Contributor; London
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Steven Seagal is... Born To Raise Hell. He's also probably hoping that his cameo in Robert Rodriguez's Machete will drag him out of the interminable straight-to-DVD exile in which he's lurked for many a year.

Steven Seagal is... working for the International Drug Task Force (IDTF) in Romania, on the trail of some Gypsy home invaders and a Russian drug trafficker. He uses his martial arts skills less these days, preferring ballistics instead. When his close combat skills are required, he develops a magical ability to send his foes flying into the air/ground/table/window/car door by simply gesticulating mildy. Just as well, since his aforementioned mass and lack of motivation renders him a presence rather than a threat.

Steven Seagal is... orange. His hair is also a rather unconvincing shade of boot polish black. He conceals his ever expanding girth with a black leather jacket which he even retains during a ludicrous 'love' scene with a tiny (naked) girl who must be at least half his age. I'm not judging. It just looks very, very odd indeed. The entire film, it should be noted is populated by skinny, half-naked girls wielding guns and/or drugs. Once nimble on his feet, Seagal now looks like a lumbering walrus, barely summoning the energy to read his lines, which come out with all the conviction of a lottery winner finishing his last contracted day as a postman.

Steven Seagal is... very wise. Oh yes, he's also ethical, wild, tough, vengeful and caring. All in a single facial expression. Well, more of a stance than an expression, I suppose. It's ok though, because director Lauro Chartround employs all sorts of bizarre stylistic tics (which contribute nothing whatsoever to the story-telling) to distract from Seagal's inertia.

Steven Seagal is... crisply reproduced on screen in this Blu-ray. That, unfortunately, is not a good thing. So too, the uninspired and stereotypical aesthetic bestowed upon Eastern Europe is both drab and decidedly cheap-looking. This film will not boost tourism.

Steven Seagal is... persistent. Why does he still bother, when he clearly can't be bothered?

Born To Raise Hell is out to own on DVD, Blu-ray and EST from 18th October 2010 through Optimum Home Entertainment.

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More about Born To Raise Hell

MikeOutWestNovember 23, 2010 6:27 AM

I think I maybe liked this one a bit more than you, James. I found his fighting style to be an improvement over his last movie, A Dangerous Man (in which he really did seem to be just flailing his arms and bodychecking people into submission) - here he seemed to have remembered that he's a master of Aikido and uses his wrist-locks and throwdowns a lot better.

I thought it began terribly but slowly improved. My favourite of his recent films remains Driven to Kill. This falls quite a bit of that standard.