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Submerged is yet another putrid straight to video release involving a bloated and aging Steven Seagal trying unsuccessfully to hide the fact he can barely do any martial arts any more and the fact that he is really quite overweight. He still can't hide the fact that he can't act either, despite the fact he appears to be dubbed for sections of the movie (Which is why some of his dialogue is actually semi-intelligible for a change). The film-makers attempts to hide Seagal's lack of mobility and increasing girth are largely what make these latter day Seagal flicks entertaining. Clever tricks such as close editing in the fight scenes so you can't actually see Seagal isn't doing anything very impressive, dark lighting to hide his jowls and breadth and loose clothing so as to not accentuate his less than athletic physique.
Anyway, the movie involves Seagal and a ragtag group of ex navy bad-arses being pulled out of prison (There is some lame political cover-up after an operation gone wrong angle to explain their presence there) to go after an evil scientist who has developed a mind control device and hiding out with some vaguely motivated militants in Uruguay. It is never made clear exactly why the hell the government is using a bunch of convicts for this mission- I thought perhaps they would have been selected as it was more likely they hadn't been got at by the mind control device when it had been established the US special forces had already been compromised this way but such explanation was not offered on screen- in other words if the script-writers for this movie actually put as much thought into the plot in writing the script as I did in watching it for a few minutes it was lost in the editing stage. At least Seagal isn't playing an archaeologist, a scientist or an arch bishop or some equally unbelievable profession in this one.
Although the movie is called Submerged very little of it actually set on a submarine. It was rumoured before this one came out that it was to involve Segal on a submarine battling a sea monster but unfortunately this was not the case. (No cheap jokes about Segal playing the sea monster I promise). The first section involves the group getting together and raiding the baddies base, the middle section is actually on the submarine and actually seems kind of shoehorned in, almost as though they wanted to make this mind control action picture and then found half the budget had been blown on a submarine set they were then obliged to use. The last section of this meandering and goofy storyline is set in some South American city (Yes I'm too lazy to look it up).
The plot is meandering, is full of holes and makes little sense (I was quite frankly shocked) but the film is full of action and is never dull, even if it is because of unintentional laughs, of which there are many. My two favourites- Seagal's ultra cheesy slow mo entrance- chained in shackles walking slowly toward the camera (Naturally) with loud heavy metal playing in the background in a lame attempt to make him look cool. The second and funniest is at the end when Segal kicks one of the main bad guys about forty metres through the air accompanied by some bizarre trumpet blast sound effect. Seagal doesn't actually do much in the way of martial arts (Wonder why?) but there are plenty of goofy action sequences such as a Commando like sequence where Segal and friends take on a small army, complete with tanks and barely get hurt. As I said, the movie is fast moving and all over the place shifting from location to location, from a dam/naval facility to a submarine, to the streets of a South American city, to an opera house, to a cartoonesque super-villain base/ laboratory. There is a large supporting cast to distract from Seagals non-acting, most of whom are dead by the end of the movie, including two Lock Stock and two Smoking Barrels alumni- Vinnie Jones, applying his usual cheerfully violent soccer hooligan type character that brings some much needed colour to the screen and Hatchet Harry. Most of Seagal's team is forgettable, the only other ones I remember a few days after watching it are stiff faced woman and skinny Latino dude.
In summation, if you want to watch a stupid, cheesy but on the whole entertaining(ly bad) action flick and laugh at the comedy institution that is Steven Seagal then Submerged is pure gold.
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