Contract to Kill poster

I have been an avid Steven Seagal movie watcher for almost 30 years now. It hasn’t always been easy, especially when he started to star in direct-to-video releases. I have tried to see the positive aspects of those movies. Always hoping to catch a glimpse of Seagal-past. That hope is often shattered into my face. Like many women in an abusive relationship, I keep on coming back. As a Steven Seagal Movie abuse victim, 2016 was a pretty bad year. According to the IMDB he released no less than 7 movies that year. Since the masochist in me is tucked away deep, I am still catching up now in 2018. This brings me to Contract to Kill.

In Contract to Kill Seagal plays a CIA/DEA enforcer. Big surprise there. The guy always plays some special ops guy. Now I could try to go into the plot but I’ll just keep it with the synopsis Google provides:

“A government agent (Steven Seagal) and his team (Russell Wong, Jemma Dallender) must prevent Islamic extremists from attacking America.”

There, that’s it. That is all you need to know. The reason I’m sticking to this synopsis is because not a lot of Contract to Kill made sense to me. At first it was all about Muslim extremists using the apparently weak border between the US and Mexico to get into the US, until it turns out they are trying to get to Mexico. In the end it’s all about two high profile criminals trying to do a deal together, but they are being played out against each other by Seagal and his team.

I don’t really understand why Seagal movies need to have convoluted and confusing plots. These movies need to have simple stories which give the man an excuse to end up in multiple fight scenes. Out For Justice has probably one of the most simple plots in movie history and that’s an action movie classic. But that movie required Seagal to move around a lot. Something does not do much these days.

In Contract to Kill Seagal is often stationary. Sitting at a table when he’s under attack, sitting while looking at a drone feed, driving a car against a horrendous green screen backdrop. The only scene requiring him to actually get physical was one in which he walked up a flight of stairs. I sure hope they got that in one take. Can you imagine if they had to do that scene over and over again? A heart attack is lurking around the corner.

The story is written by Keoni Waxman. I’m wondering if Seagal had any input because Contract to Kill does convey a political message. Seagal has never shied away from putting his own political beliefs into movies, especially when it comes to the environment. In Contract To Kill, made when Obama was still president, they actually comment how soft the current administration is on immigration and border security. Coming from a Trump fan it seems as much on the nose as the environmental speech in On Deadly Ground.

Seagal is a bit hard to follow when it comes to his political beliefs. He’s a republican, expresses his love for Trump every now and then and has a raging hard on for everything Russia and Vladimir Putin. At the same time he’s also a guy who seems to have great respect towards other cultures especially Asian and Native Americans. Contract to Kill actually features Native Americans and they are working as trackers keeping illegal immigrants from entering the US. If only they had that skill in 1492.

The team Seagal works with in this movie consists of Jemma Dallender and Russell Wong. Dallender also functions as a love interest for Seagal. It’s a recurring element in his movies; the 63 year old Seagal having a love interest that is in her twenties. Dallender and Seagal’s birth dates are 36 years apart. This makes for a cringe worthy sex scene where she takes her clothes off while he keeps everything on. Luckily for us, but it makes for quite the awkward scene seeing here in her sexy underwear with an overweight guy in a long black coat caressing her.

Wong’s character is an expert drone pilot. Not the big military ones, but the amateur drones which that one annoying neighbor from down the street owns. It’s probably a product placement thing because this movie really uses this drone a lot. The whole thing felt goofy.
In order to surveil a drug lord they have this drone hovering in front of his hotel window. Not quite the definition of stealth I might say. There is also a scene where he controls a drone with an automatic weapon attached to it. It looks really stupid.

Contract to Kill is directed by the writer, Keoni Waxman. He probably sees Seagal as his muse as he has directed no less than 9 of his movies. Not counting the True Justice TV show episodes which he also directed. Waxman is a workman-like director, churning out one DTV movie after another. It’s quantity over quality as Waxman isn’t a very talented director and it surprises me actually that he’s on nobody’s radar as one of the worst directors out there working today. All he seemingly does is write, produce and direct crappy movies starring an overweight guy in his 60s flapping his hands around. How do these things manage to make money? Who pays to watch this?

To be honest, the first few movies Waxman did with Seagal were decent. But they did maybe one movie per year together. Now they just keep making these movies one after another. Probably trying to milk Seagal’s name to the last drop. From the look of things, the bottom of the barrel is in sight.