Casey Ryback hops on a Colorado to LA train to start a vacation with his niece. Early into the trip, terrorists board the train and use it as a mobile HQ to hijack a top secret destructive US satellite.
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Seal Team Commander Casey Ryback has retired from the Navy since the conclusion of the events in the first movie, and is now a chef at the Mile High Cafe in Denver, Colorado. Ryback is taking his niece Sarah Ryback on vacation, to reconnect and commiserate with her after the death of her parents. They board a train traveling westbound through the Rocky Mountains from Denver to LA. With the help of gun-for-hire Marcus Penn a couple dozen of his mercenaries, ex-CIA brain (and mentally unstable) Travis Dane commandeers the train, takes the passengers and crew hostage, and sets up a mobile control center. He hacks into the CIA database and gains control of a Top-Secret defence satellite he designed during his Agency days that has just been deployed. Funded by various foreign interests, he stands to make 1 billion dollars for using the space weapon to blow up the Eastern seaboard by targeting a nuclear reactor housed beneath the Pentagon. Dane taunts the Joint Chiefs in the Pentagon ... Written by
First a confession - In a dark little corner of my life which some people incidentally think is all of it, I've got time for the work of Steven Segal. You can scoff but some of the most outright disturbingly entertaining movies of the last ten years read like a roll call of his hits. Hard to Kill, Nico, Under Siege, its sequel of which more in a moment, Half Past Dead, Out for a Kill - the man is a cine-alchemist, turning poor, workman like material into solid gold. This is primarily for two reasons. 1)You must be some kind of crazy genius to forge a career with virtually no personality and 2)He is prepared to go further than most stars in the vanity project stakes, in fact next to Segal people like Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and John Travolta look positively reserved and self-conscious. Under Siege 2 has both of these factors at full strength and in some respects this makes 'Dark Territory' (the sub-title is no understatement) the quintessential Segal Experience. He's been everything from a cop to a University professor (no, seriously) but here the great man reprises his role as Casey Rybeck, an ex-Navy Seal, special ops whathaveyou who jacked it in to pursue a career as a navy chef. In the original Siege and I use the word original purely in the context of first film, Segal saved his ship from terrorists when they threatened to ruin his Japanese rice cakes. In the second version, sorry Installment, Segal is taking his niece, who's very good looking indeed on a Colorado rail journey when its taken over by mercenaries lead by an insane computer genius who plans to destroy Washington using a laser in space. Believe it or not this is almost a Ken Loach set-up in comparison to some of Segal's movies but if you were trying to make the most generic action movie imaginable you'd have a hard time beating this movie. In lesser hands we'd be as dead as one of Rybeck's Poterhouse steaks but Segal the alchemist comes to the rescue and delivers 90 minutes of solid ego-mania and it's a joy to watch. Segal followers will know that when the villains find out who he is and his mêlée of specialist combat tactics (Kick boxing, bomb making, weapons expertise, three Michelin stars) they usually start to panic, all except one head villain, usually no.2 to the main villain (see F.Lee Emery and Michael Caine in On Deadly Ground) who is ill-advisedly confident that he can take our hero in the final reel which of course he doesn't. These scenes show us and reassure Segal that he's one total badass, a man to feared and respected and in case you missed the point Segal's side kick (in this case doubling as black, street talking' comic relief) is there to write it on the blackboard for all the slow kids at the back. Siege has many of these moments in which both Segal's niece and sidekick say things like "I guess he's a hero" and in one terrific moment the aforementioned hired help is told by Segal "oh, you're a hero now?" only to be told "No, man you're the hero!". Willis might have cut in with a quip at this stage but the man with the tan doesn't do jokes or indeed anything except fight and deliver lines in his trademark monotone. Segal's so gloriously vain that he can't even allow himself to be dirtied up over the course of the movie. In Die Hard Willis got beaten, blooded up and shot but not so much as a strand of Segal's hair goes out of place the entire time, the dark jacket remaining in place throughout. This is despite such potential soiling incidents as explosions, armed combat, cliff face hand to hand fighting and leaping out of moving trucks. My favourite scene is the one where the lead heavy thumps Segal in the face during their climatic fight and although he's a bit blooded in that shot by the time he's got up there's barely a scratch on him. What chance does any terrorist stand against that? All that's missing from Dark Territory is a speech of the kind of quality witnessed in the dieing minutes of the aforementioned On Deadly Ground in which the then eco-friendly action hero delivered the monologue that every Greenpeace activist dreams about. So there you have it, if you want to see a one man force of nature at work rent this one out tonight but remember, this isn't even his best - for that you'll be wanting 'Out for a Kill' and only a idiot would refuse an invitation like that.
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