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Renée Elise Goldsberry
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Ten years ago, Jake Hopper was a CIA agent who was stationed in Thailand. Then one day, things went sour, and his partner, Sunti barely escaped with his life...after accidentally killing a woman. Jake called it quits and returned to the United States when his wife died, and Sunti became a Buddhist monk to atone for his sins. For the past 10 years, Jake has run a successful private security business, and has been raising his daughter Jessica, who is now an adult. While hiking in Thailand, Jessica and her friend Sarah Winthorpe are kidnapped. A group of Islamic fundamentalists known as the Abu Karaf claims responsibility. Sarah is the daughter of United States senator John Winthorpe. For ransom, the Abu Karaf demand the release of 20 prisoners from American custody. The US Secretary of State urges restraint -- he won't negotiate. Tom Collins, an ex-colleague of Jake's, recognizes Jessica on the ransom tape and tips Jake off. Jake knows that he must rescue the girls himself. An old CIA ... Written by
Siu-Tung Ching supposedly filmed much of the action scenes without the involvement of Steven Seagal, opting to film Seagal's shots last, but conflict arose when Seagal insisted on filming his shots in a way that wouldn't accommodate the existing footage. Ching is said to have left the set, taking his stunt crew with him and welcoming Seagal to finish the scene by himself. This infuriated the producers, who convinced Seagal to go along with Ching's approach. See more »
The Thai have as strong touch-taboo - that's why they use the "wai" as a greeting instead of shaking hands or similar. Our Hero would know this, expert as he is in matters Thai, so he would not have touched the monk's hands after speaking with him. See more »
From the director of Chinese Ghost Story and Naked Weapon (and collaborator in the action scenes from Hero and House of the Flying Daggers), we have a story about an ex-CIA agent who's daughter is kidnapped. Its not just any ex-CIA agent, but Steven Seagal. Yes !! Pony-tail is back, BACK WITH A VENGEANCE. (Sorry, I had to do that).
This is your typical action movie, usually based on some revenge/honor theme, where the hero has to take out dozens to hundreds of henchman and usually a "Boss" character, or several. The acting is atrocious and all we are left with is the action (and a lot of wire-work). Steven brought his typical dead-pan/Prozac acting along. This movie is not going to be on anybody's Christmas list, however, it is hysterical and very very light. I was laughing the whole way through the movie.
Steven Seagal is looking to do some major butt-kicking. Unfortunately, most of the serious butt-kicking is done by a much younger, thinner man (the stunt guy is actually wearing fake fat to look like Steven), who has a lot more physical talent than Steven had in his prime. This is further compounded by the fact that the stunt man performs stunts that Steven could never perform (jump kicks, jump spin kick, and all other stunts involving jumping high).
The movie seems to have been filmed entirely in Bangkok, Thailand and recruited what seems to be the entire cast of Onk Bak, minus Tony Jaa. The wheelchair boss and Don the drug dealer stand out in my mind.
There are somethings about the movie that bother me. Steven (who is the star of the movie) looks like he just woke up in Bangkok after weeks of binging on milkshakes and vodka, with no money and no change of clothes. He looks dirty and grimy. I wouldn't sit next to him on the subway if he looked like that. Next, what was up with the Steven's gun? He seemed to have a magic weapon. This weapon fires anywhere from 30-50 bullets and rarely needs another clip. Also Steven has become such a big star, he no longer needs to aim his weapon. He just fires in the general direction of his target. Steven's sex scene was certainly interesting. It made me quite nauseous. Shoving toothpicks under my fingernails is pleasurable as compared to watching Steven has sex. The cinematography was quite strange. I didn't realize the same guy who did certain Outer Limit and Star Trek episodes was still alive (tilt the camera 45 degrees). The wire action becomes ridiculous, especially when you are trying to make a somewhat realistic action movie (imagine what one would think if Tony Jaa jumped 10 feet straight in the air and did 2 full revolutions). I also like the variation on Thai boxing : Thai Transvestite Claws and High Heels Boxing. Not only that, what was the deal with all the mystical crap introduced 10 minutes before the end of the movie, complete with with a Thai Mako impersonator who had taken too much PCP ??
One may think from my review that I hated this movie. This is not true. This is the funniest movie I've seen since Shaun of the Dead, unfortunately that movie was trying to be funny. I do recommend this movie as a rental,a discount-bin purchase, or a late night cable session while completely wasted.
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