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Félix Enríquez Alcalá
Mason Storm, a 'do it alone' cop, is gunned down at home. The intruders kill his wife, and think they've killed both Mason and his son too. Mason is secretly taken to a hospital where he spends several years in a coma. His son meanwhile is growing up thinking his father is dead. When Mason wakes up, everyone is in danger - himself, his son, his best friend, his nurse - but most of all those who arranged for his death Written by
It's mildly entertaining, but one of Seagal's best. (* * * out of * * * *)
A thought came up to me as I was watching Hard to Kill (1990). After I watched the film, I was reminded of the Kill Bill movies, and I wondered if Hard to Kill's plot inspired Quentin Tarantino to make the series. It looks so. Both Hard to Kill, and the two Kill Bill movies are all revenge pictures, but with two very different characters. Both characters are shot dead and put into a coma, and both wake up several years later to exact revenge on their enemies. And while I prefer the bloody entertaining Kill Bill movies more, I will say that Hard to Kill is a mildly entertaining action flick.
The film stars Steven Seagal, who plays L.A. cop Mason Storm, who videotapes a mobster being contracted by thugs to kill someone. Storm can't get a clear image of the man who has hired the mobster, but recognizes the voice. But then Storm is caught, and a hit is put on him. More thugs are sent to his home, where they kill him and his wife and kid.
But there's a catch. Storm isn't quite dead, but in a coma, and after seven years, he wakes up in a hospital, where the thugs arrive to finish him off. How they manage to find out that he's alive and well is unknown to me. Storm manages to save himself and a cute nurse, Andy Stewart (Kelly LeBrock), and they decide to take shelter in Andy's cottage, where Storm heals himself by inserting fine needles into his skin, and practices his Aikido.
He soon realizes that a corrupt senator (William Sadler) put the hit on him, and he decides to take him down, along with a crooked cop (Andrew Bloch) who's involved in the scheme.
Seagal is effective here as the cop-turned-crusader, but his character is less convincing, than his Nico Toscani in his earlier feature film, Above the Law (1988). Perhaps, the best fight sequence happens at a liquor store robbery where Seagal takes on four thugs.
There are some strong performances, from the supporting actors. But Kelly LeBrock, who gets second billing, needed more in her role as the nurse, but it is quite obvious that she was placed into the film, because she was Seagal's wife at the time. We don't get to know much about her character, and we almost feel like she has a thankless role here.
William Sadler is hateful in his role as the corrupt senator and Frederick Coffin is convincing as Seagal's ex-partner who holds something dear to Seagal. Something I feel I should not reveal.
Hard to Kill is not up to par with the earlier Above the Law, or Under Siege (1992). Seagal's first two films were good efforts, but then he shifted down to less enjoyable roles in movies, that considered placing large amounts of graphic violence and martial arts combat into his movies, in order for them to become a big hits, like his later film, Marked for Death (1990).
Hard to Kill works as an entertainment (the martial arts sequences are convincing), in spite of its preposterous plotting (hero wakes up in a coma and defeats the bad guys). It's mildly entertaining, but compared to some of his worst efforts, it's one of Seagal's best.
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