Deadly Crossing (aka True Justice) DVD review
|REVIEWS - DVD REVIEWS|
The new Steven Seagal show, err film with three names may put the final nail in a long action career...
Steven Seagal stars in this film-cum-extended TV show as Elijah Kane -- the tough-talkin'/can-o-whoop-ass unleashing leader of an elite undercover police unit on the trail of drug dealers in Seattle. Deadly Crossing makes up one bit of the six-part Southern Justice series, originally intended for the small screen but now being bundled out straight-to-DVD instead. Wonder why the execs decided to do that?
Well, it's bad. Really bad. That probably had something to do with it. The plot, such as it is, is this: Kane leads an undercover unit on the trail of drug dealers in Seattle. Oh right, I told you that already. Sorry, that's really all there is to say.
The whole thing feels like an extended TV pilot, albeit one where they forgot to properly introduce the characters or the set up. The opening montage in particular evokes The Sopranos with its jump-cutting car journey; a singularly terrible idea. A word to the wise for producers: if you're going to make something gangster-themed, best not imitate the best damned gangster-themed show (heck, arguably just 'show') ever. Oh, and Seattle may be attractive in an 'ooh, Frasier lives there' sort of way; but New York it ain't.
The writing is also small screen with the smallest 's'. You hardly expect Shakespeare-worthy dialogue in a Seagal pic, but is it too much to ask that the following words not depart his lips in earnest seriousness: "We gotta do what we gotta to do to get the job done. We gotta get the bad guys and protect the good guys. That's why we're here." It's like Dirty Harry never happened.
"What you're left with is a cast of unlikable goodies and tame baddies battling each other in badly-filmed fights for reasons you just don't care about"
It isn't just dialogue that suffers with weary cliché. No plot trope is left unused. Newbie woman on the force having to prove her worth by dressing provocatively for a honey-trap -- check. Bunch of drug-pushing hicks playing harmonica around the campfire -- check. The Russians are really behind it though -- check. Good-cop, bad-cop interrogation scene -- check. And, my personal favourite: the slow-mo twirling gun pellet (tag-line: this is not just a slow-mo twirling gun pellet, this is a Seagal slow-mo twirling gun pellet). Check -- and indeed -- mate.
But who cares about any of this, right, as long as we get to see Seagal do his thang? Well, right, 'cept we don't. Seriously, he spends a good portion of the film off screen, leaving us in the company of a cast of nobodies singularly lacking in charisma or likeability (or indeed acting ability). And when he does finally show up and take-down one of dem "bad guys", it's quick-cut to the extent you don't really see anything. This, combined with the fact that Seagal is seriously fat these days, means you end up questioning if he's even capable of kung-fu anymore. (Steven, if you're reading this, I totally believe in you and you look very trim...) Even the final boss-battle with the in-no-way threatening comedy-accented Russian proves a letdown. Thirty seconds and it's all over.
So what you're left with is a cast of unlikable goodies and tame baddies battling each other in badly-filmed fights for reasons you just don't care about. It's less rip-roaring and more snore; boring.
In short, there's nothing here that hasn't been done elsewhere a million times better, and that includes several Seagal films. This is one film-cum-TV pilot that should never have been given the green light.
Deadly Crossing is released on the 27th of December and available to pre-order now.
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