Ever since Steven Seagal has been putting out DTV-movie after DTV-movie since 2002 I’ve been watching them as soon as they hit the shelves. The output was impressive in terms of quantity as every year at least two to three movies were released, most of them pretty terrible in terms of quality. It was obvious these movies were merely money-jobs as Seagal had his action and fight scenes done by stunt doubles and couldn’t even be bothered to record his own lines, so some of these movies had a totally different guy impersonating his voice. The last few years the massive flow of releases has halted as he has only released about one movie per year from 2010 to 2013. So I kind of forgot about good old Steven until earlier this year only to find out I’m three movies behind. So have some catching up to do starting with A Good Man.
With A Good Man Seagal once again stars in a movie directed by Keoni Waxman. Waxman’s filmography as a director consists almost solely of movies starring Seagal. Together they made Absolution, A Good Man, Force of Execution, Maximum Conviction, A Dangerous Man, The Keeper and Seagal’s short-lived TV-series True Justice. I’m guessing these guys are good friends. I’m not sure what Waxman’s goal is in terms of a career as a director, but can only advice him that having Steven Seagal as a muse isn’t the way to a successful Hollywood career, unless you’re name is Andrew Davis and the year is 1988.
In A Good Man Seagal is once again a covert operative, this time going only by the name of Alexander. When a mission to take down a notorious Chinese arms dealer named Chen (Tzi Ma, who has played a lot of guys named Chen according to IMDB) ends up with a couple of dead children and Chen successfully getting away, Alexander goes off the grid and pops up as a handyman in Romania where he befriends next door neighbor Lena (Iulia Verdes) and her daughter Mya (Sofia Nicolaescu). They seem to have some trouble as her father was in depth with a Russian mobster when he died and now his debt is inherited by them. Working off the debt is her brother Sasha (Victor Webster) who mostly does collections on overdue payments. They all get caught up in a war between the Russians and the rival Chinese mobsters led by a familiar face: Chen. This gives Alexander a chance to reconcile his past.
By now I don’t expect much any more from a Steven Seagal movie. I’m already happy if he does all of his own lines, seems to do the fight scenes himself and the plot isn’t convoluted. It might be hard to imagine, but a lot DTV movies are really botched in a way that they are really hard to follow and have nonsensical plot-elements or entire scripts. It shouldn’t be too hard to write a simple action movie, but somehow it seems that every writer wants to write the next Citizen Kane which together with a hack director and people involved only to make a quick buck mostly results in movies which make no sense at all. Seagal has plenty of those on his resume, but I’m glad that the past few movies have at least a coherent story line. Not that they’re examples of great and/or clever writing, but the at least make sense. That also goes for A Good Man which does have too many characters as well as some forced and cliche twists but is relatively entertaining. Let’s just say that I expected it to be worse after seeing Force of Execution. It’s an average script lacking any sense of fun, which is something all these movies have whether they’re starring Seagal, Lundgren or Van Damme: they’re all so dead serious. This is the difference between The Expendables movies and these flicks, those are in on the joke while these movies are the joke in a way, but nobody involved seems to realize it.
Movies with Seagal always revolve around Seagal being this indestructible bad ass. A guy who slaughters entire armies on his own. In A Good Man that’s no different as he and his small sword work through a lot of Russian bad guys before coming face to face with Chen. Most of the hand to hand combat scenes actually seem to be done by Seagal and he shows, though the scenes are probably sped up, that he still has the moves.
Sadly he also still has all the weight. It makes him an imposing figure for sure, but it feels kind of forced that he’s wearing his black leather jacket in every scene even when he’s in his own home or a young woman is undressing herself in front of him. That last example was a pretty awkward moment in the movie:
after Seagal has emerged out of the final showdown as a victor (no surprise here) together with Sasha the movie feels finished, especially as he says goodbye to everybody including little Mya. At that point I was actually thinking “hey they actually didn’t make that 24 year old woman a love interest for the 62 year old Seagal, good for them”. But then, instead of rolling the end credits the movie cuts to Alexander and Lena in a room where she undresses herself in front of him in order to seduce him. He has this grin on his face while she places herself on him and then the movie fades to black and the end credits finally start rolling. This added scene felt so forced, unnatural and wasn’t even included to titillate the audience as no tits are actually on display. I’m guessing Seagal had this scene added just for his own pleasure.
A Good Man is passable entertainment. There’s nothing great on display here, but for Seagal fans it’s better than some of the stuff he made in the 00’s.