Left for dead with his wife killed in their house, L.A. Detective Mason Storm will have to make a quick recovery, expose those behind the murder and take revenge.Left for dead with his wife killed in their house, L.A. Detective Mason Storm will have to make a quick recovery, expose those behind the murder and take revenge.Left for dead with his wife killed in their house, L.A. Detective Mason Storm will have to make a quick recovery, expose those behind the murder and take revenge.
It's true that Seagal has yet to make a perfect film in his thoroughly uneven and distinguished career, but "Hard to Kill" certainly ranks as one of his best and one of my personal favorite pictures of the actor. Two years after breaking and busting the heads of corrupt CIA agents as Nico Toscani in his electrifying 1988 debut "Above the Law," Seagal returns not as the pony-tailed Toscani but as Mason Storm, the most unstoppable cop SOB that ever lived.
After getting home movie footage of an aspiring political candidate (Bill Sadler) conspiring with shadowy underworld types on tape, Storm is tracked down by corrupt cops and nameless and faceless goons and they shotgun the unstoppable SOB into a seven-year coma while also wiping out his wife and young son. O'Malley (Frederick Coffin), Storm's dedicated Internal Affairs friend, whisks him away into a coma-care unit under the assumed name of "John Doe."
Seven years later, Storm awakens and with the help of gorgeous nurse Andy Stewart (Seagal's then real-life, lovestruck wife Kelly Le Brock, who manages to catch peaks at our hero's anatomy), he trains intensely to regain his strength using the Oriental healing arts, renews his Aikido skills, and sharpens his eyes with that good ol' police-issue. All this culminating in some very nasty, neck-breaking, arm-twisting action.
As somewhat mis-directed by Bruce Malmuth and written by Steven McKay, "Hard to Kill" is undoubtedly one of the actor's most competently skilled performances because he's able to rise above the average material and make it his own. The problem may be with Seagal though. He snaps a few wrists and what's this? - he throws out one-liners - most of which are quite corny and fall flat on their face and simply put aren't Seagal's strong points. His strengths are in the arm-snapping and finger-breaking.
But still, Seagal's fists of fury are at their best (because that's what he does best) because this time around, he's mad and it's wise to not get characters played by Steven Seagal mad. Pretty soon after Storm has regained his skills and strength, the corrupt cops and goons that put him into his coma come back to finish the job. And this time, he's ready.
The action begins to pick up about half-way through and from there on in it's non-stop, which is true Seagal fashion, if you get my drift. But with "Hard to Kill," it's the seven-year Storm, and there's no letting up.
- May 21, 2006