Hard to Kill: hard to shake…

May 15, 2009

Hard to Kill

starring Steven Seagal, Kelly LeBrock
directed/written by Bruce Malmuth/Steven McKay
1990, Warner Bros., 96 minutes.



Steven Seagal is really something — the Gene Simmons of the movie industry, except not nearly as influential or iconic except to fringe violence groupies. Seagal proves himself to be a strange spectacle in these flicks, where each confrontation is set up to maximize Seagal’s personally justified torture. He callously murders thugs, moody scumbags with a sadistic streak, people who deserve nothing and are nobody if not for Seagal’s vengeance. Not only are his character names reminiscent of ’90s porn stars (here it’s Mason Storm; and calling Seagal a character actor is being pretty generous), the film itself conveys every romantic relationship as softcore porn or romance novel caliber. Imagine a porno, but instead of sexually explicit scenes, we see the actor’s throbbing hard-on for permanently maiming other sentient beings. One might say this is comparable to overly violent stuff like the recently reviewed Fist of the North Star, but then that has high visual and musical integrity.

The stuff is entertaining, but probably in ways unintended by the original cast and crew. Seagal runs like a handicapped child, has two expressions (squinting and totally squinting), and his love interest is played by his (then) real-life wife, who reputedly later divorced him and refrained from publicly speaking out against him for fear of violent repercussions. There are a few notable highlights: the beginning when Seagal is in the hospital; the entire “healing” montage where he does self-acupuncture and practices his cat strikes only to shag a babe right there on the carpet afterwards; and the part where he smashes a guy’s leg in an alley, and the guy very audibly relays that Seagal has just horribly hurt him and he will never be the same (note that this is nothing compared to one of his recent films where he repeatedly kicks a guy in the balls until the man dies).

Funny, how Seagal in his mid-90s films started throwing left-wing, environmental crackpot garbage at people, because he rediscovered himself through Native American shamanism (and Aikido, and Tibetan Buddhism, and so on). An original stance for an action star to be taking, one supposes, but then again — how is it all any different than the gung-ho right-wing nonsense we get from Arnie or Stallone? Ultimately it makes no difference, because if you don’t agree with Seagal’s point of view, you’re only good for a cold-blooded maiming. If that isn’t despotic, what is? In that sense, Seagal and Stallone and Mel Gibson all are barking up the same maladjusted tree.

Man, at least horror movie villains don’t operate under the totally insane pretext of being the guided hand of divine retribution. Jeebas!

@ Amazon
@ IMDb


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