Under Siege is the tale of a young beautiful woman named Jordan Tate (Erika Eleniak) who’s a Playboy Centerfold and aspiring actress who, while attending a birthday party for the captain on a battleship, gets to be in the middle of a hostile takeover. Luckily for her she isn’t captured by the hostiles and now has to stop them together with the aid of the ship’s cook who has very low self esteem as he calls himself a “lowly, lowly cook”. Now she must come over her principles (Not killing people and not dating musicians), her air-/sea-sickness, her lack of weapons and combat knowledge, and rescue the ship from the terrorists and being blown up by the navy all while showing a boob or two occasionally.
Luckily for her the cook is Casey Ryback who’s played by Steven Seagal and, as you might have guessed it by now, has a long history in combat. Or as his file states read by one of the terrorists, Commander Krill (Gary Busey): Ryback’s an ex-Seal, expert in martial-arts, explosives, weapons and tactics, Silver Star, Navy Cross, Purple Heart with cluster. To sum things up; the terrorists are fucked, because that’s what these sort of movies are about: One or two flies in the ointment who criminals didn’t took in concern while carefully planning an otherwise fail proof plan. It’s the Die Hard formula and of all the clones that it produced (and that’s a lot, there’s even one called Skyscraper starring Anna-Nicole Smith) this one is probably the best. It’s got a solid leading couple, fun villains, is high paced and well directed by Andrew Davis who also directed Seagal’s movie debut Above The Law. Erika Eleniak’s debut however was E.T., so her first big-screen-outing was directed by Steven Spielberg.
Hard to beat that Seagal!
Everything in this movie falls in the right place and it’s no wonder this one is not only regarded as the movie that brought Steven Seagal to the A-list movie stars (That didn’t happen with Eleniak as she played in a couple of duds after this and went straight back to B-movie status. It’s also being regarded as Seagal’s best movie. It’s a shame though he didn’t get more promising projects after this. Well OK, On Deadly Ground looked promising but that never lived up to Under Siege and thus it was all slowly downhill from here… It wasn’t downhill for Tommy Lee Jones however who a year later won an Oscar for his performance in The Fugitive, also directed by Andrew Davis. From this point one he went to be a solid presence in movies. He even redid his over-the-top-character of William Strannix in Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever where he played Two-face.
Under Siege has also a dubious record of being one of those movies that had this “rewind-moment”. This was released back in 1992, before the Internet and there is a scene in which Jordan Tate comes out of a cake, dressed in a thong and Navy-jacket and does a sensual dance while showing her rather large naked breasts. I was 14 at the time this movie was released so you could probably imagine what an effect it had on me only knowing her from Baywatch, the show in which they only toy around with your brain by showing nothing, but teasing you all the time. Damn you Hasselhoff! So this was a scene that was rewinded tons of times… If you rented it on VHS a half a year after it was released that scene in the movie always looked more worn than the rest. I wasn’t the only one apparently…
This movie takes up a warm spot in my heart as you might imagine.
If you happen to have the choice of seeing a movie starring Steven Seagal you should choose this one, if you have that choice with Erika Eleniak I suggest you pick “Playboy Video Playmate Calendar 1991”.
There was an Under Siege 2, but they decided to go with the Casey Ryback character instead of Jordan Tate. Missed opportunity. Would’ve loved to see that;
Under Siege 2
– Dangerous Curves –