Under Siege (1992) from Tuna

Under Seige (1992) is described on the package as "Die Hard on a ship." The ship is supposedly the Battleship Missouri. The part of Bruce Willis is played by Steven Seagal, who has been demoted to the position of ship's cook, probably because of a little misunderstanding over his having rearranged the face of his commanding officer. Of course he is really a Navy SEAL, expert in ...  well, whatever is needed to get through the plot.

A chopper full of entertainers and caterers arrive, supposedly from Pearl Harbor, to throw the captain a birthday party. Included in the guest list is a centerfold, Erika Eleniak, to jump out of a cake. Erika is what she appears to be, but the rest of the group actually consists of the baddies, led by a turned CIA agent (Tommy Lee Jones) who is in league with the Missouri's executive officer (Gary Busey). Their aim is to take over the ship, offload some nuclear missiles to a submarine they happen to own, and sell them to the highest bidder. This is all the more ironic as the Missouri is on her final voyage to be decommissioned. Of course it is up to Seagal, with the help of Eleniak, to stop their nefarious scheme.

I enjoyed it. The Navy policies and procedures won't stand much scrutiny here, but it was a good, fast-paced yarn, and Seagal, whom I usually find irritating, was better here than usual.



  • The widescreen transfer is anamorphically enhanced



Erika Eleniak shows her breasts when she pops out of a cake.

The Critics Vote ...

  • Super-panel consensus: just below three stars out of four. James Berardinelli 2.5/4, Roger Ebert 3/4.

  • It was nominated for Oscars for Best Sound Effects and Sound Editing.


The People Vote ...

  • Box Office Mojo. It was a minor hit. It grossed $83 million in the USA and another $70+ overseas, in a maximum of about 2300 theaters. It made a lot of money back from its $12m budget.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

Our own guideline:

  • A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre.
  • B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. In order to rate at least a B-, a film should be both a critical and commercial success. Exceptions: (1) We will occasionally rate a film B- with good popular acceptance and bad reviews, if we believe the critics have severely underrated a film. (2) We may also assign a B- or better to a well-reviewed film which did not do well at the box office if we feel that the fault lay in the marketing of the film, and that the film might have been a hit if people had known about it. (Like, for example, The Waterdance.)
  • C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by people who enjoy this kind of movie. If this is your kind of movie, a C+ and an A are indistinguishable to you.
  • C means it is competent, but uninspired genre fare. People who like this kind of movie will think it satisfactory. Others probably will not.
  • C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie, but genre addicts find it watchable. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film, but films with this rating should be approached with caution by mainstream audiences, who may find them incompetent or repulsive or both. If this is NOT your kind of movie, a C- and an E are indistinguishable to you.
  • D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-. Films rated below C- generally have both bad reviews and poor popular acceptance.
  • E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre.
  • F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.


Based on this description, this film is a B-. There are no major negatives. It was an action hit with crossover appeal. It was a box office hit; I like it; the critics liked it; it got some award nominations; it established Seagal as an action film star.

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