'What-The-Fuck' moments to come.

(Sax and Violence)

Roscoe puts down his sax and informs our hero (and us) that the Penitentiary has a boxing league, and that the warden is looking for talent for his upcoming tournament. But Too-Sweet just wants to do his 'time' and keep out of trouble. There's another guy in the van (some mulleted Michael Nouri looking motherfucker) who keeps boasting about murdering his wife.

The warden tries to convince Too-Sweet to join the boxing contest, but our hero refuses to join his team. However, what Gordone doesn't know is that the Warden is deep in gambling debts to the real power behind the prison...... millionaire Serenghetti (played by Billy Drago wannabe, Anthony Geary) replete with 'Muttley-like-asthmatic laugh, long-winded speeches and camp gestures.

(Sausage casserole was on the menu most nights)

may be an inmate, but he's so fucking rich, his cell resembles a mansion. He has a live-in 'he/she' bitch (named Cleo) a french waiter, red curtains covering the bars and (wait for it) his own privately filmed access of the prison gymnasium.

Soon enough the Michael-Nouri-lookalike soon loudmouths his way into trouble and later that night is paid a visit by Serengetti's toughest weapon...a fierce Black Dwarf, kept in an underground dungeon and fed a staple diet of 'blurry' pornography and crack cocaine.

His name is 'The Midnight Thud' and his objectives are as follows:

1) Grunt insanely.
2) Wear leather fetish gear.
3) Rape the living shit out of fresh inmates.
4) Have a peanut shaped cranium.

(Three meals a day....Four on 'Shower Nights')

Thud is dragged by chains from his dungeon, by two guards (one of which has the worse comedy stutter EVER) and thrown into the loud-mouths cell, where he is brutally raped/beaten (Thankfully this 'Romantic-Interlude' takes place off-screen) although we still get to hear the screaming inmates shouting such pleasantries as "Break him in for me Thud!" during the assault.

Too-Sweet turns down Serengetti's offer to box for his team...resulting in 'The Pint-sized pervert' being unleashed to our hero's cell. However, Too-sweet will not break or (literally) bend to the 'Thudsucker Proxy', resulting in one of the funniest, perverse fights ever committed to film. Too Sweet (clad only in underpants) goes 'Mano-O-Half-Mano with the degenerate dwarf. And just when You think it can't get any crazier, Midnight Thud starts waving his arms around and starts flying around the cell (I shit thee not)

Much 'fisting' later (oohh-eeerr!) Too-sweet looks defeated (gasp!) Thud takes time from his homosexual rape duties to snack on one of Too-sweets Oranges (big mistake fucko!) as the theft of fruit from the 'fruity thief' (geddit?) enrages our battered hero, who makes little haste in throwing the pint-sized rapist head first into the prison gate (ouch!) The guards return to find Too-Sweet with both orange (and 'Cherry') intact. Serengetti' doesn't like this, and has 'Thud' returned to his dungeon (for more 'Snap, Crack And popshots') and orders Too-sweet to be tortured with electrodes. It transpires (in flashbacks) that Midnight Thud has also had 'shock therapy' treatment.

(Not the first time Roscoe had 'Sweet Nut' all over his back)

Alone, battered, bruised (and in serious need of some hair-activator) Too-sweet is a shadow of his former self. With only the dungeon rats for company. Roscoe, drops on by the dungeon, bringing food and news of the upcoming boxing contest. And amazingly enough, Roscoe wants the 'Sweet-One' to train him(don't ask?) The warden agrees but insists that any training be done in the dungeon (away from the prying camera of Serengetti) Sadly, the training involves little more than a squatting Two sweet ordering Roscoe to run up and down the smoke filled dungeon (with the occasional sit-up thrown in for diverse measure)

(I think I prefer Serengetti's girlfriend?)

The tournament starts (hell there's even female boxers) and (amazingly, given his shite training montage) Roscoe is doing well and to show his gratitude to his mentor, he not only fights under the name of 'SWEET-NUT' (insert crude gag here)....But he also sets up Too-Sweet with a female boxer (see above) And whilst the 'Sweet One' is 'knocking the boots' in the locker-room, Roscoe faces one of Serengetti's toughest fighters, named 'See-Veer' (played by none other than Danny-Fucking-Trejo!) But See-Veer has been given the same 'drug' that landed Too-Sweet in the joint in the first place.

(Roscoe vs Trejo)

Roscoe gets the initial upper hand, but See-Veer (and his super-drug) are too powerful, resulting in 'Sweet-Nut' in a state of 'Uber-Fubar' Forcing (a once reluctant) Too-sweet to throw his hat into the tournament, and threatening to go (quote) "No Holds Barred" with any of Serengetti's men...including his number one henchman (and Hulk Hogan wannabe) Hugo. The Warden agrees to the fight to go ahead, and Too-Sweet returns to the dungeon to prepare for his upcoming battle Royal.

("Showin' how funky and strong is your fight...It doesn't matter who's wrong or right")

More lame training montages continue....That is, until the biggest fucking turnaround (in a movie already full of epic turnarounds).....Midnight Thud becomes a good guy (having given up the institutionalised male rape and murder) and begs Too-Sweet to help him train. Midnight Thud (who's real name is revealed to be Jessop) trains Too-Sweet in the spiritual side of fighting (oh, and also the crazy merits of slamming dungeon doors on your pupils arms?)

("Could I just leave you this Jehovah Witness pamphlet...Argghh!")

Serengetti tries to offer Hugo a vial of the case Too-Sweet gets the upper hand. But hugo (replete with gold lamé robe) refuses. Ten floors below the prison, the warden is giving Too-Sweet a last minute pep-talk about winning, and taking Serengetti to the cleaners (thus reclaiming power of the prison) Whilst at the same time offering Two-Sweet use of Roscoe's robe (on the provision that it'll bring him luck) Given that Roscoe is still hospitalised and on a's hardly a 'Lucky Charm' it?

("Check out my new iphone")

Cut to the big fight and after a brief posing contest between Hugo and Jessop (don't ask?) The camera pans to Too-Sweet, decked out in a black codpiece and lightweight gloves (think Bruce Lee at the beginning of Enter The Dragon) . And the 'Bruce-Lee-isms' don't end there folks, because Ol' Too Sweet starts adopting some Game Of Death style fighting tactics towards his bigger opponent. Given that Leon Issac Kennedy rarely convinced as a genuine boxer...he makes a even less convincing martial artist...But the sudden lapse into kung-foolery (probably at the insistence of Cannon) only makes it funnier!

(Oh dear!)

During this lengthy fight, the emphasis switches from Boxing to martial arts to wrestling (replete with jessop and his non-stop audible rants of "Oak Tree" and "Inner Man" (not the best phrase for a former gay rapist to utter) But given his Jamaican patois, it sounds like "Enema" anyhow?

(Bruce Leeroy)

Too Sweet continues with the Bruce Lee mannerisms (hands on knees, the nose wipe, the fighting yelps) Whilst Hugo finds his inner Hulk Hogan, and starts throwing our hero around in wrestling moves. But just as it appears to settle into generic 'Punchfight' mode, Fanaka throws in one final scene of utter fucking madness. Hugo throws Two-Sweet flying across the room in slo-mo. Bouncing off a wall, Too-Sweet leaves a blood-stained pattern of the 'Crucifix' (replete with Biblical organ music) not only allowing Too-Sweet the spiritual strength to continue, but also the physical strength required to kick several shades of shite out of Hugo. This long confirms what many exploitation fans had secvretly guessed since the early eighties...Penitentiary is a metaphor for the Bible (sort of?)

(The Biblical denouement)

With the fight over, Too-Sweet races to Serengetti's plush cell (it seems that man-bitch Cleo has long gone) and our Hero slaps the tyrant around a little, before proclaiming that Serengetti is not worth it (weird, because Serengetti masterminded everything bad that happened to Too-Sweet throughout the movie?)

("I'm not gay...but my boyfriend is!")

The warden (who has now reclaimed power from Serengetti, due to a hefty wager on the fight) is pleased as punch with our hero, and (whilst leading him back to his dungeon, nonetheless) fills Too-Sweet in on some last minute (let's-tie-the-whole-plot-up) bullshit information, including:

1) Two-Sweet can return back upstairs in the Penitentiary
2) Roscoe is on the mend
3) He's kept some money aside for a good lawyer for Too-Sweet
4) He promises to "Never misappropriate prison funding again" (Surely illegal?)
5) A cure for AIDS (ok, I made that last one up...but it would have rounded things off nicely?)

Two-Sweet prefers the peace of the dungeon, so the warden walks away (probably uninterested) with a shit eating grin on his chubby face (When quite frankly, 'Gambling with State prison funds' makes the warden the biggest criminal in the movie.)

And just when you think the goodtimes have ended, the movie ends on a bitchin' late 80's synth soul ballad, entitled 'Doing Time' and sung (if that's the correct term?) by Bruce Fisher. It's a haunting ballad (that combines the complexities of both Johnny Cash's Folsom Prison Blues and Ice-T's The Tower sang with all the intensity of Philip Michael Thomas )

I've lovingly sat down and deciphered all the haunting lyrics, and typed them up, for your musical pleasure.

Lost a woman...And a family
Gave me a number...took my i-i-i-dentity

I might as well be living on Mars

Locked behind these bars.

I'm......Doing time

I'm......Doing time

Lost my free-e-dom....and my dignity

To the outside world...I'm just a memory

I might as well be living on Mars
Than behind these bars.

Oooohhh...I'm......Doing time

I-i-i-i-i'm......Doing time

(Sax solo)

I might as well be living on Mars

Than behind these bars...Behind these bars.

Doing time

Doing time

When I was out there on on the street
I thought I was having fun
Now I won't breathe the free air
Until the year two-thousand-one
And if you see my mother, ask her will she pray for me

Cause' they're trying to steal my soul in this Penitentiary

I'm......Doing tiiiiiiiiiime Ooooh, oooh
Iiiiiii'm...yes I'm doing time

(Nothing wrong with 'putting an old friend up' for the night)

Penitentiary III is a must for bad-movie lovers. What should have been a generic 'Cannon' action pic, becomes one of their most obscure and interesting 'risk' movies since Barfly or Tough Guys Don't Dance (and I say that in all seriousness) And it's not to say that Penitentiary III isn't chock full of clichés....It's the almost surreal and rapid fire way they're all trotted out, that sets it apart from other 'action' movies. Don't believe me?....check out the scene where Midnight Thud exhales crack fumes to a nearby rat. I haven't seen anything THAT twisted since the Frog sequence from The Nightcomers (1972)

Jamaa Fanaka still can't tell a coherent story (nor direct traffic in Lapland) but that sort of works in the favour of the trilogy. Regardless of your favourite in the series, they all retain that twisted (almost perverse) lack of logic, that never really altered from the original in 79 to this one in 87. Whilst other movie franchises (big or small) moved on with the times, the Penitentiary saga stuck to it's surreal outlook throughout. If it aint broke......

Leon Issac Kennedy has always been a likeable presence in everything he's put his name to. It's a shame he got out of acting, and became a minister, but i guess our loss, is Gods gain. As it is, he's left a pretty good legacy a movies in his brief career. I don't know if he'd be willing to come back for one more round as Martel Cordone (hey, if Stallone can do it......why not Kennedy?) And Fanakka is still 'above ground' (so to speak) So here's to hoping?

Before I get too maudlin (and start crying) let me finish this (already, overextended) review, by whole-heartedly recommending Penitentiary III (and the other two) as three of the finest examples of low-budget, off-beat, crazy, beer-and-buddies movies ever created. It's just a shame I had to convert my old VHS version over to DVD+R to get the required screenshots for my review. This badboy has yet to have a DVD release. All of the Penitentiary movies should be available on hi-def 26 disc Blu-Ray/DVD combi packs (as of yesterday)

Highly Recommended

Monday, 2 January 2012

THE FOREIGNER (2003) Steven Seagal

First off....................Happy new year readers.

After a lengthy break (of which there's been little 'modeling work' to fall back on) the endless (nay, tireless) reviews from the likes of our chums at Direct To Video Connoisseur and Comeuppance Reviews have spurred me (off the cider, and) back to reviewing duff movies. What better a title to choose, than the movie which led Sensei Seagals lamentable descent into DTV lunacy...The Foreigner.

(No, that's NOT Prince Harry)

Big Steve plays Jonathan Cold, a mysterious gun-for-hire (with a 'military' past tm) who is hired to transport a mysterious package from France to Germany (with no questions asked) by a shady Billionaire named Alexander Marquee (under the orders of sinister industrialist Jerome Van Aken) The mysterious package however is also wanted by other various 'bad-guy' types, who'll stop at nothing to retrieve it from Cold. And with that, the chase is on....

(Nor is THAT peter Gabriel)

On the road with the package, Cold is teamed up Dunoir (Max Ryan) and so begins a love-hate (although usually 'hate') sense of trust between the two assassins. This would make for interesting viewing as a game of cat-and-mouse between two highly skilled rivals...But as usual Dunoir hasn't got a snowballs chance in hell, of landing a punch on Cold's chin. So it basically becomes a case of 'double/quadruple cross' pretty much throughout the picture, as Cold leaves not only Dunoir, the rivals...And us (the audience) baffled about the whereabouts (or relevance) of the mysterious package? And for the 'hero' of the movie, Cold certainly lives up his name, by letting a whole lot of innocent people get wasted to save his own hide (Swapping his car and jacket to some luckless tourist, not to mention the many innocents blown up at a train station)


And sadly the confusion doesn't stop there, because even the 'linkage' scenes are rather jumbled also. Which wouldn't be a bad thing, as you'd expect Spy Thrillers are meant to have red-herrings and a haphazard sense of logic...but these lapses are usually resolved, come the end credits. Regrettably, The Foreigner makes little sense throughout, and not content with one confusing story, it throws up another four or five pointless and unexplained sub-plots (none of which receive 'closure')

(The Foreigner III: Grave danger....geddit?)

First off, it's established that Cold is ex-KGB (?) But that his brother is active C.I.A, whilst their recently deceased father was a 'American Ambassador to Poland' (divided-family-loyalties indeed?) all of these sub-plots add up to nothing, come the end of the movie.

Then there's the 'Package'....Which turns out (upon inspection by Cold) to be the 'Black-Box' recording equipment from a passenger plane that was blown up by a missile. But it's never really explained why such secrecy or security of the box is warranted (nor needed) as it's common knowledge to all and sundry, that the plane was bombed. And why not intercept the package from the (relatively harmless) people that Cold and Dunoir pick it up from?


And finally, Cold teaming up with a Merideth, (ex-wife of Van Aken) who is apparently threatening to break the story of the black box (wish she'd break it to the scriptwriter) as means of gaining custody of her daughter? Talk about a messy divorce.

("yeah, sure I'll look away")

Maybe none of this would matter a wet fucking fart, if the movie had at least some kick-ass Seagal action. Alas it seems, in 2003 Big Steve was trying to distance himself from out and out action fare, and the movie has about 2 (yes, TWO) fight scenes. Neither of them are up to scratch on previous (and subsequent) offerings, but at least we get a pumping 'techno' soundtrack during such limited pugilism. Which is a shame, because Director Michael Oblowitz throws in some great camera-work and opticals...Just a shame they serve only to 'sprinkle stardust on a turd'

(Being handcuffed to a parkour performer had it's flaws)

Not that I didn't enjoy it (hey, it's still Seagal after-all) but the average moviegoer (expecting another Under Siege) will feel either baffled, bored or short-changed (possibly all three?) But it did seem to kickstart the trend in 'euro-set' Seagal flicks with overly complex storylines, that serve only to fill out either a under-written script or actual lack of Seagal presence/interest. Seagal would (and still does) continue to throw in the 'Ex-CIA-Covert-Agent' persona into most of his characters, but to usually more enjoyable effect. However this time, when placed in such a lumbering story frame, it becomes a case of "All talk-No walk"....which sadly sums up The Foreigner much better than my (similar) lumbering, ill-thought out review. At worst, it's a dull and cryptic spy movie that makes little sense. At best, it looks great and is light years ahead of tosh like True Justice. So really it depends on your Seagal-Tolerance levels?

Franchise Pictures had this green-lit for a cinema release, but the lack of fights, confusing plot and luke warm box-office of Half Past Dead, let to the path of STV that would see Seagal make no less than 23 movies in the following 9 years (yet is still accused of being a lazy actor?) Seagal teamed up with Oblowitz for (the equally baffling, but fight-friendly) Out For A kill the same year, with slightly better results. What's worse is, Seagal felt the character of Jonathan Cold interesting enough, to warrant a sequel of sorts (called Black Dawn) in 2005

Classic Dialogue:

Cold (to Dunoir) "If you touch it again, I will blow your 2-inch dick off"

(Whoever smelt it...dealt it)