Review: SEIZED, Just Another Day at the Office for Scott Adkins
You know you’re in for a good treat every time you see the names of Isaac Florentine and Scott Adkins pop-up in a movie, especially if you adore action cinema that much. Just like his Undisputed and Ninja movies, Seized sees Florentine makes the best out of Adkins’ fighting prowess in a chain of testosterone-inducing scenes.
This movie begins by swiftly setting up who’s who and what’s happening. Richard (Adkins) is a middle-aged man who works as a security consultant in Mexico, living with his only child Taylor (Matthew Garbacz). Florentine doesn’t waste his time to show us that this father-son relationship isn’t working well as Taylor constantly rebelling against everything his dad says each time they talk to each other. The kid also seems to have a temper problem, repeatedly gets into a fight with his schoolmates no matter how many times Richard tells him violence won’t always solve his problem.
Then we dive straight into the conflict after a mysterious figure shots Richard with a tranquilizer at his house and when he wakes up, Taylor is nowhere to be found. He gets a call from one of Mexico’s most notorious cartel heads, Mzamo (Mario Van Peebles), who addresses Richard as Nero. Mzamo tells him Taylor is in a safe place as long as Richard is willing to do some “cleaning” tasks for him. Despite the apparent escalating intensity, Adkins’ somewhat plain acting during this part is a bit bugging and not enough to convey the image of a distressed father; thus, it’ll be hard for the viewers to sympathize and understand his anger. He even has the time to play funny, throwing witty remarks at his son’s captor.
What follows next is a highly amusing videogame-like beat ‘em up brutality. Richard must pursue several targets as instructed by Mzamo, while the difficulty is slowly increasing as he weaves through his prey one by one. First, he only has to sweep an isolated restaurant to kill a handful of evil goons, a warm-up to showcase Richard’s superb physicality. Then he should climb a three-story nightclub full of mean thugs to eliminate one of Mzamo’s competitors, followed by a fiesta in a fancy chateau swarming with heavily-armed mercenaries as the dessert. This whole madness is what we’re here for, seeing Adkins unleashes his fists and a barrage of bullets to countless bad guys. The fluid cameraworks and Adkins’s movements suit each other all right, effectively building up the thrill and excitement needed for the movie to work.
There are recurring filler scenes in-between the missions where Richard is allowed to talk with Taylor for a moment. These transitions act as a device to unveil more context to the characters, such as why the family now live in Mexico, what’s with the Nero nickname for Richard, and why a supposedly peace-loving guy turns out to be capable of slaughtering so many crooks. The substance of each revelation is pretty much nothing extraordinary, a tired trope even for an action flick standard because creating a compelling story is never Florentine’s strong suit nor the movie’s primary focus. He only employs that sort of basic scenario as a way for this film to make sense at the very least.
None of the characters in Seized is interesting, given that they’re all so one-dimensional except for Mzamo. He starts as an outright villain who wishes to become the sole crimelord in Mexico; hence he forcibly hires Richard to eradicate his rivals. Yet his concise interaction with Taylor, where he suddenly changes into a wise man handing out words of wisdom, makes us question his true motive and hinting the reason behind his ambition might not be entirely wicked. Still, it’s hard to guess what he’s actually thinking due to Van Peebles’ adept performance that yields a glimpse of Samuel L. Jackson’s characters in Quentin Tarantino’s movies: carefree and flamboyant — judging from his appearance and behavior.
Seized provides a delightful mindless spectacle segmented to those who seek the pleasure of adrenaline rush. Florentine doesn’t bother to outdo his previous films, though it ends up being as enjoyable as his other collaborations with Adkins.
Seized is now available on various VOD platforms.