Driven to Kill


by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Steven Seagal is back, and this time the Weighty Warrior is playing a former member of the Russian mob, complete with a Russian accent that ranges from "OK" in some scenes to "not so hot" in others, and all the way to "not even trying"  in some scenes where he just speaks in his usual whispery Steven Seagal voice with no accent at all. He also speaks several sentences in Russian, with the same mixed results. He learned this creative inconsistency in one of his intensive acting classes  at the prestigious Kevin Costner as Robin Hood School of Fake Movie Accents.

It seems that the Stout Sensei has been out of the Russian mob for decades, and is now a peaceful beach rat who makes a living as a novelist. Unfortunately, he has to return to his home turf for his daughter's wedding, and his reappearance in the old 'hood triggers all sorts of alarm bells among his former associates. The action escalates to mayhem when the daughter's pre-nuptial preparations are interrupted by a violent assault that leaves the bride and her mother dead. Seagal, while hiding some hole cards of his own, vows to gain vengeance by systematically erasing the entire Russian mob from the face of the earth, even if doing so will require him to exterminate every last Russian, or even every last human being, on the planet. Because sometimes you DO have to throw out the baby with the bathwater. If you're a REAL man.

The basic premise of the film is a fine fit for the Seagal formula, the cinematography is actually quite good, and the storyline looks pretty good on paper, but the execution of the film is ham-fisted. The fundamental problem is that the action scenes are clumsy. Seagal has started to gain weight again after keeping his bulk under control for a few years, and he now looks bigger than ever. So he's a 58-year-old fat man, and that's really not the ideal job description for a martial arts hero. His hand-to-hand scenes are mostly shot in close-up from the chest up, and are typically shot into Seagal's face rather than from the side, as if looking over the shoulder of the baddies. As a result, the audience can usually see only Seagal's chest, head, and hands, as well as the opponents' hands. This technique disguises Seagal's age and bulk. If you are willing to accept the use of that obvious crutch, Seagal doesn't look bad in the scenes. It may be a trick caused by creative editing and speed-ups, but the Plump Paladin still seems to have fast and dextrous hands. Of course he must get a lot of chances to keep his hands nimble, judging from the number of Snickers Bars he must have to unwrap every day to get that big.

Even with all the camera tricks, the number of hand combat scenes is relatively small. Most of the fighting consists of scenes of where the Bulky Brawler blasts baddies with various firearms, presumably because gunfights represent the only kind of battle scenes in which an ancient fat man in a long overcoat can still create the illusion of being as bad-ass as the character is supposed to be.

Of course, if the fight scenes were good, we would forgive some flaws elsewhere, but lacking the strong combat scenes, we are left taking a chance that we can appreciate a Steven Seagal film for the intricately developed plot, the masterful performances, and the subtle characterizations. I'll leave it to you to guess whether that's a good bet.

Blu-Ray DVD


  No major reviews online.


n/a IMDB summary (of 10)

No score available at press time.





There is usually some nudity in Seagal's movies, and this is no exception. There is a lengthy strip club scene which features a few anonymous strippers and one particular girl giving our chubby combatant a private dance. The private dancer has a lot of screen time but I could not identify her from the credits.


Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:


Not really worth your time, even if you are a fan.