Life sucks when you’re Casey Ryback. Even when you use public transportation you’re bound to come under siege of some highly skilled mercenaries taking everybody else hostage. We witnessed his first rebellion on these kind of guys on a battleship, of which he was the cook, in Under Siege, now in Under Siege 2 we get to see what he is trained for on a FBT. That’s short for Fucking Big Train. All aboard, for some serious ass-kicking!
Steven Seagal stars again as Casey Ryback. There’s no sign of Jordan Tate this time around. There’s no mention of her either. Guess things just didn’t work out. Casey does own a restaurant now but on occasion perfoms some covert ops assignments according to some dialogue with his personel. His brother died and so he goes to his funeral together with his niece and instead of a road trip by car they take a train.
Well wouldn’t you know that at the same time a brilliant but mad scientist (are there any other?) hijackes this train and uses it as a moving and therefore undetectable launchsystem for a satelite he created that can generate earthquakes. His target; get a billion dollars from wealthy Arabian America-haters and generate an earthquake to destroy the secret nuclear facility under The Pentagon and take out that and the rest of Washington. Weird that he gets paid in dollars as that is bound to lose a lot of value after such an attack. For someone saying “I was smarter than all of you before I worked there. I was smarter than all of you while I worked there. And I’m still smarter than all of you” that’s a bit stupid.
Well he can get away with it in my book. It’s still a lot of money and Eric Bogosian’s character Travis Dane really nails every line in the movie. He is joined by a couple of well known faces. Characters who have that familiar face and always turn up in supporting roles and bit parts. We have Patrick Kilpatrick who took on Van Damme in Death Warrant. There’s Peter Greene who was Zed in Pulp Fiction and Dorian in The Mask and the head honcho is played by Everett McGill who played Big Ed Hurley in Twin Peaks. So this one of those cases where you can play “name that face” You can do it with the good guys in this movie too. Seagal is backed up by his niece Sarah who’s played by Izzy from Grey’s Anatomy (Katherine Heigl). Morris Chestnut plays Bobby; the trains porter who’s role is to help Seagal and be rescued by him from time to time. He’s the Jordan Tate of this movie, only without tits and black. Seagal even spouts the same dialogue to him as he did to Jordan: I’m making a bomb. Luckily he doesn’t kiss him at the end like he did with Jordan. That would be… ehm… awkward.
So this is Steven’s first sequel, right after the failure that was On Deadly Ground he came back strong. It’s really a fun movie even though it’s just Die Hard on a train. Now I wondered upfront how they could make a Die Hard on a train. A train just doesn’t seem so massive that you can easily hide from villains and go many places. Well they pulled that off by taking the earlier mentioned FBT. This thing is huge. It’s got two levels and is fairly wide, 10-20 wagons and even some hidden passages through lunchelevators and behind toilets. The downside of this environment is that Seagal can’t really use any space around him in fights cause there ain’t none. Normally people go through entire rooms when in a fight with Seagal. Now they are against the wall immediately. That sucks, but Seagal is still imposing enough here to make every blow count. He’s aided by Morris Chestnut as porter Bobby. Like earlier said he fills the Jordan Tate role; starts out as a whiny little bitch, but ends up doing some badass shit. People have commented on him being annoying and unnecessary. The latter is true, but I don’t agree. He’s pretty funny in my opinion but that’s something that he can’t take the sole credit for, because a lot of credit goes out to the writers who have, like in the previous Under Siege, filled the script with memorable quotes and juicy lines. Good writing is half the movie, and though plotwise it’s all Xerox’d from previous Die Hard-clones the characters and their lines make this really stand out. There’s one piece of dialogue that puzzled me. All of Seagal’s films have statements about how tough this guy is. In this movie his niece Sarah states that Uncle Casey not only has two Navy Cross Medals, “he even has medals so secret…” Now how much sense does that make? What do you do with so-called secret medals. Put them in a safe for no one to ever see them? What’s the point of that?
By this time Seagal became superhuman. He always was pretty untouchable, like in Out For Justice but in most of his movies he did have some trouble with his opponents. Het got beaten up in Above The Law, gunned down in Hard To Kill and had backinjuries in Under Siege. By now he’s even bulletproof. It’s common knowledge that bad guys can fire their clips empty and not hit a thing while the good guys always hit the bulls eye with a single shot. But here it Seagal even gets shot by a sniper in the shoulder. He bleeds but seems to have enough strength to hang upside down under a moving train for a couple of minutes, and then climb back onto the train. The bleeding is noticed by Bobby and answered by Seagal with “You think this is being shot? This ain’t being shot.”. Ehm.. what was it then? He also states that there’s no bullet in there, so that must have went right through there. Now the rest of the movie the wound must have been magically healed because it disappears and is never mentioned again. No problem hanging of the side of a cliff with a shot up shoulder. Guess they teach you that also at SEAL-training. Casey Ryback should have been in Predator; He ain’t got time to bleed.
Under Siege 2 is also the movie in which Seagal for the first time starts using his whispertalk in normal conversations. The first half of the movie you really have to pump up the volume to listen to what he’s saying. Nowadays it’s such a trademark it’s hard to imagine there was a time he didn’t do that. In previous movies he talked normal and even raised his voice to make some motivational speech or threat like in Marked For Death or Hard To Kill. Well the whispering started here, sadly. It doesn’t make you menacing, it makes you hard to understand.
Maybe that could be the title of one of his future movies:
Steven Seagal is…
Hard To Understand