In the 2000s, he basically disappeared into direct-to-video Euro purgatory, filming drek in Hungary, Czech Republic, Romania, etc. His movies, which used to be chock-a-block with chop sock, began to backslide. Probably a function of age, Squinty McSquintyface began to delegate some of the heavy lifting to co-stars, which meant more weapons and fewer wrenched extremities for anyone still stupid enough to get in his way and take a swing.
In Attack Force, Seagal is…wait for it…drum roll please…an SF guy. No, that’s not sci-fi or San Francisco but (sigh)…a special forces op. As we’ve stated before, the special forces role is trotted out for him so routinely he’d even play one in a reboot of My Fair Lady.
Here, his hard-partying, nudie-bar frequenting, strike force team is killed under very mysterious circumstances, and our man Seagal as Marshall Lawson is compelled to investigate.
This leads him down a weird rabbit hole into a clandestine chemical warfare experimentation plot, with a drug, CTX, which “floods people with adrenaline…so you have no morals or humanity.” This is thought to be great for soldiers. Or lawyers.
Iniquitous forces want to add this pharmaceutical, (which also heightens reflexes and strength), to the water supply, affecting some 15,000 souls.
So Lawson teams up with a tough military man and an ice princess biochemist to get to the bottom of things, shoving assign French police jurisdiction.
Seagal has an asinine “Q” moment in Attack Force, where he’s shown how to use some newfangled technology, which, in the context of a Bond film, is invariably awesome. Here, lab techs affix him with what look like obsidian knife blades. Not exactly the vanguard of modern weaponry. He’s compelled to use them for leverage against CTX-addled users, who become capable of superhuman strength.
Attack Force might be the worst film in the Seagal canon, and believe us when we say that’s really, really saying something.
The plot is actually not half-bad an idea, and Seagal is credited with co-writing the screenplay. However, the up/down, side-to-side shaky cam will have you reaching for your Pepto. The lighting is terrible, the opening credits are murky and out of focus. They use the same 18th century Romanian mansion over and over as an exterior, and worst of all, they ADR’s Seagal’s voice! What the hell? The Steven Whisper and accent-of-unknown-origin is one of the few remaining joys of watching his films.
And Seagal isn’t trying very hard. This one makes Half Past Dead look like Die Hard. Half a star extra for Seagal front-kicking an out-of-control female CTX-fiend (a scene ruined when an incredibly fake support beam lands on her). Fight aficionados will stifle a laugh as they’ll recognize this as the move he “taught” Anderson “The Spider” Silva before UFC 126*.
This one drops with a thud.
*1/2 (out of 5)
[Please check out our latter day Seagal movies podcast episode of the Really Awful Movies Podcast]
*A front-kick is a staple of basic martial arts instruction in many disciplines and has been for centuries. Anderson Silva not encountering the maneuver until meeting with the orange aikido Frankenstein is as reasonable as Wolfgang Puck dropping by Gordon Ramsay’s pad to show him how to cook an omelette.