Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995): Breakdown by Rantbo
Seagal uses his nurturing skills learned by babysitting Miss July ‘89 to take his recently orphaned niece on a train ride through the mid-northwest. He’s doing this because brother has recently died in a plane crash, that oddly enough, wasn’t caused by a terrorist attack–so far as we know. But just when you think that this movie will bore you to death with uninteresting non-neck-snapping family bullshit, the action kicks in. And it doesn’t stop.
Of all the Die Hard knock-offs, this is near the top of the list of well-done ones. In fact, when compared to an actual Die Hard movie, LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD, it’s much better. And it’s practically the same story:
Technologically inclined computer whiz designs high-tech equipment for shady government organization, gets shit-canned and then uses his talents to make a shit load of money under guise of terrorizing the stooges that let him go. Sound a little like Olyphantastic and Die Hard 4? How sad is it that FOX had to rip-off a 12 year old movie that was a rip-off of one of their own? From the same series, no less!
However, the way the plot carried out in UNDER SIEGE 2 is quite different from LFODH, in that it’s done really well. It’s a hard R, older school (I say older, because there was still WAY too much 90s CG shit going on) action flick, with tons of gory kills and a villain with Hans Gruber like charisma.
Eric Bogosian is Travis Dane.
Check out the monologue he gives right after commandeering the train:
Dane: “Good evening ladies and gentlemen, this is your captor speaking. There’s been a slight change in your travel plans tonight. You have, you will note, been moved to the last two cars of the train for your own well being. First, I’d like to call your attention to the highly trained men, with the automatic weapons in your cars. In the event of an emergency, they may be called upon to shoot you. Your safety is our primary concern. However, if you try anything stupid, federal regulations require that I kill you. So, please, no hero shit.”
Thankfully, Seagal does not comply.
The movie is not perfect, though. As I mentioned above, the mid-90s CG craze, combined with too much green screen, took away from some of the more practical bare-knuckled grit of earlier Seagal vehicles. I for one would much rather watch Seagal pound on a guy than his stunt-double jumping in front of non-existent explosions. But this film still has plenty of the former.
But I can’t forgive them for Ryback’s new sidekick, Boddy Zachs. Think Argyle, but only much more cocky and working side-by-side the McClane. Groan. But, in the end, this is still a very solid action flick and I sincerely hope that one of these days the right amount of money will exchange hands and allow for us to see Ryback back in action for UNDER SIEGE III: THE COOK OFF. And with Ryback being a chef, they’d have the perfect excuse as to why Seagal has gotten so fat! This so needs to happen.
[HOW BAD-ASS IS THE MAIN CHARACTER?]
Steven Seagal is Casey Fucking Ryback
“You know what this is? This is a Navy Cross. It’s awarded for bravery… My Uncle Casey’s got two of them! And he’s got medals at home that are so secret he can never show them to anybody… I guess he’s a hero.”
“Casey Ryback’s a former SEAL Team captain, a counter-terrorist expert.”
“He’s the best there is.”
“Oh, shit! You definitely a bad mutha fucka.”
“You know, I’ve never been afraid of anybody. But that Uncle of yours scares me. And I like it!”
This time around, Seagal plays Ryback with a lot less humor and dialogue. He instead prefers to look stoic and pissed at everything, trumping around the train cars squinting like Eastwood and sneering. The DTV Seagal has taken root. Oh, and to reiterate once again, Ryback is still Steven Seagal.
[THE BODY COUNT: A CONSERVATIVELY ESTIMATED 2,150]
Lawd have mercy, there are a BUNCH of great kills in this one. Seagal himself takes out less people, but he’s quite a bit more violent about it how. And you have to give him a little slack as he is in a limited space scenario. And he still gets a very impressive 24, and considering the manner in which he disposes of them, I’d say the body count this time is slightly more satisfying than part one, so that’s a bonus. Seagal’s sidekick also scores some points and along with a couple rando deaths, adds another 5 to team Ryback.
Twenty nine kills does not, however, come close to the estimated 2,117 kills team Da Bad Guys, rack up. The 17 is the count I got from innocent bystanders, military personnel and friendly fire. The 100 comes from a large passenger plane that Dane has blasted out of the sky and the other two-thousand is a low-ball estimate of how many will die from the initial explosion and fallout of a Chinese bomb-making plant that he eviscerates. So, even being extremely conservative, the bad guys whipped some ass this time.
[MOST SATISFYING DEATH]
Have to go with the best overkill, which also happens to be the main villain. Bonus. A few minutes before the sappy song and credits play, Seagal shoots Dane in the gut through his laptop, which sends him falling out of the runaway train. But that’s not all. Not even close. Much like in a horror film, just when you think Seagal has gotten away to safety, Dane comes outta nowhere and grabs on to Seagal’s leg as he is climbing a rope ladder into a helicopter. Dane follows him up to the chopper door, but Ryback sends him on a one-way bullet train to Hell by slamming the side-door to the aircraft, cutting off all Dane’s fingers and sending him into the blazing inferno that was the passenger train.
He screams Ryback’s name all the way down. Awesome.
[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]
I got nothing. I could try to misconstrue the knife-fight between Seagal and Penn, but it would be grasping at straws. This film is simply not gay. Seagal proves yet again that his characters have little to no interest in sex—at least, while the camera’s are rolling…
Proving Seagal’s badassness, when he breaks his vow of abstinence, he does so on the razors edge of social acceptance.
[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]
The government launches a global satellite equipped with an elite 18 megajoule multiple burst particle beam weapon and the first thing they use it for is to scope out the fake tits on a beach bimbo.
Casey’s niece is captured by the bad guys and used for leverage, but she is represented as a strong-willed young woman, who is willing to die to protect others. So, I can’t count that. Shit.
There is a Female Bad Guy that Knock-Off Argyle sends flying out the door of a chopper, but she was kicking his ass and the only reason he won was because he used a move shown to him by another woman–scuse me, another girl. So, there’s nothing outside of the obligatory tit shot that I can think of. Looking back now, I’m not sure why the Hell I thought this was such a good action movie. What with no gay undertones or hatin’ on women…
[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]
You know right away that Seagal and the Penultimate Villain, Marcus Penn are destined to show-down and the end result doesn’t disappoint. After threatening Seagal’s niece and forcing Seagal to disarm, Penn shows a bit of honor and decides to battle Seagal, mano-a-mano. Big mistake. There’s one moment when Penn actually connects a kick, but Seagal is back on his feet in about 2 seconds. Other than that, it’s a home-team shut-out. Seagal bludgeons the big bad commando and leaves him with a broken neck on the floor of a filth covered galley.
“Nobody beats me in the kitchen.”
It’s the first and last time that Seagal references his day job while killing and it just begged to be done more often. Like after he blows up two guys with a makeshift bomb, “Now we’re cooking with fire!” Or after he pulls off one of his many limb-snaps, “Can’t stop global terrorism without breaking a few legs!” Or have him fight a guy with an egg-beater and after knocking him out say, “Whipped his ass!” Or how about after punching a guy in the throat, “You want fries with that?” and then have the guy look at him all WFT? And Seagal jabs both of his eyes out. With fries. Stuff like that.
[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]
No body beats Seagal in the kitchen–or the passenger car, or the luggage car, or the locomotive, or the caboose, or on-top of the train, or in a helicopter, or hanging off the side of a cliff, or…
[THE SYMPTOMS OF SEAGAL: 3 outta 5]
[X] Background With Government Organization
[X] Performs An Overkill
[X] Snaps A Bad Guy’s Appendage
[ ] Speaks Another Language
[ ] Sports a Ponytail
[THE CHECKLIST: 16 outta 25]
[X] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor” [Seagal]
[X] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[X] Crotch Attack
[X] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[ ] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[ ] Factory/Warehouse
[X] Giant Explosion(s)
[X] Heavy Artillery
[X] Improvised Weapon(s)
[X] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation
[ ] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[ ] Manly Embrace(s)
[ ] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting
[ ] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[X] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[X] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[X] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[ ] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[X] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[X] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[ ] Tis The Season
[X] Torture Sequence(s)
[ ] Unnecessary Sequel
[X] Vehicle Chase(s)
[X] Vigilante Justice