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OUT OF REACH (2004) ***

Steven Seagal stars as an ex-CIA man who lives on a wildlife preserve and spends his days freeing falcons from traps.  He also happens to be penpals with this Polish orphan and in her letters, he teaches her how to write in top secret CIA code.   On her 14th birthday, some white slavers “adopt” her and intend to sell her to some pervert bureaucrats.  When Seagal doesn’t get his weekly letter, he flies out to Poland to track down the slavers and put them in a hurt locker.

 

Out of Reach is a Seagal picture that I liked a little more than I probably should have and probably for the wrong reasons.  The flick is inept in a lot of ways, first and foremost being the fact that Seagal only mouths about half of his dialogue.  The other times he’s dubbed by an impersonator that sounds like he’s dying of laryngitis.  To be fair though, the bad guy also has some piss-poor dubbing too.  The action is also kinda weak but it’s staged so shoddily that I couldn’t help but smile. 

 

Then there’s the hilarious subplot where the little girl leaves Seagal cryptograms everywhere she goes so he can track her movements.  The highlight comes when she’s at a bureaucrat party and she rearranges a plate of sushi so that it reads “It's a Trap” in her and Seagal’s special language.  Then lo and behold, Seagal shows up and is offered the very same plate of sushi and before he takes a piece, he reads the encrypted Sushi-Gram. 

 

I’m not making this up.  This really happened.  I swear to God.

 

What’s REALLY strange about Out of Reach is that I actually cared about the plot.  I honestly wanted to see Seagal rescue the girl from the slavers and hand out a big ass whooping.  It’s just odd that a movie this goofy has a strong enough hook to it that you find yourself caring about the characters.  I think the reason for this is that the performances are quite good.  The kid is believable and doesn’t resort to the annoyingly precocious shit that most child actors do.  And even Seagal does a solid job in the acting department, although I guess it’s easy when you only have to do half of your own voiceover work.

 

What the Hell, I’m going to recommend Out of Reach because there’s some really funny shit here.  It’s all unintentional of course, but maybe that’s why I liked it.  There’s also some genuine heart too, but that may have been unintentional too.  I don’t know if it’s necessarily better than some of Seagal’s other Direct to DVD action flicks like Urban Justice and Into the Sun, but it’s definitely more memorable and a shitload more fun. 

 

God help me… Three Stars.

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