Sony // 2006 // 95 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // January 5th, 2007
Just in time for the holidays: Steven Seagal!
"Attack Force." Is this not the most generic title for an action movie you've ever see? Rest assured, the film lives down to it.
Steven Seagal plays -- are you ready for this -- Marshall Lawson, a commander of some kind of high-falootin' elite military unit. Lawson finds himself embroiled in an incoherent government conspiracy, involving corrupt generals, Eurotrash bad guys and an illegal chemical called CTX, which gives the user a boost in fighting prowess and makes him or her exceedingly ill-tempered.
This is evident when a squad of Lawson's soldiers is butchered by a prostitute on CTX one night, forcing Lawson and his love interest (Lisa Lovbrand) to start digging for the truth. But the sinister cabal at the top on the conspiracy isn't thrilled with Lawson's resourcefulness and act to stop him. Meanwhile, a psycho Frenchman has doomsday plans to release the CTX in the water supply, turning the city's residents into whacked-out ultra-violent monsters.
That sure is a full plate of crime fighting! Is Marshall up to the task?
Of course he is! He's played by Steven Seagal! And we all know that any character Seagal plays is indestructible. The Marhsall Lawson character is especially imposing, mainly due to choppy editing and a self-aggrandizing script (which Seagal had a hand in writing); supporting characters are constantly saying how awesome and bad-ass a he is and blah blah blah. This is not new and par for the course for a Seagal movie.
Despite the annoying ego and the generous paunch and out-of-control mullet associated with these direct-to-DVD Seagal efforts, one could at least count on a modicum of action. This is where Attack Force (I can't get over how God-awful that title is) nosedives, committing the cardinal trespass of wannabe action films: failing to include action.
This is one the most boring "mainstream" action flicks I've ever had to sit through. There's a brief shootout in the beginning, some overstylized hand-to-hand spotted throughout and total letdown of a finale. That's it. The rest of the film is taken up with nonsensical plotting and dramatic music cues that make you think something big and awesome is just around the corner, yet nothing ever materializes.
Compounding this dearth of havoc is the utterly ludicrous story. Attack Force wanders into Resident Evil territory with the CTX storyline. The addicts hopped up on the drug have superhuman strength and can punch their enemies through concrete walls. Also, their eyes flick back and forth in a weird, supernatural way, allowing jumpy soldiers to identify them and put bullet sin their heads.
It's all, of course, a Big Government Conspiracy, and instead of wiping out trippy French dudes, Lawson and his pals go after American soldiers, which, conspiracy or not, is tough to root for their deaths. Thankfully, the violence is so light and brief you won't feel guilty for long.
I haven't hit on the worst part of this idiot movie. For some unknown reason, Attack Force is flush with very, very obvious and very, very bad over-dubbing. At one moment the actors are delivering their lines and the next, I'm listening to someone else's voice, badly synched over mismatched lip movements. The worst offender? Seagal himself. Periodically, Seagal's dialogue is replaced with a totally new voice that sounds nothing like him. Simultaneously laughable and pathetic, just like the movie, except replace "laughable" with "brain-crushingly boring."
The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer looks fine and the 5.1 surround pushes the score well enough, though that ridiculous dubbing earns some demerits. No extras.
This movie stinks. Don't watch it.
The accused is locked up in a small, uncomfortable box and dumped into a deep pond somewhere in the Catskills.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 95 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Rated R