Welcome to The Mundane Adventures of a Fangirl

I consider myself a Fangirl. What does that mean, you ask? A "fanboy" in the most common understanding is a hardcore fan of 'genre' based entertainment in particular. In my case - science-fiction and comic book based movies and television. Because I'm a chick - it's fangirl, not fanboy. There you have it! I am a big movie fan, however, not necessarily a 'film' fan. And now - I have the forum to present my opinions to the public! These will mainly be movie reviews -that will always be my opinion - repeat OPINION. Just what I think, and in no way do I present my opinion as fact. I hope you enjoy and maybe it will help you decide what to see at the movie theater this weekend!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Retro Movie Review: Under Siege (1992, R, 103 minutes)

It occurred to me that because this past weekend was Easter Weekend, I did not go to the movie theater (what?!!?).  Instead my family and I hosted a small Avenger Movie-a-thon to prep for the release of the Avengers in early May.  We watched Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Thor, and Captain America.  So I certainly could have rambled on about that for a bit:  which of those is the best (Iron Man), which was the most surprising (Thor), which is my personal favorite (probably tied between Cap and Hulk), and the fact that Stan Lee appears in all four of them.  However, my upcoming Avengers review will no doubt mention all of that.  I didn't want to let a week go without writing something, so what to cover?  Well, I have decided that for any week I don't go to the theater to something new...I'll review something older picked at random.  Enjoy!

Die Hard is the greatest action movie ever made.  This is not just my opinion, this is the result of an AFI list (American Film Institute).  It has everything action movies are supposed to have:  great hero, incredible villian, 'splosions, and Reginald VelJohnson.  In the 80s, action movies featured insanely larger than life heroes that were almost invincible and totally unrelateable.  Then came Die Hard at the end of the 80s and the movie introduction of Bruce Willis, previously only known for TV comedy, some film comedy, and incredible blues harmonica (I love the CD that I have: "the Return of Bruno".  His version of Secret Agent Man is wonderful?).  Willis's hero was a regular guy trapped in extraordinary circumstances, who did what he could with he had.

Because Die Hard was so astounding to the movie community at large, after it's release, we were treated to many movies that were one-man-against-an-army themed and billed as "Die Hard on a <blank>".  Insert your own location for the blank.  The best of these was Under Siege (Die Hard on a Aircraft Carrier!). 
Under Siege is one of the best in Steven Seagal's extensive filmography (the other good one is Hard to Kill).  Say what you like about Seagal, after all, he seems to have legitimately gone crazy...or at least Southern Border Cop crazy.  There are many stories as to who and what Steven Seagal was before he started acting. He apparently lived in Japan for a while. He loves blues music and sings and plays the guitar.  There are still MMA fighters who claim he is teaching them various moves (front kick!), and occaisionally you hear rumors of him training military units.  I have no idea what the truth is, and honestly, I kind of like it that way.
Under Siege is entertaining from the word go.  Featuring Seagal at his aikido best, and Tommy Lee Jones back was he was less grumpy and more crazy, and Gary Busey back when he was still crazy, but more understandable, the movie also features almost all the extras from Tommy Lee's The Fugitive (repeated viewings of both of these will demonstrate this to you). 
Directed by Andrew Davis, who had done several other Seagal movies (as well as The Fugitive in 1993), Under Siege shows Davis's skill with action directing.  The ship is a very claustrophobic setting for a movie of this nature, but it is really used well.  He clearly had pull with Seagal as he was able to get him to cut his trademark ponytail for this movie!
Seagal is a former Navy Seal (isn't he always), who has a problem with authority (doesn't he always), and is serving as the cook on an aircraft carrier that just so happens to get taken over by Tommy Lee Jones's ragtag group of terrorists.  Busey playes the Chief Executive Officer on the ship.  Baywatch star(?) Erika Eleniak pops up (literally - she pops out of a cake) for the required PTS in the movie.  Incidentally, it was tough being a female fan of action movies during this timeframe, as every single one of them featured a PTS (pointless tit shot).  Where were the PCSs for us ladies?  We do go to these movies to oogle the hot guys, you know!  If we're lucky, we get the attractive male star with his shirt off for a scene or two. 
The movie follows one improbable situation to another, as Seagal manges to take back the ship and gradually free all the other crew members.  The final knife fight between he and Tommy Lee Jones is very entertaining.  Big popcorn fun and some over the top crazy acting result in one of my favorite action movies.  Certainly one of the best Seagal movies, if not the best.  The movie did well enough to justify a sequel, which was actually pretty good:
It could have been billed as "Die Hard on a Train!".  It features Katherine Heigel before she started making the world's most annoying romantic comedys.  It's not as good as the first one, but if you haven't seen it in a while, go back and check it out!
8 out of 10....looses multiple points for Eleniak...she is seriously awful.  But, gains points for me playing 'identify the extra', which I think is a game only I play.
Bonus Video 1:  Fugitive trailer; if you haven't seen it in a while either, you should watch it again, it really is excellent.
Bonus Video 2:  Clip from Seagal's 2009 A&E reality show.

Bonus Video 3:   I was serious about the blues music thing....

1 comment:

  1. You always know what you're gonna get with Segal and I often enjoy switching my brain off for a couple of hours and watching him slap the bad guys around in films like Out for Justice and Fire Down Below.
    Segal films are definitely a guilty pleasure nowadays, I actually own Under Siege on DVD and I've never forgotten the look of amusement on the check out guy's face when I bought it and Anaconda 3 in the purchase!
    I enjoyed your review.