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Review: Under Siege (1992)

Directed by: | 103 minutes | , adventure, | Actors: , Tommy Lee Jones, , , , Patrick O’Neal, , , , Troy Evans, , , , ,

‘Under Siege’ will go down as Steven Seagal’s best , which is not directly a huge compliment to the film, but at the very least shows that, with the right director and the right role, this limited martial arts actor has to hit a not too muddy figure. His only duties are to look under his eyebrows semi-threateningly, spit some well-timed one-liners, and well, just do his “thing”, as it is so beautifully called. Steven Seagal’s “thing” is aikido, a Japanese martial art (or rather martial art) in which the opponent is defeated using his strength when attacking. This can guarantee – as also visible in the film – elegant, often effortless looking movements, but in the case of Seagal in ‘Under Siege’ it can also result in a knife in the skull followed by electrocution by throwing the opponent into a radar screen. Elegant or not, it is a pleasure anyway.

Although Steven Seagal plays the great hero in the film, it’s a good thing the filmmakers didn’t give his character much background or nuanced dialogue and complex decisions. The best man has the charisma and (verbal) persuasiveness of a bowl of noodles, so he comes into his own when he uses as few words as possible to slash his opponents. And it is precisely these opponents who ultimately turn out to be the director’s greatest asset. The always reliable Gary – “No, my name is not ” – Busey and the equally consistent Tommy Lee Jones play a delightful villain duo of a crazy cop and a -esque rock star who together decide to occupy a battleship. Alternately dry, over-the-top and intimidating, they steal every scene they appear in.

The fact that ‘Under Siege’ is nothing more than a snack is due to a well-known plot and structure, a relatively lack of tension, incredible plot twists and loose, little effectual storylines. After a brief look at the story, many movie viewers will think, “That’s exactly ‘Die Hard’ on a ship.” And indeed it makes very little difference. Still, the dynamics are slightly different. These are two villains and Ryback soon also gets a lovely assistant by his side to talk to. Furthermore, the film is sometimes more reminiscent of ‘First Blood’ in the sense that Ryback positions himself as an underdog because he initially pretends to be (only) a cook. Also, there is the same feeling that the villains are actually moving into his territory now, and also makes him, like Rambo, ingenious booby traps (like an improvised bomb in a microwave that detonates when the villains turn on the light / electricity in the kitchen). As he continues to show his true nature and the villains eventually (several deaths on their side) reach the news that he is actually a Navy Seal – and an expert in bombs, weapons, and martial arts – it’s a beautiful moment of cheer for the viewer. . “Get away now, because Ryback is coming to get you!”. The fact that he doesn’t seem to be in danger for a moment (apart from a painful swim late in the film) unfortunately diminishes the perceived tension in the film. It is not very credible that the armed to the teeth villains can so easily get on board without being checked. The ease with which Ryback and his crew can load and operate the guns on board also makes people think, and supposedly threatening acts or means of pressure by the villains later turn out to have had little effect. Like when a hold is flooded where the ship’s crew is locked up, with the idea of ​​having Ryback rescue them and trap him. When finally the shutters open again, it can be seen that the men would actually have been in no danger for a long time, because the water was not even up to their knees. This could have been made a lot more urgent or life-threatening. Like when a hold is flooded where the ship’s crew is locked up, with the idea of ​​having Ryback rescue them and trap him. When finally the shutters open again, it can be seen that the men would actually have been in no danger for a long time, because the water was not even up to their knees. This could have been made a lot more urgent or life-threatening. Like when a hold is flooded where the ship’s crew is locked up, with the idea of ​​having Ryback rescue them and trap him. When finally the shutters open again, it can be seen that the men would actually have been in no danger for a long time, because the water was not even up to their knees. This could have been made a lot more urgent or life-threatening.

For a film like this, however, these are relatively nitpicking drawbacks. Yes, the film could have been stronger and pulled out above average by a stronger script or more palpable threat, but with the material present here, director Davis knows, who later played the solid (action) thrillers ‘A Perfect Murder’ and ‘The Fugitive’ would make a very nice action movie. ‘Under Siege’ simply gives enthusiasts what they want. Nice martial arts action, free nude from Erika Eleniak, and a bunch of memorable villains. With that you just have a great enjoyable movie in your hands.

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