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Let's face it; You either like Steven Seagal or you don't. His movies
aren't masterpieces, they're all predictable and pretty similar and old
Steve is always...well, just plain old Steve. His older films, starting
with Above the Law in 1988 and concluding with (I think) Exit Wounds
were however all filled with great production values and a certain kind
of ambition to give action fans what they want. From that point on, his
films (all going directly to TV) have lessened their standards somewhat
and old Steve is all but forgotten. I happen to be a huge fan of
Seagal's early work, particularly this film, along with Out for Justice
and his Under Siege flicks.
Here, Seagal is ready for retirement when he accidentally pisses off some Jamaican druglords who have in turn marked him and his family for death. Seagal naturally gets mad and what's more important; He gets even.
I love these no-nonsense action flicks that delivers what you most crave for; ACTION and plenty of it. Director Dwight H. Little (Halloween 4, Rapid Fire) handles the proceedings well and actually gives the film some stylistic flair as well. In most parts, the script is well written and it gives Seagal some great one-liners.
Seagal, as always, is reliable and delivers the same performance as usual. His roles don't require much range, but in the action department he kicks ass. Keith David, a regular supporting actor, gives a good performance and overall the cast do a good job.
Unfortunately Seagal's days of high class movies are gone and will probably never come back. But his body of work in the twentieth century will satisfy me, it's the twenty first century Seagal I'll mostly skip through.
First off, Seagal rules. I don't care what anyone says. He is the
greatest American action star (well in his early films at least) and
marked for death portrays him at his brutal bone snapping best.
This is one of the fastest films i have ever watched, not only is it never boring but it is constantly entertaining. Seagal slays lots of hapless goons right from the off and manages to act well in the non action scenes. But thats what its about ACTION. No it never won any awards, of course not its an ACTION film. Screw kill bill no one serves up a bit of revenge like Seagal.
You know the plot.........find it elsewhere thats not important he and his family are MARKED FOR DEATH. Of course Seagal cannot have this so he goes and kills a lot of people. Not original but who actually cares? The Jamaican view provides interest,and there's a good twist near the end. The ending itself is excellent, ending much more openly than the average action fest.
Seagal is on top form as always, Keith David is good as his friend, Basil Wallace justly insane as Screwface and Tom Wright is likable as the Jamaican sidekick. Overall more should see this film, but the American version mind, UK one is heavily cut.
Warning: this film is full of extreme violence. If you do not enjoy peoples arms and backs being broken, eyes being gouged out, hands chopped off, people being shot left right and centre the you will not enjoy this film. And thats just what I'm looking for!
In 'Marked for Death,' Seagal is simply a retired undercover
troubleshooter for the DEA who moves back to his home town ignoring
that Jamaican drug pushers known as posses are invading his old
neighborhood... He sees his little niece hit after a shootout, and
later his sister almost sacrificed in a voodoo ceremony...
Torture and maiming are posse trademarks and posse gunmen are said to prefer shooting their victims in public... Seagal never gives up and never loses his temper... He lets his actions speak for him... He perfectly knows that he has to strike the root in order to stop the evil-doers... He has to destroy their system, and kill their supreme leader... Otherwise they will never stop until he and his family are dead...
Seagal is steely eyed and calm yet quick on the trigger, skillful with the use of sword, and no superior force can dash his style... However, it is not just his talent as a martial-arts champ that has attracted his growing legion of fans but his enigmatic charisma...
Of Stevens Seagal's movies, this is clearly one of the better. It's from 1990, and that was around his prime time as a action star. ("Under Siege" came two years later). There are a couple of really cool fights in this movie where Seagal handles lots of bad guys without any effort at all. The last part of the movie, where he's invading the Jamaica-man bad guy's base is especially entertaining. In this movie, he has one of the best comments of all his films:"One thought he was immortal, and the other one thought he could fly. Both were wrong". Watch the movie to find out what I'm talking about. You won't regret it if you like easy action.
This movie is really dumb but it's full of belly laughs. The silliest
part is the fact that Seagal has a black sidekick, played by David
Keith, which I guess was implemented to make the movie seem more
politically correct since our hero mangles or kills countless
Jamaicans. Later in the film the duo enlists the help of a Jamaican cop
who's supposedly obsessed with nailing Screwface-the film's antagonist
who is the ruthless leader of a drug dealing posse around which the
plot is set. The action is silly and the fight scenes are funny. In
this movie Seagal manages not only to shoot, but also to decapitate, to
impale, to gouge the eyes of, to sever a hand of, and to break an arm
and a leg of several different bad guys. I know that this sounds
gruesome, but the villains always seem to be asking for it so you'll
end up cheering or laughing.
Like all low-budget action flicks, this movie is plagued by some serious continuity errors. My favorite such error is in the car chase with the Ram Charger and the BMW that supposedly takes place in Chicago but was filmed in Los Angeles. To be exact, the scene where the BMW jumps on the sidewalk was filmed on the Chapman Plaza which is located on 6th Street between Alexandria and Kenmore, just North of the Equitable building. I lived in that area from 1990 to 1995 and recognized the site right away. What really gives it away though is the clearly evident tall palm trees that are all over Korea Town. I don't know, maybe it started snowing in Chicago or something and the producers did their best to avoid an in-your-face continuity error.
This movie is great if you like old-school 80's action (don't get me wrong, but 1990 is still the last year of the 80's decade). It thrills, it excites, and it will definitely make you want to sign up for martial arts lessons or go beat up your younger brother, despite your age. If you're looking for drama then watch the soaps, but if you want the best of Steven Seagal, then go rent this film.
This is one tough movie that shows star Steven Seagal at his arrogant,strutting,confident and brutal best.The movie itself follows the example set by its leading man.The story of Seagal's battle against the patois spouting Jamaican bad guys led by the sinister Screwface is compellingly told with many "in your face" action sequences littered throughout,not the least of which are several bone crunchingly covincing Aikido fights which are tougher and more prolonged than is usual with Seagal.When I first saw Seagal onscreen in "ABOVE THE LAW" I remember commenting that I thought he was the most charismatic individual to hit the screen in many years.His piling on of the pounds in recent years plus his somewhat inflated and frankly ludicrous self image have diminished his presence and box office impact recently but he remains compelling to watch and one hopes that he still has one or two more action-filled surprises up his sleeve in the future before he(perhaps inevitably)goes the route of Chuck Norris...."WALKER,BUDDHIST DEITY" anyone?
I cannot believe this film got such bad ratings as it is one of my favourite action flicks of all time. Marked for Death has Steven Seagal playing John Hatcher a cop whose out for revenge against a gang of Jamaican drug dealers. The film has some terrific action sequences and set pieces, example being the shopping centre fight which really showcases Seagal's talents. This has excellent pacing as well as good location shoots. The score for Marked for Death is amazing, suiting the film so well, giving it the right sinister kind of atmosphere. The voodoo elements were cool, Screwface has to be one of the best villains and the twist at the end is unexpected. The violence in the uncut version is some of the most brutally realistic you can find in a mainstream action flick, with Seagal snapping bones as if they were twigs. Be warned though, like most of Seagal's films, in the U.K Marked for Death was cut badly by the censors so nearly all of the bone breaking violence is now gone, leaving just a standard badly edited action film. If you want to see the real power of Marked for Death then you would be advised get your hands on the uncut versions somehow. The only minor flaw with this film is that the beginning in Mexico is a little ropey, but apart from that the only Seagal flick that Warner bros didn't make but Fox did, deserves a place next to Under Seige 2 as being one of my favourite Steven Seagal films.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Marked for Death starts as undercover DEA agent John Hatcher (producer
Steven Seagal) decides he has had enough of his job after his partner
Chico (Richard Delmonte) is murdered in a botched up drugs bust.
Hatcher retires & heads to the town of Lincoln heights in Chicago where
he grew up & where is sister Kate (Bette Ford) & his niece Tracey
(Danielle Harris) live. Hatcher also meets up with his old friend Max
(Keith David), there is a big drug war taking place in Lincoln Heights
as Columbian drug lord Tito Barco (Al Isreal) & Jamaican drug lord
Screwface (Basil Wallace) fight for control. While in a pub a shoot-out
between the Columbians & Jamaicans takes place & Hatcher steps in, he
instantly becomes a target of the Jamaican dealers & not only do they
make the mistake of shooting Hatcher's favourite bar up but they target
his family & shoot his niece which makes Hatcher very, very angry...
Originally shot under the title Screwface this early Steven Seagal action flick was directed by Dwight H. Little & comes from a time when Seagal films were actually entertaining. The script by co-producers Michael Grais & Mark Victor certainly won't win any prizes for originality, some ex cop/secret service agent/military soldier has to come out of retirement to avenge a family member/friend/injustice by killing everyone in sight. It's a fairly standard Hollywood action film plot which doesn't hold many surprises although the twist ending was quite unexpected even if the makers wasted the opportunity to do something truly different in favour of having it as another excuse for Seagal to kill people. The usual inappropriate message that violence needs to be fought with even more violence is present & although you know it's wrong you can't help but enjoy it in a satisfyingly macho sort of way as Seagal, the supposed hero, kills all the bad guy's in a variety of violent ways. The violence is extreme, some of the dialogue is unintentionally hilarious like when Hatcher confronts a bad guy he eloquently & poetically notes 'I know your a scumbag & a puke, I don't mind that. You give me what I need & I leave here a nice guy. You don't, I'm gonna f*ck you up' & the cheese factor is entertainingly high. It passes 90 odd minutes with the minimum of pain & overall this is a good fast paced gratuitously violent foul mouthed action flick that even has a bit of Voodoo as well, would we have them any other way? Of course not.
Director Little does a good job, some of the fights are very brutal which were a trademark of Seagal's films back in the 90's. There are some seriously painful looking injuries from broken arms, necks & backs, people beaten with mallets, knifes stuck through throats, shootings, table leg beatings, decapitations, eye gouging, hand severing, naked woman shooting, samurai sword fighting to head smashing fun. The fights & action scenes are well choreographed & there's even a decent car chase too which ends as a car crashes into a jewellery store although where the police are at this point I have no idea. Also, how does Seagal manage to smuggle all those weapons & ammunition into Jamaica? The montage showing Seagal making & testing the weapons was before the shot of the air-plane taking off from Chicago & landing in Jamaica so presumably took place in America, right? Security wasn't so tight back then but it wasn't that bad surely? Besides being very violent Marked for Death also has some fairly graphic gore in it including decapitations, an eye gouging & someone having their hand cut off.
Technically the film is fine, it isn't going to win any awards for style but it's well made having been shot on location in Chicago & in Jamaica. Marked for Death was Seagal's third film coming after Above the Law (1988) & Hard to Kill (1990) & before his 'masterpiece' Out for Justice (1991), back then he wasn't as fat as these days & he actually looks impressive as he kicks the crap out of everyone in some well stage & excessively violent fights. Unfortuneatly Seagal can't act, either now or back in 1990 when this was made & I still think the pony tail looks gay. The rest of the cast are OK with Wallace as Screwface putting in a surprisingly effective over-the-top performance.
Marked for Death is a throughly entertaining overblown unnecessarily violent & foul mouthed action film, the sort of film which Seagal was perfectly suited to star in. Sure it's predictable & unoriginal but when a films this much fun who cares? A must for Seagal & 90's action flick fans.
Okay, that may not sound much, but after seeing Segal's recent outings
I can look back at films like this with a certain nostalgia. This was
made back in the day when Segal was in shape, did his own fight scenes
and the film makers in question didn't have to resort to using lame CGI
and camera tricks during action scenes. It has an edge that is just
lost in these hideous later outings (the kind where an overweight, 54
year old man jumps from a moving train with 2 pistols and wipes out a
squad of heavily armed thugs).
This time Segal is under the guise of DEA agent John Hatcher. He "retires" from the job shortly after loosing one of his colleagues in a deal gone wrong. Hatcher goes to visit his sister and niece to try and 'find his old self', whilst visiting he also encounters an old friend and military partner Max(Keith David). Hatcher and Max soon run into a bunch of ruthless Jamaican drug dealers who have moved in on the area, and their voodoo practising leader SCREWFACE...
Que violence galore!!
Expect bone breaking violence from this film, as Hatcher and Co. shoot, beat and tackle their way through the posse in order to save Hatcher and his family's lives-who have been "marked for death" by the gang. I would say this is one of Segal's most violent movies, and that is saying something.
You can split Segal films into 2 categories, the early stuff (Hard To
Kill, Nico) and the later stuff (Fire Down Below, Today You Die). The
latter group doesn't usually even get to the cinema but the former has
some real action gems. Marked for death is one of them.
This film has loads of martial arts, Yardies, drugs, black magic, Drive by shootings, people dressed like Aswad, and the big black guy from platoon who escapes from the shootout at the end by getting rotated back to America. One of the things that ruins Segal films is having too much shooting and not enough fighting, But the action is pitched just right here, with still enough shooting thrown in to spice it up. The guys playing the Yardies are fantastic and the dialogue is second to none, in fact for those IDM fans out there Luke Vibert sampled some in 'screwface'. Other than Segal and the platoon guy the only person I recognised was Danny Trejo, Hollywoods default Mexican criminal. This is an action classic folks, watch it or Screwface will give you a thousand deaths worse than mine.
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