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Steven Seagal reprises his role as a one time SEAL team captain, a
counter-terrorist expert who had to rely only on his personal skills in
order to survive, and protect the hostages... He happens to be on the
Grand Continental passenger train traveling from Denver to L.A...
Seagal joins the only family he has, a 'cute kid' named Sarah
(Katherine Heigl) after her parents died in a plane crash...
Seagal has an electrifying screen presence... Seeing him in action is similar to appreciating modern art...
The train is hijacked by a team of 'ugly men' with guns... Their chief, Travis Dane (Eric Bogosian), is a high-tech mastermind, who fakes his own death in order to gain control of a top-secret nuclear satellite... For this crazy technical genius, technology can be used for beauty or debasement, and 'until you plug it in, you just can't tell.'
Dane's henchman Penn (Everett McGill) is a soldier of fortune freak, whose relationship with his boss resurfaced during Desert Storm...
Morris Chestnut's focus is on humor and breath-taking sequences...
Geoff Murphy's film is incredibly entertaining, combining action, martial arts, and dark sense of humor...
Yes, the earthquake beam from space (heck, the whole story line and all
of the villains too) are totally unbelievable. Frankly, if you can find
a "believable" action movie, I have a beach house in Arizona you might
want to buy. Yes, the production values were not the finest.
But -- if you like watching the hero exterminate the bad guys, few do it with the style of Seagal. Like Jet Li (yeah, I am old enough to remember Bruce Lee the original, and Chuck Norris), he is one of the few action heroes who is a real martial arts guy, and he moves so fast and fluidly it is hard for the eye to follow, but fascinating to watch. This is brainless entertainment, full of hilariously cheesy B-movie one-liners you can laugh at ("Assumption is the mother of all f-ups!"), often bad acting, a story line you could describe in one sentence, and zero character development.
There are worse ways to spend 90 minutes. Believability is for films that take themselves seriously. Seagal is more like stand-up comic straight man meets Aikido ace. At least he handles a handgun like someone who has actually fired one.
The best Steven Seagal movie to date. This is the second, and apparently
the last, in the series in which Seagal plays Casey Ryback, an ex-Navy SEAL
Captain, who, as explained in Under Siege, was demoted for punching out a
superior for poor intelligence which got many of his men killed. In Under
Siege 2, his character has been promoted from Chief to Lieutenant, although
we only find that out in the end.
Unlike some of his earlier movies in which Seagal fights for causes, specifically liberal environmental issues, here Seagal is fighting strictly for family and Country. The first scene starts off with Seagal making his appearance in civilian clothes to dramatic music. We learn the grim news that his character's only brother and sister-in-law were killed in a plane crash, leaving his only relative, a niece, still alive. He accompanies the teenager on a train ride from Denver to LA. He has the bad luck, but good for his Country, to be on the train that is attacked by terrorists bent on destroying Washington, D.C., and the US eastern coast for profit only. The maniacal would-be killer of millions is character Travis Dane, recently fired by a Government agency. The terrorist method is a high-tech powerful new weapon orbiting the earth and the train moving through lonely mountains provides the screen, as in "Dark Territory". Seagal seems somewhat lucky to avoid being killed early on, but then becomes a locomotive of destruction for the bad guys. Andy Romano returns as the full admiral, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and provides a continuity from the first Under Siege movie. This is all action showing Seagal as a dedicated and deadly force of protection for the train hostages and the citizens to the east. The action moves, and some of the death blows are right out of the military manual. Watchable over and over and still exciting.
Since 2001 Seagal has been quite happy to let his film career crash and
burn while he sings the blues and does all his strange little things in
his personal life (have you ever tasted his wine or his energy drink?).
But there was a time in the 90s when his name guaranteed you an hour
and a half of broken bones, severed limbs, bad guys in agonizing pain
and a showdown with a head villain who stands no chance against the
awesome hurricane force that is Steven Seagal.
I never really like the first Under Siege. I found it to be too low key and slow and after enjoying such brain-free fare as Marked for Death and Hard to Kill in my youth I had come to expect a tougher movie than the what we were given (though the tyrannical BBFC cut the film to shreds and denied me what I wanted to see). I was dismayed at the lousy 15-rating and not even Erika Eleniak's boobs could cheer me up (she's blonde-not my thing).
Flash forward to July 1995 and the awesome poster for Under Siege 2 started showing up in cinema lobbies. It featured the impassive one clinging to the side of a burning train hurtling through the countryside and featured, quite frankly, the best subtitle of any sequel ever 'Dark Territory'. This time it was rated 18 which meant I could look forward to all the blood and gore that the first Under Siege lacked. Obviously I couldn't see this film in the cinema, being only 15 and all, so I had to wait until the video came out in early 1996. By that point the BBFC (those people from the dark-ages again) had censored every last bit of red stuff to the point where it could be shown on the friggin' Disney Channel if it weren't for the swearing.
I would have to wait until 1999, when I bought the uncut US version on DVD, to see the film in it's entirety. And when I did it was like watching a brand new movie.
Casey Ryback, now the head chef of the Mile High Cafe in Denver, had retired from the Navy but still works for the government doing the odd secret mission here and there. When his brother is killed in a plane crash he takes his niece Sarah (the lurvley Katherine Hiegl) on a trip to LA on the Grand Continental, but that particular train just so happens to be hijacked by crazed computer genius Travis Dane and his band of menacing mercenaries featuring dead-eyed Everett McGill and the sleazy Peter Greene. He has a beef with the government and is only too happy to use his skills to blow the Pentagon off the face of the Earth and collect a nice paycheck from the Saudis.
Luckily for Ryback, he was momentarily absent when the hostages were rounded up as he nipped into the kitchen to bake a cake. He teams up with naive porter Bobby Zachs (Morris Chestnut, bringing life to an otherwise ordinary sidekick role) and begins his skulking, lurking mission through the shadows and voids of the train to pull the brake and free the hostages. Do these nasty people really think that they stand a chance against Ryback's awesome power and apparent invincibility? Sit back and watch them get annihilated with a variety of improvised mêlée weapons and other gruesome tools.
The train is a better setting than the boat. This time instead of a plain black backdrop we've got lots of pretty scenery and the constant forward motion of the loco gives the movie a nice momentum. Basil Poledouris' score soars miles above Gary Chang's bland notes of the first one and it honestly ends up being one of the best scores ever and a perfect example of how action music ought to be. And don't worry about this one being slow as the first. Under Siege 2 is edited so quickly that coherence is almost lost. You have to pay quick attention and perhaps watch the film a few times just to catch everything.
The comic-book nature of the plot, the cliffhanger feel of the ever-escalating mayhem and cartoonish villains might normally result in a campy movie but Under Siege 2 is as hardcore and sadistic and mean-spirited as the come. That's probably the reason the BBFC chose to cut it, claiming that it featured 'gloating and pervasive violence'. Well, I never found it to be that evil, just entertaining. Which is why I don't like narrow-minded institutions telling me what I can and cannot watch.
No one could possibly have a bad time watching this film (unless it's the UK version) and if you've had enough of Shane Meadows doing pretentious black and white stuff or Keira Knightely in a frock to last you a lifetime then the brainless and breathtaking action of Under Siege 2 is just what you need.
A high water mark in the career of Mr Segal. He returns to the screen as the, unflappable, invincible, ice cool, ultra hard Casey Ryback. See him leap from a speeding train, rock climb, roll in dirt, take bullets in the arm, all without putting a mark on his immaculate black suit. No messing about with drawn out fight scenes against a super hard villain, everyone is dispatched with minimum of effort as no-one is anywhere near as hard as Casey Ryback. No-one is more entertaining as to watch as the one man army than Segal. If you watch this film expecting an intellectual script and fine acting then you will be disappointed. But if you expect that from any all out action film I expect you are a fool. Totally over the top, totally unbelievable but a total blast.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
... Close your eyes and listen to all the explosions and the sound of
limbs hitting flesh, and you may be happy. If you OPEN your eyes,
however, that's when the implausibilities become much harder to ignore.
A CD-Rom is crucial in some megalomaniac's plan to extort money and terrorise the world. I've no problem digesting that, I've seen it happen before in the movies; but when said CD is dropped ON A ROCKFACE and left undetected for who knows how long, it still works as it needs to!! Funny that, I don't dare to even put mine on the coffee-table if I want to be able to use it again...
We see a shot of Seagal's large head within the cross-hairs of a sniper rifle... Game over, Casey? No way, within no time he's hiding under the train and explaining blithely that the bullet just 'grazed' him... However stupidly enjoyable the rest of the film was (and I suppose it has its moments) I could no longer in good conscience cheer for Mr. Ryback, he should have been dead by now, not completely impervious to harm so that he can continue with his rescue mission...
A train is a poor environment in which to stage skilfully choreographed battles. On the boat you had galleys, walkways, etc; but here everything's a bit cramped. This means we spend a lot of time watching dough-boy (What?! He's a chef, that's all I meant... :-) ) on top of the speeding vessel, making his ungainly way from carriage to carriage... Here's a general rule; as soon as a terrorist so much as peeks their head outside, they're a dead man (or woman). If Seagal ever gets his hands on a baddie, just assume that Stevie wins the day, since a lot of the time things are so poorly directed and edited that it's hard to tell...
Bogosian playing the 'tech-geek' villain does well. True he can't come close to matching the previous standard of Lee Jones or Busey, but that's to be expected. I have to admit, as hitherto mocking as I've been, that there is still a strangely unaccountable thrill in seeing the big man in black bust up those with shadowy souls... Darkness very much the theme, then. If you can manage to turn off the overhead light of your brain for awhile, then you can still find some entertainment in this as long as you feel your way gently.
This is one of the best sequels to Steven Seagal. Under Siege 2: Dark Territory is not your ordinary hijack-action-adventure films. Since I do like trains, this movie was a plus for me. The part in this film was everyone, including Ryback(Seagal) got to be part of the action. His niece Sarah, played by Katherine Heigl, knew how to fight back. Bobby Zachs, played by Morris Chestnut, didn't shy away from the action, unless he saw Ryback kill one of the hijackers. The funny part was when one of the female passengers flashed her cleavage saying she "broke her bra", the perfect distraction to the hijacker. Great cast, great action, and a great plot I say. I don't care for the critics' opinion, I just liked this movie the way it is! Rating 3 out of 5 stars. 8 out of 10!
With the overwhelming success of the first Under Siege, it was inevitable
that a sequel would be wheeled out before too long. Sure enough here it is,
Under Siege 2 Dark Territory.
Quite why they bothered with the last subtitle I do not known as it is not readily obvious within the action as to its reference but I digress.
This time the terrorists and Segal are all clumped together on a train. Basically it's a similar scenario from the first film, complete with the same Admirals, CIA boss etc from the first instalment.
The weapon of choice this time is a daft satellite weapon controlled by a nutcase and his band of hired mercenaries. The two leading bad guys do however have some wonderful much quotable lines, one in particular I cannot repeat here in print, you will just have to make your own assumption ..
Once again Segal is on his own with just an annoying sidekick/comedy relief (this time a Porter) for company and again he single handed takes on the non-descript bad guys and duly despatches them one by one as per standard procedure in an effort to stop the weapon, save the train and also save his irritating but nice to look at niece.
Sadly the quality of the seemingly recycled script is poor and Segal is hopelessly out acted by the two lead bad guys (Eric Bogosian and Everett McGill) who in turn are out acted by the two former Alaskan Railroad GP7 type locomotives hauling the train!!
Also not helping in my appreciation of this film is the fact that the UK DVD release is badly chopped about and obvious badly done cuts abound throughout. Thankfully an excellent soundtrack from Basil Poledouris saves this film from being just average.
All right, guys. Let's admit it. This one is a classic. Say what you
will about Seagal but he gave us UNDER SIEGE 1 and 2 and he got sucked
out into the clouds in the Stuart Baird thrill-ride EXECUTIVE DECISION.
And for these 3 films I'm eternally thankful. I still can't change the
channel every time this one comes on. C'mon! Trains, terrorists,
Katherine Heigl, Seagal at his most zen-like, and Everett McGill as
Penn who uses pepper spray as a breath spray. What's not to like? And a
techno-nerd bad guy who looks like a demented cross between Elliott
Gould and Tim Curry! With classic lines like "Your safety IS our
primary concern. However, if you try anything stupid, Federal
Regulations require that I kill you" I'm surprised this thing didn't
win the Oscar for best script...lol.
But seriously, with so much testosterone flying around, helped by Basil Poledouris's rousing score, and so much cool train climbing action (over, under, all over) I sometimes wonder if this one isn't even better than the first one - helmed by Andrew Davis. I mean the Eric Bogosian/Everett McGill combo is just as good as the Tommy Lee Jones/Gary Busey combo! And the kill quip by Seagal (after he dispatches McGill) "Nobody beats me in the kitchen" is right up there with some of the best quips in the Bond pictures.
Anyway it's one of the top films of 1995. I have come to the conclusion that you just can't go wrong when using the DIE HARD formula. I have yet to see a bad DIE HARD clone. SPEED, CLIFFHANGER, UNDER SIEGE, SUDDEN DEATH, AIR FORCE ONE, CON AIR, etc. Die Hard on a Bus, Die Hard on a Mountain, Die Hard on a Ship/Train, Die Hard in a Hockey Arena, Die Hard on a Plane, etc.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When 'Under Siege 2: Dark Territory' first came out in 1995, I really liked it. Or, I should say, just simply enjoyed it. It was simple fun, and yes, another shameless 'Die Hard on a (fill in the blank)' rip-off. This time, a train. This is my first viewing since; 14 years later. Though, somewhat ashamed of liking such a bad flick and even considering removing it from my guilty pleasure top ten list. But, I will say the villain, played by Bogosian, was highly entertaining and funny and did better than his role even required of him. Tommy Lee Jones (his counterpart from the original,) he is not. Still, he made his scenes more enjoyable. In addition, I am not a Seagal fan whatsoever, however, comparatively speaking, he's the best of the low-budget clones he mirrored in the 80/90s: Van Damme, Lundgren, Norris, etc. After a plane crash kills his brother, ex-seal Seagal escorts his last living relative (surprisingly played by a very young Katherine Heigl my, she's come far since) across country on, get this, the very same train terrorist "siege" to get back at the government and make money in the process. Speaking earlier of copying 'Die Hard,' you want the same bad-guy premise but in a 100x better flick, rent 'Live Free or Die Hard.' Anyways, suffice to say, Seagal spends his time up and down the train, on top of it, or on a cliff to save his niece and other faceless hostages while cooking up exploding gadgets and even picking up the most clichéd black wisecracking sidekick along the way. Part one made some money, over $150 million worldwide, so why did they strip this of any budget? It was almost embarrassing to see the fake exterior shots when they're inside the moving train.
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