Saturday, 12 February 2011

BORN TO RAISE HELL (2010) Steven Seagal

Wow.....two Seagal reviews in one day (I must be on PCP!)

BORN TO RAISE HELL crept into the UK on december 27th 2010. Whilst hardly a fitting 'step forward' after MACHETE got the 'Stout Sensei' back on the big screen, it has a few points of interest, to satisfy the die-hards.

Seagal plays special tactical squad leader 'Bobby' (surnames not needed)who heads up an 'International Drug Task Force', that (for budgetary reasons is currently located in Bulgaria) The film opens with getting the drop on some arms dealers, leading to a brutal shoot out in a bar. For the many faults I'm about to point out about this movie, let me take this opportunity to point out that Seagal is badass as fuck in this one (sample dialogue "This shotgun is my warrant bitch")
The titles roll and we are treat to images of money counting machines, lap dancers and all the other 'pleasantries' associated with the middle east.

We are treat to a voice-over (that's supposed to be Seagal...but clearly isn't) who informs us (rather modestly) that the squad is headed only by the "top narcotic cops" (i.e, him...because he's there to replace a friend who was killed on duty) Bobby swears to find the killers. And about 5 minutes into things, we also get the 'nagging girlfriend on the phone' scenario (of course she's almost 40 years younger) and after calming her down, Bobby hangs up and remarks "Believe 'Dat Shit" (as we've all done)

We are then treat to a pleasant scene involving a 'home invasion' by a gang of Russian criminals, lead by the sadistic Costel (played by Darren Sahlavi) whose M.O. is to break in, kill the husbands and rape the wives. More 'Avid Fart' nonsense ensues, leading to Bobby and his task force getting he drop on some other criminal/dealer types. For a lesser sentence, one of the detained crooks (Bruce) agrees to go undercover and rat out even bigger criminals, like the old mob boss Dimitri, who plays chess in the park or the 'home-invasion rapist' Costel, who turns out to be another powerful kingpin (guess the break ins, murder and rapes, just ease the tension somewhat?)

(Voltage Pictures were accused of 'Subliminal-Advertising' in their movies)

Bruce is wired up, and attempts to frame Dimitri, whilst Bobby and Steve listen in, parked in a nearby van. They are soon made by Dimitri's bodyguards and Bobby gets out, knocking several shades of shite out of one and all.

(Flipping hell)

Meanwhile the Dimitri leads a family life in his huge mansion (replete with drug laboratory and workers in the basement) Seagal pulls over Dimitri and arrests him. Later that evening, Bobby attempts to have a quiet meal with his girlfriend...but oh no, more wrists, arms and legs to be broken. Upon beating three of Dimitri's guys senseless, Bobby remarks to his wife "See why i hate eating out"

(This Bruce isn't 'Boss')

Dimitri gets bailed, Bruce is shot in the head for his treachery, and Bobby indulges in (another Seagal trademark) 'The Clothed Lovemaking Scene With The Younger Girl'

("I said full fat milk!")

We cut to Dimitri and having a major fallout with Costel...leading to more 'avid fart' shots of topless dancers, sped up angles and European looking cars. Costel decides to do his whole 'house call' act on Dimitri's family, resulting in his wife being murdered, and a war between the two crime lords well and truly up and running.

Costel attempts to flee the scene, but is confronted by Bobby and Steve, resulting in a chase, a shootout, leading to Steve's death. With two friends dead in the line of duty, Bobby swears revenge, and even teams up with Dimitri to bring Costel to justice.

("How dare you have the same colour jacket as I?")

If my review seems a little disjointed, it's only because the plot to this one is all over the place. Despite the fact, that this is a by-the-numbers Seagal effort (nowhere near as good as A DANGEROUS MAN, URBAN JUSTICE or DRIVEN TO KILL) it does have a few interesting points, though. The plot (however slim) has parallels to early 70's Italian 'Polizia' movies (in that it shows the Law teaming up with the lesser evils to bring down the greater ones) and the actor playing Dimitri is quite good, and Darren Sahlavi is a name to watch out for (shame his rumble with Seagal was so one-sided)

Seagal adds real police procedures to the 'raid' and 'arrest' sequences (probably picked up from his stint as a real life deputy) A mixed bag for sure, but not without interest....but a step back from A DANGEROUS MAN. The one good thing about a less than memorable Seagal movie, is in about 6 months time, you'll barely remember a thing about it (thus, it'll be like watching a new movie again) and chances are,you'll either see something you didn't notice before, or it'll just plain grow on you. Either way, it's far from the turkey it could have been, but could have been so much better better (especially since Seagal wrote the script) I suppose it's A DANGEROUS MAN's fault, for being so good

("Oops...My bad")

Classic Dialogue:

"Midgets are a little should never be" (Remarks Dimitri to Costel, during a light pay-off)

"Trust is not one of my more spectacular attributes" (Bobby modestly informs Bruce)

"Only a brilliant Strategist, cold have beaten me in one move" (says Dimitri to Bobby, after only one exchange in chess)


  1. Looks like classic Seagal ridiculousness! The U.S. release comes out in April.

  2. TY
    It does contain a lot of self congratulatory dialogue and weird stuff (as can be expected with his Romanian must be something n the water) and has a fair share of WTF moments throughout. But it lacks the quality of some of his more recent stuff (and the incoherence is ripe)

    I don't know whether you collect SEAGAL movies, but if so, do yourself a favour, and wait til it hits the bargain bins (probably mid april?)

  3. There is always a guy saying Seagal's character is "The Best". That must be in every Seagal movie!

    I used to collect Seagal movies, now i just rent them from netflix or the library (Still can't believe our library had Today You Die, Out For A Kill, and Out Of Reach)!

  4. It's weird that the UK seems to be getting more of his recent stuff before the US? Used to be the other way round, years ago, when i had to order everything R1 to see it early (and uncut)

    Steven Seagal is still a big draw in the UK (there's a one hour special over here on tv, tomorrow night, in which 'Comedian' Justin Lee Collins spends a week with the stout one....which promises to be flat-out car crash tv)
    I have my own market stall (in which i sell dvds) and week in, week out, the amount of Seagal films i sell, outweighs all the other genres/actors discs i sell. And a lot of my customers are women, who all seem to have the hots for him...even now(?)

  5. That one hour special has to be amazing! Can't believe women are still into him. They are chubby chasers!

  6. Okay, April is the date. I've been getting annoyed waiting for this. Women over here still dig Seagal too, though they're often women who were younger when he was younger, if you know what I mean. But I'd say he probably brings in the most cash as a DTV star in the States, especially when you consider a lot more of his movies end up on cable TV. Some women just dig the ponytail.