Film Scouts Reviews

"Under Siege 2: Dark Territory"

by Eleanor Ringel

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The most unsettling thing about this mundane sequel isn't the overload of mindless violence or the repetitive close-ups of bad guys with knives in their throats or even watching an actor named Morris Chestnut try to pull off a jive -talking update on a Stepin Fetchit porter. No, the really disturbing aspect of Steven Seagal's movie Is how it knows exactly what Its audience wants. Which it, exactly what they've seen before. And that's exactly what they get. Seagal and his pouty teenage niece (Katherine Heigl) are on a cross-country vacation aboard the elegant Grand Continental (the movie's true star) when the train is taken over by terrorists. Their leader (Eric Bogosian) is a crazed computer nerd who knows how to turn a top-secret government satellite into his personal killing machine. His deal: $1 billion is a Swiss bank or bye-bye Pentagon. Whatever ingenuity director Geoff Murphy can muster is expended on inventive ways to kill supporting players. As for Seagal, he remains a bottom-of-the-barrel action hero, whose whisper monotone grows more irritating with each movie. At least the original had a couple of first-class scenery chewers (Tommy Lee Jones, Gary Busey) as the bad guys. Bogosian isn't bad, but it's hard to feel threatened by a guy who looks like Elliot Gould's younger brother.

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