Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Steven Seagal is . . . Against the Dark

So after several months, the newest Steven Seagal movie is out. I have to admit, I went into this one pretty skeptical. I had heard the tidbit that in this movie Seagal fights vampires. I'm really not into that sort of shit. Vampires have never really done anything to fire my imagination. I especially dislike all of their most modern incarnations. You either get the ruffled shirt, androgynous, Euro-gay vampires like in Interview with the Vampire, the goth/emo vampires like in Twilight, or the leather-clad vampires that walk around to techno music like in Underworld and Blade Trinity.

So which type of vampires do you get in this movie? None. You want to know why? BECAUSE THERE AIN'T NO FUCKING VAMPIRES IN THIS MOVIE. They are really zombies in the vein of 28 Days Later and Resident Evil. Oh sure, they call them vampires in this movie but they don't really do anything like vampires. Well, this one does drink blood from a glass but that's about it.

So what about the movie and why is Seagal fighting Vampire/Zombies? The movie starts out by defining the word "infection" for us. I shit you not. In 21st century movies, some nuclear radiation or some shit from space just isn't enough to make people zombies. It always has to be some viral infection. We learn that your standard zombie apocalypse has occurred due to this virus. There are, of course, brothers of man out there struggling to survive. But there are also teams of zombie hunters that walk around in black leather with swords killing as many zombies as they can find. Seagal is a member of one of these teams. Since Seagal is having to clean up the mess, I can only assume that the CIA had something to do with the creation of this virus. It's never mentioned in the movie. It's just my guess.

We first see Seagal and his team rescue a kid from some zombies. As soon as the zombies are killed and the kid is safe, Seagal says "we're not here to decide what's right and wrong. We're here to decide who lives and who dies." As my friend Craig said, what the hell is that supposed to mean? It makes NO SENSE in the context of the scene. Now listen, I am well aware that DTV Seagal movies usually don't make any sense. But usually the nonsense is so absurd that David Lynch couldn't have even thought it up. This was just sort of odd and lame.

You better enjoy that scene and line though because you aren't going to get much more Seagal for another 30 minutes. The movie shifts focus to a group of survivors in a hospital. They fight a few zombies, argue with each other about what's best to do, and try to make their way through, what seems like, the biggest God Damn hospital on Earth! Seriously. They don't have to fight zombies at every turn. There isn't that much to slow them down. But it takes them 90 minutes to traverse this place! They are either piss poor at following exit signs or this thing is as big as the Mall of America. We get establishing shots of the hospital every now and again. It looks like a standard hospital except where you would normally see a cross or a corporate logo, there is some weird symbol that looks like it came from a goth kid Vampire RPG. I guess the company that built the hospital knew that one day it would be filled with zombie/vampires and decided to consult some goth gamers for their corporate logo. I digress.

Most of Seagal's other lines, when he's actually in the movie, are simple statements like "you clear that room!" You could have hired French Stewart to say that shit! Why waste Seagal on such tripe? He also carries this weird, fake looking sword to fight the zombie/vampires with. It doesn't even look like it's made of metal. It looks like a lousy home-made prop that some costumer would bring to Dragoncon. The description on the box refers to Seagal as a "kitana master." This dumb-ass sword looks like no kitana you've ever seen. A Hitori Hanzo this is not.

To further discuss this asinine plot would be a waste of my time. If you've ever seen a movie you've heard pretty much every word anyone says in this POS. The odd thing is, the plot is coherent and maybe that's the problem. I am used to Seagal movies like Attack Force and Submerged that started with fantasy element plots and were changed in the editing room from aliens to gangsters. I enjoyed them being gangsters but still doing weird shit that made no sense in the new context. This movie has none of that. It is just painfully dull, doesn't have enough Seagal, and when he is on screen he rarely does or says anything cool. Of this movie's 90 minute run time, I would guess Seagal is only in it for 20 minutes at the most.

Keith David is in the movie as your typical military guy who is going to launch an attack on the hospital at dawn whether Seagal and his team are out or not. Like I said earlier, if you've ever seen a movie you can guess everything that is said in his scenes. The biggest crime is that Seagal and David never share screentime together. No Marked for Death reunion here.

I would really prefer that Seagal stick with non-fantasy concepts for his movies. I'd much rather have him screwed by the likes of the CIA, black gangsters, or childhood friends gone wrong than dumb-ass shit like zombie/vampires. But regardless of what enemy he fights, I would really like him to actually be in the whole movie! This shit amounted to a glorified cameo. I love his really bad movies. Many of you that read this will never understand how I can love movies like Out of Reach or Out for a Kill. I know that. But Against the Dark was bad in a non-entertaining way. It was total ass. I'd be hard pressed to recommend this to anyone but the most hardcore Seagalogists.

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