Out for a Kill (Video 2003) Poster

(2003 Video)

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A very forgettable effort for Steven Seagal.
The Grand Master22 May 2017
Steven Seagal kicks butt, breaks bones, and struts around like an overweight Elvis Presley in this forgettable movie. I wasn't expecting a classic, and I knew that it was going to be predictable, but everything about it was just terrible. The story, the action, and the acting. To be fair, I didn't have high standards for the acting so I wasn't expecting much. Nonetheless, this was cheap rubbish.

Archaeology professor Robert Burns is in China conducting an important dig of several artifacts. Unfortunately for him he unknowingly finds himself caught up in a Chinese drug smuggling operation. Burns' assistant is killed by gangsters and despite his innocence, he finds himself behind bars. After he manages to escape, his old life slowly comes back where he is proficient in martial arts, firearms, and unarmed combat. Burns swears revenge on the Chinese gangsters that have framed him.

I've stated in my previous reviews that I liked Steven Seagal growing up and he was entertaining to watch around the 1988-1992 era. If you count his small role in Executive Decision (1996) feel free to do so. Since the mid-1990's his career was in steady decline beset with allegations of egotistical behaviour, sexual harassment and waning box office appeal. Around the late 1990's to 2002 his days as a box office drawcard was on life support before flatlining in 2002-2003 with movie after movie consigned to the direct to DVD doldrums. Since then, Steven Seagal has had no chance in resurrecting his career no matter what he did. Sylvester Stallone, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren had better luck reviving their careers but with regard to Steven Seagal at the end of the day he was always all about himself.

Out for a Kill was a forgettable experience and a waste of time. This was one of many movies that did Steven Seagal's career no favours whatsoever. Stick with his movies of old back in his halcyon days.

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Cheap and gratuitously violent Seagal fun
Leofwine_draca30 September 2016
Warning: Spoilers
There's something charming about the simplicity of this film's plot: it consists of an impassive Seagal working his way through a gang of Chinese Tong, murdering them one by one until his job is complete. That's it. No hassles, no interruptions, no sub-plots; just straightforward, methodological killing the way we like it. The surprise is that we get to see Seagal do some of his old fashioned kicking and Aikido kung fu methods, even sword-fighting at one point; seeing as his last film TICKER saw him sitting in a seat for the entire film, watching him back in action is a real surprise – and a guilty pleasure…

This film is cheap, of course. Every now and then a terrible visual effect will pop up to show you that. The dialogue is nothing to write home about and the locations look particularly cheap. The storyline is clichéd and ridiculous and even the title is cookie-cutter perfunctory. But somehow it all gels together and works for a change. Seagal is in the limelight again, his hair a little longer, his belly a little more rounded, but still kicking backside with the best of them. Watching him destroy Chinese villain after Chinese villain with his well-practised arm and neck-breakings is a pleasure long forgotten in his recent run of movies and it certainly delivers the action goods with almost non-stop fight scenes and death.

Some filler is thrown in with a Mulder and Scully pair of cops but their importance is minimal. What counts is the strong-arm violence, the sleazy strip-joints and nude dancers, and most importantly Seagal kicking backside. Watch out for the hilarious decapitation finale and the crazed fight scene in which Seagal batters a barber who knows the monkey style and flies along the walls at breakneck speed! This kind of imagination has been sorely lacking in similar Seagal flicks recently which again makes it a nice surprise. Far from his best, but if he keeps making these films then he's definitely back on track.
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quirky, crafty martial arts hallmark
Cristi_Ciopron28 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
The director is a No Wave artist, arguably the heir of Waters and Jarmusch; his movie is a jewel, it has cool and often lyrical cityscapes, a carefully made work, also a hallmark of action tropes: awesome swordplay, enjoyable choreography. Seagal plays a streetwise professor of archeology (and the movie begins as if this was Seagal's 'Indiana J.'). The plot takes place on the Sino-Kazakh border, in Connecticut, in Chinatown and in Sofia, and at the general headquarter of the Chinese mob, where the families have shaken hands; the story is remembered by the Chinese policewoman. Smuggling leads to vendetta: very generic tropes, but always intriguingly treated, with a lyrical freshness. The movie was nicely crafted by a No Wave director.

In the previous decade, Seagal enriched the B cinema hallmark with very good outings; the DTV market worked as a quieter place where goodish things have been made.

The ending credits claim that the director made this movie for his son; and if his work of stylish B cinema is undeniably lovingly crafted, the very generic plot of revenge, with its over the top idea (a professor, albeit one with a peculiar past, beheads the Chinese smuggling cartel) shows he wished a fairy tale; otherwise, Burns leaves the cemetery, where his murdered wife has just been laid to rest, hand in hand with his new girlfriend. This refreshing movie is very good, often intriguing, suspenseful.
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One of Seagal's worst films.
DigitalRevenantX711 June 2015
Warning: Spoilers
CAUTION: Plot spoilers present.

Esteemed archaeologist Robert Burns is shocked to discover that someone had been using the artefacts he had dug up to transport drugs. Panicking, he & his assistant make for the Chinese border but on the way there the assistant is killed by a stray bullet. Sent to jail, Burns is then released by the CIA as bait for the owner of the drugs – the Chinese mafia. Burns is reluctant to play along but when his wife is killed in a failed attempt on his life, Burns decides to single-handedly take on & defeat the Chinese mobsters.

Ever since his 1988 debut in ABOVE THE LAW, Steven Seagal has been one of the 1990s' action icons – a master of the brutal martial art of Aikido & part-time police officer in real life. But during the late 1990s, his career started to decline. He briefly turned to DTV land but after a brief return to the big league, Seagal ended up stuck in DTV wasteland for the remainder of the decade.

Before I get into the review for Out for a Kill, let me point out that I am not Seagal's biggest fan nor his harshest critic. He has made some decent films – the best being UNDER SIEGE – but he is not particularly good as an action hero. His brutal martial arts moves are so sadistic that they are a source of amusement for those who like brutal action (including myself) but Seagal has resulted in some real abominations – particularly the 1998 flop The Patriot. Having said that, his weakest pre-2003 films has been unfairly maligned – TICKER was a reasonable thriller if one goes into it with the right state of mind; HALF PAST DEAD was trashed by almost everyone but was entertaining in a dumb sort of way & THE FOREIGNER was average but not bad.

Out for a Kill is perhaps one of the worst action films I have seen in quite some time. The film is the second pairing of Seagal & The Foreigner director Michael Oblowitz & has been almost a complete disaster. Judging by what I saw on screen, it seems likely that a lot of the dialogue has been replaced by ADR looping since most of the actors (namely Seagal) end up being obscured by odd camera angles while speaking (perhaps the original dialogue was changed for some reason) & the film's pacing borders on the cinematically schizophrenic. This has been done before on other films, but not to the destructive extent it has here.

The film is beset by other problems as well. The plot is almost incomprehensible to understand & has clearly been put together in post. The acting is almost universally poor – chief villain Chooi Kheng Beh spends his role mainly sitting at a meeting room chair spouting stupid lines like "There will come a time when the Chinese (mafia) families will control the entire (drug) market" & lacks sufficient characterisation to be a real threat. The most disturbing part of the film is the poorly-done action scenes, with a couple of real turkeys like the fight between Seagal & a strange assassin who for some reason can climb on walls & keeps scratching his head as if he had a lice problem. The real prize moment of badness comes in the final confrontation where Seagal is stunned by a flashbang bomb & picks up a sword, walks to the window where he spots the villain running to his car & tosses the sword at him, decapitating him from a good ten feet away. I couldn't understand why the assassins all have tattoos revealing codes for the mob's safe but this is a minor problem in a film full of problems.

Out for a Kill is only to be enjoyed by those who have been chemically enhanced (I mean drunk or stoned) or those who can survive sitting through a turkey without suffering from badness overload. The worst part of this film is that it was the beginning of a very long road to ruin for Seagal's post-millennial career.
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Out of shape
Prismark1020 February 2015
Steven Seagal has a decent run of action films in the early 1990s with Under Siege being the high point. His decline was swift as his ego got the better of him.

For years he has been out of shape, portly and with bad hair. He still has loyal fans hence the slew of straight to DVD releases which tends to have the same fight scenes. Seagal basically moving his hands around quickly.

Here Seagal plays an archaeology professor in China. The artifacts have been used by the Triad gangs to smuggle drugs and the somehow police think that this award winning expert is behind it and sent to jail.

The US cops get him released hoping that he would lead them to the bad guys, but as always Seagal is a man with a shady past and worse his idiocy leads to his wife being killed. Now he is bent on revenge and no amount of bad CGI will stop him.

This is a film if you want to see bad acting, bad dubbing, bad special effects, bad script and to see how the once mighty have fallen.

The high point is the monkey style kung fu fight scene.
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Out For A Kill has enough decent moments (be they unintentional or not) to keep this latter-day Seagal outing's head above water.
Comeuppance Reviews14 April 2014
Warning: Spoilers
A bunch of Chinese gangsters are using their international network to smuggle drugs. Their evil operations infringe upon the happy-go-lucky life of Yale professor Robert Burns (Seagal) and all hell breaks loose. On an innocent fact-finding mission, Burns discovers that they are using ancient artifacts to conceal their drugs. After some fights and shootouts, Burns realizes he must track down all those responsible for ruining his life. Unleashing the awesome power within all Yale professors, he beats up, maims and kills across several continents, using their arm tattoos as clues as to where to go next. Will anyone survive when professor Robert Burns goes OUT FOR A KILL? Latter-day Seagal meets Nu-Image. We could just stop there, because you probably know what to expect (assuming you don't already feel like you've seen the movie), but we'll continue. At the beginning of the movie, the first scene in fact, a bunch of unsmiling guys in suits walk in slow motion into a Bulgarian strip club. Guess what happens next? You can no doubt guess, but what if we told you it involved REPEATED FOOTAGE? Then we go to Paris where a bunch of gangsters are sitting around a table. On the screen we get a bunch of fun facts about their personal lives and hobbies. We don't know why. All we can assume is that this is the "Anti-Seagal Club" because all they do is complain about him. It seems to be the basis of their organization. We can reasonably assume there's a crudely painted sign on the door that says "no girls allowed".

Finally we move to beautiful New Haven, Connecticut (not really, it's probably a blue screen or possibly a green screen. What an insult to our fair city). We are, as an audience, finally ready to meet professor Robert Burns. He's receiving an award because he's such a talented and great man. Those stodgy Yalies probably thought they were giving the award to the national poet of Scotland Robert Burns (1759-1796). The similarities between him and Seagal are uncanny. Nevertheless, he then dons his leather jacket and becomes "Indiana Seagal", bearing no resemblances to any other badass archaeology professors.

The rest of the movie is your typical Seagallian morass of unintentionally funny ADR work, unintentionally funny Martial Arts fights and unintentionally funny green screen shots. There are even some Sniper-style "bullet time" shots. Add to that some silly quick cuts and zooms, and there you have it. Besides the references to Yale and 18th century lyric poets, the highbrow literary references continue when Seagal goes to (what no doubt must be one of his favorite haunts) the "Cafe Sartre". Trust us, you'll be feeling the "Nausea" if you watch this movie.

But really, there are enough funny and/or silly moments in this movie to make it rise above the level of other Seagal "Kill" movies such as Driven To Kill or Kill Switch. Speaking of the title, it's just an unashamed mash-up of two of Seagal's "classic" titles, Out For Justice (1991) and Hard to Kill (1990). Except "Out For A Kill" makes no sense. But it does sound like Seagal, in a domestic situation, calls to his wife in another room in their suburban house as he's walking out the door, "Honey, I'm going out for a kill, be back in twenty minutes..." Sadly this scene didn't happen in this movie. How disappointing.

In all, Out For A Kill has enough decent moments (be they unintentional or not) to keep this latter-day Seagal outing's head above water. Barely. However, there are certainly worse Seagal movies out there (*cough*KillSwitch*cough*).
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Out for Boredom
mazec6669 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Continuing with Seagal Month, "Out for a Kill" from 2003 is among the few movies he's made for Millennium Films. Budgeted at $14 million, this has better production values than "Flight of Fury" and that's not saying much. Clocking in at around 90 minutes, this feels like a four-hour biology lecture.

Our portly Buddha white boy plays Robert Burns (not the late production designer on the original "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre"), an unorthodox professor who wears leather coats on digging expeditions because he's cool. Or he might be covering his enormous gut whichever you figure out. After discovering ancient Chinese artifacts, Seagal finds himself chased by a million bad guys in a poorly-choreographed car chase where his female partner is murdered. He reaches the border and gets framed in this low-budget rendition of "Midnight Express." While spending a short amount of time in prison, Seagal befriends a stereotypical black guy who doesn't have anything to do with this film. Upon his release Seagal reunites with his wife whose also forgotten about and is killed in a superimposed explosion. Predictably, Seagal goes on a violent killing spree breaking the arms of every nameless Chinese extra in a series of over-the-top fight scenes that are desperately mimicking "The Matrix." The film is padded with scenes of the villain and his men sitting in a long table with subtitles and title cards galore reminding us of their dastardly deeds.

"Out for a Kill" is sleazy-looking for a direct-to-DVD action film and does it show. The computer-generated effects are the most horrible I've ever seen and so are the unconvincing backdrops. I swear, "Plan 9 from Outer Space" has Oscar-caliber FX and producing design compared to this. And the editing is like Paul W.S. Anderson on cocaine. The below-average but great-to-laugh-at fight scenes aren't any better. The good news is Seagal is doubled much less. But the bad news is that they are poorly edited to the max. However, Seagal's performance doesn't fare better as his voice constantly changes from his own to someone else. Also noted is that Seagal is filmed in the shadows to hide his oily skin and multiple chins. That is a prime example of laziness at its highest form. The other actors are even worse. Michelle Goh may be attractive but her performance is awful, awful, awful. Corey Johnson is only in the film until he's bumped off and collects a paycheck.

Did I mention that "Out for a Kill" is terrible? No. But it is. And at least it wasn't a stock footage movie.
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For the love of...
swedzin13 October 2012
Here's the real insomnia cure! This film is extremely boring. Just like any other Steven Seagal film from the beginning of the 2000s. Seagal plays an archeology professor... say what? Archeology professor? Did I hear that right? Well, that's something new, he doesn't even look like... well no point to talk about that. And so, they kill his wife, and than he runs to seek a revenge. Just like in most of his films. So, overnight Seagal becomes a strict badass martial artist and he goes around kicking and cockpunching people where ever he can get, I mean there's a scene where he is fighting the Chinese monkey-barber... check it out! It's mental. So, in the end he gets his revenge and he can finally rest from all that madness he caused. I mean, what to say more about this film? Nothing, there's simply nothing to say... if you want to watch film to make you sleep, play this, you'll close your eyes straight away.
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Yes, But Where Is Charlie Chan?
Robert J. Maxwell12 July 2012
In this masterpiece of poetic art, Steven Seagal is -- get this -- a distinguished professor of archaeology at Yale University. He wins prestigious awards. He may even get tenure.

Seagal is invited to assess the finds at some dig in China near the Kazakhistan border. What amounts to the Chinese Mafia plants a lot of cocaine in one of his shipments to the states. Seagal is captured. His beautiful Chinese assistant is killed. He gets out of prison and returns to the states to wreak revenge. I don't think I'll spell out much more of the plot since I don't want to spoil any of the absent surprises.

My TV Guide, with which I sometimes agree, gives this one and a half stars out of four. It lives up to its rating. The whole thing is not merely implausible. It's impossible. You want an example? Seagal spent many years in prison where he took advantage of the facilities to earn a PhD. Then he disappeared for some years, during which he evidently became an expert on Han artifacts and learned to kick each and every ass that came his way. THEN, and only then, does he become a distinguished professor at Yale. Poor Vincent Scully had to lead a life of eremetic devotion for years before achieving those heights.

It's always interesting to see who is chosen to be the villain in these mindless action movies, which ethnic group. In 2003 it couldn't be the Soviets anymore because there weren't any more Soviets. And I suppose by that time the usual Germans were eliminated -- not because they were forgiven for World War II, but because the producers of action movies figured no one in their audience would remember that we had fought the Germans in World War II. I'm surprised the North Koreans haven't shown up yet. There are Arabs aplenty in similar movies but that's a tangled web and we don't want to alienate anyone who might buy a ticket.

That leaves the Chinese, or rather a cabal of about a dozen REALLY ugly Chinese Mafia types who wear one of two expressions: a smirk or a scowl. They all smoke cigars. They speak in sinister tones of matters of life and death. I can understand why the Chinese were suitable heavies in 2003. They make all our consumer good, right down to the high heels I wear on Saturday nights. But I think the producers would hesitate before using the Chinese today. They might boycott our McDonalds or start eyeing the Euro instead of the dollar.

And -- oh, the hell with it.
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Mind numbingly atrocious
movieman_kev20 June 2012
This abysmal little film about an archaeologist (Steven Seagal) who's framed for the murder of his friend but gets out to get revenge on a Chinese crime syndicate is amateurish in just about ever conceivable way. Horrible acting, a ridiculous plot hole laden plot, laughably bad special effects, surprisingly even the action scenes are lacking. It's one of the worst Seagal films that I've had the supreme misfortune of seeing.

My Grade: D-

Eye Candy: Kata Dobo, no stranger to baring skin in supremely awful films (see also the atrocious "Rollerball" remake) gets topless
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Steven Seagull Lays a Rotten Egg
mikevezina29 April 2012
I only wish there was a rating below 1 for this turkey. What can I say: bad editing (oh and you don't have to be an expert to catch this), terrible acting and dialogue, ridiculous fight scenes, stupid character development and on and on.

Seagal must have been short on alimony payments or something to put this mess together and lay it our for viewers. Most action heroes get better with experience but Seagal'S earliest works are so superior to this.

Instead of being a semi-plausible character like a Navy Seal or CIA operative or cop, he plays an archaeologist who dresses like he's auditioning to be Neo in the Matrix or John Shaft. Looks completely ridiculous on a dig in the wilderness of China. They try to explain in hindsight where this professor got his superior kung-fu fighting skills, but it works as badly as their attempt to explain how a convict gets a doctorate in archaeology while in prison (without any field work of course).

Then there's the simple technical aspects of the film like being in Bulgaria, but all the signs are in English and the people are either Chinese or American. Even some of the Chinese dialogue is subtitled in English completely wrong.

Then there's the acting. First the movie contains some of the worst Steven Seagal pseudo Feng-Shui/Asian/mysticism/philosophical babblings that one could ever imagine. Stupid metaphors that apparently only make sense to him. Chooi King-Beh as Wong Dai is definitely the "Wrong Guy" as he desperately tries to deliver each line as some sinister comic book villain rather than the Chinese businessman that he is. Cory Johnson is equally as stupid as a FBI agent who has no role other than to wander through scenes and deliver lines that insult Catholics, Chinese and the French. What I didn't understand is how him and his partner seem to be able to walk around steps behind Seagal invisible to him and the Tong until almost the very end.

This is not even a good action film for those who enjoyed Seagal as Casey Ryback. The fight scenes are either prolonged patty-cake slapping with dubbed bone cracking to the height of dumb with the monkey style kung-fu in the barbershop complete with all the ridiculous gravity defying stunts of Crouching Tiger.

I cannot conceive of any audience other than reviewers for the worst film of 2003 that this movie would appeal to.
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Awesome (for all the wrong reasons)
Sandcooler28 March 2011
I love how you can see Steven Seagal's career go down the drain just by looking at his titles. In the early 90s he used to be all "Hard To Kill" and "Out For Justice", here he's..."Out For A Kill"? What does that even mean? Does that mean like, any kill? Does he just kill the postman and call it a day? Never thought I'd ever be confused by a Steven Seagal movie, but here we are. The action in this movie is incredibly repetitive, it's the same pattern over and over again. Chinese mob guy sends over dudes to kill Seagal, doesn't work, sends new guys, doesn't work, new guys, doesn't work, same old same old. It's somewhat mind-numbing, but luckily you can still laugh at the poor fight scenes and at Seagal being as agile as a washing machine. It's a well-known fact that Seagal has often had fighting doubles in his more recent movies, but in this movie his outsourcing goes even further: he has a talking double. A whole bunch of his lines are dubbed over, around halfway I started to wonder if Seagal even knew he was in this movie. And the ending, oh God the ending. Nothing could prepare you for that. This movie pretty much defines "so bad it's good".
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i liked it
disdressed1222 June 2010
maybe i need to have my head examined,but i thought this was a decent enough Steven Seagal flick.no,it won't win any awards,and yes there are a lot of logic gaps,but honestly there are a lot worse movies inflicted on the public than this.there is more than enough action in my mind,and the fight sequences were not horrible by any stretch.you will really have to stretch you suspension of disbelief here though if you want to buy Seagal as an archaeologist.but as a time waster,you could do worse than this,in my opinion.and besides it's less than ninety minutes long,so it's not like you're losing a big chunk of your life.for me,Out for a Kill is a 5/10
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An all-time low for Steven Seagal
TheLittleSongbird11 June 2010
I will admit it right now, I am not a huge fan of Steven Seagal. He was good once upon a time, but recently he has resorted to poorly acted, sloppily paced and straight-to-video-quality films; Out for a Kill is no exception. I am really sorry, but I do not know where to start pointing out the things that are wrong with this movie.

Now don't get me wrong, there have been some good action films, and I do like the genre, but as an action film and a film in general, Out for a Kill ranks towards the bottom of the spectrum. So where do I begin with the criticisms? How about the plot? The plot is so predictable and lame, and it takes such a while to get going. Plus by the end of the film I was running out of fingers to count the number of plot holes there were in the movie. Not only that, some of the plot holes are so big, you can drive a delivery truck through them.

Or how about the dialogue? Like the characters, the dialogue is filled to the brim with clichés, no sense of intelligence or wit. What about the direction? Nothing there as far as I could see. It wasn't innovative, it wasn't sensitive and it wasn't good. Instead it felt phoned-in and derivative, as if the director wasn't really interested in the film.

How about the quality of the film? Well, I'll answer that right off, it was shoddy and slipshod. The camera work, scenery and visual set-ups were incredibly shoddy, with editing all over the place, and done with no care. Even the action sequences were sloppy and unexciting, and the choreography is... how should I say it, ham-fisted. And what was up with the ending? Really ropey and a real letdown.

Even worse was the acting. Steven Seagal looks really unkempt here, and he gives another lazy performance, while Michelle Goh is cursed with some of the worst dialogue of the film and the rest of the supporting cast were pretty much playing themselves. Plus I felt indifferent to every single character, none of them moved or compelled me in any way. Any redeeming qualities? Well, the opening just passes muster, but everything else is very hard to take and is a complete mess. 1/10 Bethany Cox
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Out for a Kill
Scarecrow-8831 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Chinese crime families from major cities all over the world are uniting to control the marketing of drugs, eliminating any competition(as we see in the opening regarding a massacre in a Bulgaria strip club). Steven Seagal stars as an archaeologist(!), Professor Robert Burns, a recipient of the prestigious Winthrope award for uncovering important Chinese artifacts. Burns gets caught up in the midst of an attempted drug smuggling operation with the Chinese crime family using his archaeological dig recovering Chinese relics at the China/Kazakhstan boarder as a front to traffic heroine in the centuries-old statuettes. His assistant killed by gunfire, Burns makes it to the boarder, but is arrested for his possible involvement in smuggling the drugs in his artifacts. Released, Burns has revenge on his mind, but when Wong Dai(Chooi Kheng-Beh)sends his men on an errand to kill Robert's wife, the scorned professor will surely wreak vengeance on all who took away everything he ever cared for. Working with Hong Kong DEA agent Tommi Ling(Michelle Goh), and her American partner Ed Grey(Corey Johnson), Burns will annihilate each member of Wong Dai's crime family, setting his sights for the ringleader, who is stationed in Paris.

Globe-trotting action adventure vehicle for Seagal has his martial arts Buddhist archaeologist taking out Chinese druglords in Chinatown, Bulgaria, and Paris. Like other 2003 action flicks, Seagal is able to look good thanks to careful camera angles, editing, and stunt work. We all know he can no longer propel himself in the air or move across a room like a gazelle. Good use of slow motion allows Seagal to obliterate opponents in a manner that seems quite authentic. I will say that there's one sequence, concerning a heavy dependence of wire-fu where Seagal's adversary can twist and turn in mid air, not to mention crawl across walls, looks positively ridiculous, quite laughably staged. Like most of his action flicks in the 2000's, Seagal's one-man army can go wherever he pleases, leaving an alarming string of dead bodies, without anyone even attempting to investigate him. He can go to Bulgaria and Paris without a hitch, despite his house being bombed and wiping out a number of men in a New York City restaurant in front of witnesses. Where Seagal is at his best is when he has those fast hands moving, blocking punches, and landing blows that send his foes hurling in the air and through objects. There are plenty of guns firing and thugs for Seagal to vanquish, and his Robert Burns goes through the motions with relative ease. The members of the Chinese crime gang all have nicknames and specific writings on their arms which forms a riddle, for which Burns soon interprets at the end. Well, on the bright side, at least there isn't a kidnapped daughter Seagal must rescue this time.
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Out for a Kill
I_John_Barrymore_I2 April 2009
It should be one of those films where by the time it's over you couldn't name a single character, yet Steven Seagal shares a name with the most famous Scottish poet so you can't help but remember at least one.

It's surprisingly well-lit for a post-millennium Seagal offering but this is a mixed blessing. While it's pleasing to see him in something other than a face-only Col. Kurtz impersonation, the fact he's (reasonably) well lit merely makes him look like what he is - fat. The fights are cumbersome and not a single blow impresses.

Seagal's lines have been dubbed - poorly - and there's a noticeable difference in his voice depending on whether we can see his face or not, and almost everything he says when off camera sounds like it was read into a dictaphone on a lazy Sunday afternoon on his couch after a few too many doobies. Still, he's not the only one. MC Harvey, a former member of UK rap collective So Solid Crew, suffers the indignity of having his film debut dubbed entirely by an actor with a more masculine voice. After they meet towards the beginning of the film he shouts after Seagal's character "Don't forget about me Burns!" It's the last we see of him.

But aside from one bad guy who inexplicably develops superhuman powers, some dreadful CGI and pointless green screen work, that's about the only amusement the film has to offer.

The lead villain is so over the top it's outrageously hammy even by cheesy action movie standards. Delivering lines like "I have decided we must put an end to this professor" it's the kind of performance that would be laughed out of a Power Rangers audition. Having said that, he explains the plot so many times it's hard not to wish your manager were more like him for clarity in the workplace's sake.

It plays out almost like a video game, with ten bosses being defeated one by one until the final showdown but I promise that's not as much fun as it sounds. That final showdown is a complete non-event and an embarrassment even to a film of this quality.

It's painful - although not impossible - to watch, and even die-hard Seagal fans will struggle to find anything of worth in this tedious, derivative bore.
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Tough and two-fisted Seagal searching for vengeance in a short budget movie
ma-cortes3 October 2008
Warning: Spoilers
The picture starts with a brooding phrase : 'All warfare is based on the art of deception'. Robert Burns(Steven Seagal) is a professor of archeology, happily married(Kata Dobo), making excavations in Eastern China. When he discovers the existence a Chinese mob using archaeological pieces for drugs smuggling, the Chinese authorities suspect on Burns and is taken prisoner. He gets the freedom and returns US looking for vengeance. Meanwhile a group of Chinese mobsters encounter in Paris, it's the beginning of a new era. As Sai Li controls shipment in the French heroin market; Tang Zhili controls entire N.Y. drug conglomerate; Yin Qunshi from Sofia controls Eastern European drug cartel; Libo controls Shangai drug exports; Fang Lee from Paris , aka the Barber, controls Paris drug cartel, known to hire unique assassins; Mr Chang controls London drug money. Like all great conglomerates around the world, Chinese families are merging. An united Tong is powerful enough to push other syndicates out of business and will come a day when the Chinese families control entire market. The mobsters take special care so that nothing and no one interferes with a historic event, it will be the most important business transaction in the history of the Chinese family. Robert Burns is helped by two Dea agents, Tommie Ling(Michelle Goh) and Ed Grey(Corey Johnson).Tammie Ling based in Hong Kong investigates narcotics and other related crimes, assigned to work with an American agent, they have been in six countries in international drug ring. Burns gets a books of addresses in code, an ancient Chinese system used by messengers to the emperor, on the arm of every Chinese Tong member is tattooed a symbol from the emperor's code. Decoded and getting the boss'emperor, Wong Dai(Chooi Beh). Then Robert vow revenge and seeks the location of Sai lo(Ping Tang) the man who killed his wife. Si-Lo is using an old building in a laundry of Paris. Si-Lo made one very big mistake, he touched the most sacred thing in Burns'life, killing his wife and Robert is forced to dig two graves.

The film packs lots of noisy action, thrills and violence, but doesn't quite hang together. Wooden Seagal is efficient at dispatching the enemy, he kicks, punches, wags and uses blades against the nasties villains. The fight scenes are middling-choreographed and violent, flowing much blood . May be predictable , especially the graphic violence , but the action is fast though with no sense. This film belongs the Seagal's last period when he's doing low budget and direct to video films, such as 'Flight of fury, Mercenary of justice, Submerged, Belly of beast, Ticker', among others. The motion picture is badly directed by Michael Oblowitz who also directed him in 'Out for kill and The foreigner'.
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This Gwilo professor is becoming a problem.
lastliberal4 July 2008
You know when you want a degree there are course you have to take just because someone thinks they are important. This is one of those required to complete your degree in Seagalology. Think of it an as ordeal you must get through to pass.

There is not noble purpose here. Seagal is just out for revenge on those who killed his wife (Kata Dobó). He is up against a Chinese syndicate that reminds us every 10 minutes that "This Gwilo professor is becoming a problem" after each of their 10 henchmen die at Seagal's hands.

DEA agents Michelle Goh and Corey Johnson are following the trail of blood, but they don't want to arrest him until he finishes.

Lots of blood and martial arts, but nothing else.

There one more done.
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tranceambassador12 June 2008
Wow, what can I say, Well I could add all the words of every review written here and the end result would grossly fail to portray just how unbelievably horrible this movie is. But I think I can sum it up in one sentence, here goes, Steven Seagal has officially, undeniably, and irrevocably lost his bad ass status forever. The question that begs answering is how in the hell do movies like this get made in the first place, that means a lot of really untalented people had to be involved in making this. I have a theory: This movie will end up making a lot of money, Why? Because once word gets around about how bad this movie is people will want to see it to believe it. Furthermore, this movie will assuredly take its place at film schools around the world when a reference or illustration as to what not to do in movie making is needed. Too bad cause I really liked him, but he has shamelessly and sadly reduced himself to nothing more than a laughing stock has-been. The only reason I made it more than 5 minutes into this movie was because I really wanted to see just how bad it was and I can honestly say on that note the movie really delivered. On a good note, at least this movie will be able to inspire future film makers because if a movie like this can get made, then even the worst of the aspiring film makers out there will have hope at achieving success and probably have a really good shot at making it. I really hope Seagal stops embarrassing himself, maybe stop with the movies and get back in the gym so he can loose the trench-coat that pathetically tries to hide the fact that he has lost his bad ass status only to replace it with an equal amount of weight. Seriously man stop embarrassing yourself.
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The 3 is for the pretty woman
tiestvdb30 March 2008
Michael Oblowitz must have been stoned out of his mind and I will be avoiding movies made by him in the future. Watching this movie must be like a bad trip. The perspective is zooming in and out all the time and jumps from one location to an other so often it will make you dizzy watching. Though Seagal never was more than a martial art action hero, good OLD Seagal became a cartoon of himself trying to hide his fatness in a big leather coat, which hardly ever comes off. I think I saw him getting dressed in it when he woke up and went out of bed. Excuse me for not wanting to look at it again to make sure. Probably he became so slow that every fight scene was edited in slow motion with lots of smoke and flashes to make it look like a fight scene. He meets hoods in several parts of the world that are in a smoke filled room in the U.S.A. the next moment and back in Europe the next. At least the few women were pretty nice although they couldn't really act either.
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I enjoyed the movie
pjplives-115 February 2008
It is good to see Seagal at work. No matter what his debt to the mob he still is fun to watch. I like movies without too much tension, where I know the good guy wins. So for my simple tastes the movie was fun.

Years ago, I thought Seagal had the fastest hands in martial arts movies. Unfortunately, he has not received the recognition that other martial arts stars have.

Many times a star is the same personality in all his or her movies. Such as John Wayne or Chackie Chan. It just becomes a matter of what stars you can identify with. When Arnold says, " I'll be back!" You have to be glad he is coming back.
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Makes pretence to some faint meaning
James Hitchcock5 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This is a film which asks its audience to accept that Steven Seagal is "Yale's most distinguished academic". An interesting idea for a competition might be to ask people to try and come up with a more egregious example of miscasting than that one. John Wayne as a drag queen? Woody Allen as a heavyweight boxing champion? Arnold Schwarzenegger as a seven-stone weakling? How about Steven Seagal as the world's greatest actor? Actually, even asking the audience to accept Seagal as a moderately competent actor might be a bit much.

Make no mistake, this is a bad film indeed. It only gets a second star because it never quite plumbs the awesome depths of badness achieved by Seagal's other 2003 film with director Michael Oblowitz, "The Foreigner". The seventeenth-century poet John Dryden, comparing his detested rival Thomas Shadwell with other minor literary figures of the day, wrote:-

"The rest to some faint meaning make pretence But Shadwell never deviates into sense".

A similar distinction applies here. Whereas "The Foreigner" never deviates into sense, or comes within a thousand miles of doing so, "Out for a Kill" does at least make pretence to some faint meaning. Seagal's character, Robert Burns, is Professor of Archaeology at Yale University. (Burns was originally a master thief specialising in stealing Chinese antiquities, and gained his degree while serving a prison sentence. I doubt if in real life Yale would have awarded a professorship to a man with this particular curriculum vitae, but the film is presumably set in a parallel universe where seats of learning are happy to offer academic chairs to convicted felons).

While on a dig in a remote part of China, he unwittingly becomes embroiled with a gang of drug-runners and he is framed on false charges of narcotics smuggling and the murder of his assistant, who was shot dead by the gang. He is released from jail by a Chinese cop (named Tommy despite being female) and her American colleague who hope that, back in America, he will lead them to the criminal masterminds behind the drug-smuggling operation. Unfortunately, the villains have not finished with Burns, and his wife is killed by a bomb intended for him. He sets out to get revenge, and the film turns into the normal Seagal mixture of gunplay and martial-arts sequences.

It was ironically appropriate that in "The Foreigner" Seagal played a character named Jonathan Cold, because his performance seemed to come straight from the deep freeze. Perhaps he and Oblowitz recognised this unfortunate irony, because in "Out for a Kill" his character has a surname suggestive of heat rather than coldness. His style of acting, however, remains as frozen as ever. Burns suffers a series of disasters to rival the Book of Job, but neither being imprisoned on false charges, nor the destruction of his home, nor the murder of his wife, can elicit any degree of emotional reaction from him.

Not that the rest of the cast are any better. In "Under Siege" Seagal made the mistake of playing against a major Hollywood star, Tommy Lee Jones, whose acting skills served to underline his own deficiencies in that direction. At least he avoids that mistake here. The way in which the villains are played implies a racist view of the Chinese, little changed since the days of those old Fu Manchu movies. The main difference is that the criminal mastermind Wong Dai is played by a Chinese actor instead of Boris Karloff or Christopher Lee, but the impression is still given that the entire Chinese race, except for attractive women like Tommy, consists of fiendish Oriental villains. About all one can say in the film's defence is that some of the martial-arts sequences are reasonably well done. Overall, however, this is the sort of cheap, shoddy and racist actioner which I had hoped Hollywood had given up making years ago. 2/10
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Terrible movie
bbc1001 December 2007
Silly plot to start with, a whole cross nation Chinese criminal organistaion vs a kicking ass invincible professor who kills each one of the criminals to save the day. Everywhere he goes, the criminals fear him, runs away from him, avoids to put up a fight and eventually he marches straight into their headquarter and beheads their leader with one accurate throw of a Japanese sword.

Sloppy action, fake wirework, CG effects, superhuman strength, we sees Steven Segal tossing people in the air and giving them broken arms to whoever attempts to fight him...

Stereotypical Chinese villains eg. deadly Shaolin monks employed as assassins, mythical Chinese cults, gangster tattoos on every gang member.....

Lack of depth in character background and a very very weak storyline. Steven stars as a professor on Chinese studies, which suddenly turns out also to be a martial art expert with a criminal record? In what significance does his female partner, which the only thing we've been told is she's a Policewoman from Hong Kong relates to the plot? What is on with the whole Chinese criminal network sitting in the same room, discussing same own boring conversation throughout the whole film until Steven Segal finds and kills them? This is just a absolutely retarted movie.....
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Another awful Steven Seagal action flick.
Paul Andrews6 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Out for a Kill starts in China somewhere at an archaeological dig where Chinese archaeological expert Professor Robert Burns (producer Steven Seagal) is running things, however his crocked boss Sai Lo (Hon Ping Tang) is an international drug smuggler & using archaeological artefact's dug up by Burns has a nice line in drug smuggling going on. However Burns finds out that he & his dig is being used to smuggle drugs & isn't happy about it, he tries to escape to the border but the bad guy's shoot dead his pretty female assistant, then he is arrested & framed for the drug smuggling himself but is let free when two international DEA agents want to follow him in the hope he'll lead them to the big boss. Unfortunately the big boss doesn't want Burns complicating things so he has Burns wife blown up, big mistake because the bad guy's have framed him for drug smuggling, they killed his assistant & now they have blown his wife up. Burns decides to dish out a little vengeance...

This American Aruba co-production was directed by Michael Oblowitz & is yet another terrible straight-to-video/DVD Seagal action flick which almost defies words. The script by Dennis Dimster is simply terrible, Out for a Kill is one of those films which on paper sounds OK & is a film you need to experience to get just how bad it is, nothing I write will properly convey how bad this film is. The films as a whole is utterly predictable, it makes absolutely no sense, the character's are awful (Steven Seagal as a archaeological Professor? Ha, ha, ha, ha!) the plot is awful, the dialogue is awful, the pacing is awful, the narrative is awful, the fights are awful & to try & illustrate how stupid it is for some bizarre reason all the bad guy's have tattoo's on their wrist's which when combined spell out some sort of cryptic message & it's just hilariously bad & a real chore to sit through. I honestly don't know how to convince you that Out for a Kill is as bad as I suggest, without actually seeing it which I don't recommend you'll just have take my word for it & if you do decide to watch it don't say you weren't warned!

Director Oblowitz does nothing to make this watchable, the plot is a mess the use of slow motion is just annoying, there are random scenes of strippers which ordinarily wouldn't be a bad thing but here they are literally just randomly inserted, the fights are poor with Seagal's opponents doing all the fancy kicks & twirls only for Seagal to just stand there & when attacked just knock the guy out with the least amount of fuss. What the hell is that guy who can crawl across walls all about? The film also has the annoying habit of putting a caption on screen to indicate the time & location which becomes irritating & is utterly pointless. The action scenes are poor, the film is unexciting & Seagal is just out of shape & too fat.

Who on Earth keeps giving $20,000,000 to Seagal to make a film? I don't know if that figure offered up by the IMDb is correct but there's no way this looks like it had 20 big ones spent on it, it's terrible & the CGI computer effects shots look awful. Shot in Sofia in Bulgaria. The acting is awful although Michelle Goh is a pretty hot looking chick. Seagal mumbles his way through the film as usual & is terrible as usual.

Out for a Kill is an awful action film that isn't unintentionally funny enough to to be watchable, it's hard to explain in words how bad this film is. Not recommend even to Seagal fans if any still exist.
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Seagal must be out for a kill on his fan-base
Pilsung8912 August 2007
Warning: Spoilers
One good thing I can say about this movie is that it wasn't released in theaters. Steven Seagal made a few decent action movies early in his career, but this movie is proof that his abilities are going down the drain.

The plot is typical and underdeveloped. Seagal unintentionally gets in the way of a Chinese mob, they kill his wife, and he seeks revenge by killing them one at a time. Seeing that Seagal got into the movies mainly due to his martial arts, I wouldn't expect award-winning acting from him. His acting here, however, is horrible even for his standards. No one in this movie really acts. It sounds like they're all reading their lines right off of the script. This movie also features a common symptom of low-budget movies: meaningless subplots that just make the film go longer. Some examples include when the Chinese agent goes undercover for a couple minutes and suddenly turns into a Kung fu master, or when her partner experiences Deja vu that has no connection to the movie at all.

The fight scenes, the one thing we'd all expect to save the movie, don't. They were obviously trying to save money with a cheap fight choreographer. Of course, it is obvious that good ole' Seagal is fat and out of shape. Almost every angle in the fight scenes are either filmed behind Seagal, or from the waist down, so it's apparent Steven is using plenty of stunt doubles for the already bad fight scenes. The worst one was when Seagal fights one of the mobsters, and the entire fight is just a close-up of their hands waving around and smacking each other. Neither face is seen and all, and it doesn't even look like a fight, but rather a slapping contest. The only decent fight is when Seagal has to fight the two monks in the Monastery.

I highly recommend you don't get this movie. Go for a walk instead, that's more entertaining than this. I nearly fell asleep twice watching it. Stick to Seagal's early work.
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