Picks and Pans Review: Under Siege
An old-fashioned, all-nonsense action adventure, this is not, to damn it with faint praise, Seagal's worst movie. It is fast and colorful enough to be a James Bond film, assuming the Bond humor failed to show up.
Seagal plays a disgraced Navy SEAL commando reduced to serving as cook on the about-to-be-mothballed battleship Missouri when it is hijacked by a bunch high-tech terrorists whose motivation is never clear.
Once Seagal finds out what's happening, he starts laying booby traps and smirking triumphantly, like an adult version of Macaulay Culkin.
Villains Jones and Gary Busey swagger all over the place trying to keep Seagal from thwarting their evil plan; Jones, especially, makes a convincing psycho. As a Playboy centerfold brought on board to pop out of a cake as a birthday party surprise for the ship's captain, Eleniak mostly supplies a pretty face to be glowingly lit by miscellaneous explosions.
Director Andrew Davis occasionally asks Seagal to act, but mostly he moves from shoot-out to punch-up to stab-in. And he knows the crucial truth of such films as this, which is that it doesn't suffice for Seagal to win a fight by merely sticking his thumb through an opponent's eye socket; he has to stab the guy through the top of his skull with a butcher knife too, then slam the rascal's head into a plugged-in radar screen. (R)