Paramount // 2010 // 96 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Roy Hrab (Retired) // April 13th, 2011
Street Justice Has No Rules.
There are only four words required: "Written by Steven Seagal."
Bobby (Seagal, Under Siege) is an agent for the International Drug Task Force, stationed in Bucharest, Romania. Bobby and his crew are looking to take down a particularly nasty dealer known as Costel (Darren Shahlavi, Slither). However, Bobby isn't Costel's only problem. As the noose tightened around Costel, he finds himself in conflict with another drug dealer, Dimitri (Dan Badarau, The Marksman). Before long, bullets are flying and bodies are dropping all over the place.
One watches a movie such as this, and what can one say but "straight-to-video." There's that, and "This movie is awful." Oh, and "This movie is terrible." There's plenty of other things to be said in a similar vain, too.
Born To Raise Hell doesn't have much to offer anyone. There's plenty of shooting, swearing, and Seagal dishing out some martial art beatdowns...but even those pathetic compared to any mainstream action movie.
There's little else to say.
But who am I to judge this film? Let these choice excerpts speak for themselves...
Bobby (after beating up some thugs in a restaurant): You see why I hate eating out?
Bartender: Where's your f-ing warrant?
Bobby (waving a shotgun): This is my warrant, b*tch.
Costel (handing a bag of money to Dimitri): It's a little short.
Dimitri: Midgets are a little short. Money should never be.
Bobby: What the f -- -- is this? You call this room safe? You don't check the cupboard? You don't look under the bed? You want to be a cop for a living? You gotta be on the ball. You're putting everybody's life at risk. What the f -- -- is wrong with you, boy?
Profoundly heady stuff, no?
Yes, it's all pretty bad. Even worse than the dialogue is the increasingly portly Seagal's habit of mumbling his lines and shuffling around slowly. Further, there are a number of pointless slow-motion and jerky editing flourishes (plus some flashbacks) that seem to have the sole purpose of adding a few minutes to the runtime. On top of all this is a weak and derivative story, featuring a bizarre and lame "men of honor" pact between Dimitri and Bobby. Worse still is the unforgivably poor quality control of this release. The disc case claims the name of Seagal's character is "Samuel Axel." However, in the film he's called Bobby and there is no "Samuel Axel." Such an error should never happen and is just plain embarrassing.
Unfortunately, the film is not lousy enough to cross over into camp territory. It teeters on the brink when Seagal starts to make love to his twenty-something girlfriend: She's naked, but he's wearing a sweatshirt, a hoodie over the sweatshirt, and pants. Pretty romantic, eh? However, despite this piece of silliness, the film is a shambles.
Technically, Born To Raise Hell has little to quibble about. The film is presented in 1080p/1.78:1. The transfer is clean and the picture is clear and detailed. However, the color scheme lacks distinction, but this is a result of a filmmaking bias toward poor lighting and drab settings rather than transfer issues. The DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio is perfectly adequate. The "high octane" soundtrack for action sequences is delivered loud and clear. Similarly, the dialogue comes through without any problems.
There are no extras.
Well, there is a touching scene where Seagal takes a disadvantaged unicorn under his wing...just kidding, there are no redeeming qualities.
Don't waste your time, money, or brain cells on this.
Well, there it is.
Review content copyright © 2011 Roy Hrab; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 96 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Official Site