Sunday, 17 July 2011

Shadow man - review part 2

Let's jump right back in.

Warning this is a spoiler based review

Previously on Shadow Man, Seagal determines the difference between syphilis and free basing.

Syphilis...  apparently
Also I looked up freebasing, it was something done in the 1980's to prepare cocaine for smoking. 

Seagal encounters a little old asian lady who lets him help himself to several bundles of cash before she decides she's had quite enough of that and gets out a small machine gun (I'm English, I don't know guns unless they are on GTA) and she shoots wildly till Seagal pops his head around a corner and shoots her in the forehead.

The remaining bald drug dealer takes a few shots, but then he is killed.  Seagal leaves the house and returns to the taxi, the driver asks him, "Was that gun fire?"  Seagal assures him it was merely loud music.  Right.

They drive away and Seagal asks the driver if he knows of a female, English taxi driver and tells him he'll give him a lot of money if he takes him to her straight away.  The cops from earlier, appearing quite uninjured arrive at the drug house to see the damage that Seagal has done.  The taxi arrives at a club and Seagal pays him with the bundles of stolen drug cash.

The driver of course calls the police straight away as soon as Seagal leaves the car.  Trevor reports to his boss that they've overheard the conversation on the police wire.

At the strip club, Seagal looks terribly out of place and asks a bar tender if he's seen Anya.  The bartender is clearly lying as she's on the other side of the room so Seagal punches him and then chases after Anya.  Seagal finds the lesbian bathrooms and finds Anya, she says that if Seagal will get her a passport and get her to America, she'll give him his daughter back and pulls a gun, which Seagal quickly takes off her.

The police have arrived and search for Seagal while he has Anya tied up in a back room, telling her  that unless she talks, he'll kill her.  She mistakenly thinks he won't do that, because she hasn't been watching the rest of the movie.  Why Seagal doesn't shoot her at this point mystifies me.  Trevor arrives at the club and so do the shady guys from earlier, all are looking for Seagal.

Seagal chokes Anya with a cloth whilst Trevor and the cops decide they've had enough searching and leave.  The shady guys find the room in where Seagal and Anya were, Seagal runs then the mooks decide to choke Anya with a plastic bag.  She won't talk, why they don't just kill her at this point mystifies me too.  Seagals stunt double kicks a few of the mooks and they make their escape from the club.

They decide to hide at the very safe location of Anya's house.  Which the cops get to first and find the place empty so they ransack it a bit.  In the car Seagal asks why Anya just doesn't give his daughter to the bad guys, Anya says that they can't get her what she wants, though I'm not sure how exactly she thinks Seagal can get her a fake passport any easier.  The cops at Anya's place find a file and clear out.

Two cops have a discussion in a car in Romanian, sans subtitles, one of them leaves for some reason, Seagal and Anya arrive, but see the car so decide to go in the back way.  The cop who left goes in Anya's flat just before Seagal and Anya arrive, discovering that the door has been broken down, but of course decide to enter anyway.  Anya tells Seagal his daughter was there, but she moved her to a safe place, Seagal tells her to take him there or he'll kill her, then his stunt double saunters off.  The cop comes out of the toilet with a gun and Anya shoots her, the cop outside hears this and goes inside so Seagals stunt double can arm bar him.

Trevor checks in with his boss and says he has an address for her.  After further discussion between Seagal and Anya in the car, they return to the safe house that Harry had taken Seagal to earlier.  Which I think is probably a good plan, considering their other options.  Seagal and Anya share a drink and between some more annoying yellow flashes, we get a flashback to the earlier events of the film.  Anya strips off her top and Seagal tells her he thinks she's a soft sensitive woman and hugs her, despite the fact that she's the woman who kidnapped his daughter and has done nothing, other than taking her top off, to prove otherwise.

Meanwhile, Trevor arrives at Anya's friends house and they walk Kidnap fodder back to their car sternly, though she doesn't look like she's trying to escape at all.  The police look over the file they took from Anya's house and then arrive at Anya's friends just before Seagal and Anya arrive and Seagal has changed clothes, miraculously.  Anya's wheelchair bound friend has been killed so Seagals body double goes looking for Kidnap fodder, he instead finds his bag and we get another flashback.

The police hold a gun to Anya's head and Seagal shoots one cop in the chest and the other in the head.  The one he shot in the chest, though he should be dead, as that's where your lungs are, gets up and makes a phone call to the strip club to have a conversation with the pony tail guy, this time in English.

Seagal then shows Anya a teeny microchip hidden inside the stylus of his phone, Anya does not know what a stylus is, despite being a former secret agent.  Seagal info dumps a load of information he couldn't possibly know.  Seagal tells Anya to get him to a phone booth, despite having his mobile in his hand, as he is going to make some calls in order to exchange the "chip" for Kidnap fodder.  He calls his hacker friend from the beginning of the movie whilst the shot cop meets the pony tail guy who chokes him with a zip tie and punches him a lot. He gets a phone call from Anya giving him information so he kills the cop and leaves him on the roof.

Seagal's stunt double and Anya leave the house, only to be shot at by a helicopter, they quickly hide and then make a break for the taxi.  The helicopter follows them and shoots out the windows of the car till Seagal jumps out and then from behind a tree, shoots a handgun 12 times (I counted) and successfully blows up the helicopter, allowing Seagal's stunt double to run back to the car.

At the embassy, Imelda Staunton finds Seagal in her office, they have a conversation in which she says she thinks that Harry was right and all Seagal wanted was his daughter back, Seagal tells her he passed the chip around a bit and it's no good any more.  Imelda says that her guys aren't chasing him.  She calls her guys (Trevor & co) and says that Seagal wants to meet them because he thinks they have his daughter (how exactly did he come to this conclusion considering he's barely seen these guys in the movie?)  Kidnap fodder is of course sat in the back seat so they agree to meet Seagal in the central library.

Seagal's stunt double and Anya arrive at the library as do the shady guys, Seagal calls the hacker guy and he has successfully hacked something, or so he says.  Seagal meets Trevor from Eastenders and the other  guy with Anya hanging around on the balcony.

Seagal asks where his daughter is and says he will not hand over the item without her, generic mook reveals she is on the balcony and the embassy guy says unless Seagal hands it over the mook will throw the girl off the balcony.  To be fair, it's not that high up, maybe twenty feet, if she landed right she wouldn't be hurt at all, only if she landed very badly or on a desk or chair would she probably get very hurt. 

Seagal pulls out the stylus and says he wants his daughter, Trevor says their business is done, but the embassy guy doesn't think so.  Seagal signals Anya and she pulls out a gun, shooting the guy on the balcony, shooting breaks out and all the innocent bystanders in the library start running for their lives.  Segal is holding the embassy guy who is still shooting wildly, he shoots Trevor through the cheek and it goes all the way through.

The embassy guy then ends up shooting Trevor in the forehead, killing him.  Seagal kicks the embassy guy away from him and then shoots him five times in the chest, because there's no kill like overkill.  With the three embassy guys dead, Anya and Kidnap fodder run downstairs to meet Seagal as one of the shady guys appears and starts shooting at Seagal, who after letting off about twenty shots, finally has to reload.  He kills two of the shady guys before running into the pony tail guy leaving them in a Mexican stand off.  He demands the item, Seagal says he'll hand it over if he lets him walk away.  He drops the clip and then goes to hand over the gun, the pony tail guy then let's him just take his gun and shoots the mook in the corner. 

Seagal beats up the pony tail guy and punches his eyes out before Seagal's stunt double walks away.  As Seagal goes to leave, he runs into his father in law.

Who could not in any way have escaped the explosion.  He asks where Kidnap fodder is and then explains his master plan was for Harry to grab the girl and whilst Seagal reaked havoc looking for her, everyone else would be distracted.  Why.....?  Trevor planted the bomb.  He shouldn't have known about that.  Why did he give it to Seagal in the first place?  Why not give it to Kidnap fodder?

Seagal watermelon punches him, killing him.  The hacker guy successfully hacks the lab from the start of the movie which goes into emergency lockdown, locking the scientists in their lab and gassing them to death.  Nice.

Anya takes Kidnap fodder to the park to meet up with Seagal and his stunt double.  At the embassy, Seagal harasses Imelda Staunton into getting a passport for Anya.  Kidnap fodder who now likes Anya because of her Stockholm syndrome and gives her a hug goodbye.

Back at home, Seagal tells his daughter that even though she got kidnapped and her grandfather was killed and she was kidnapped again, held at gun point and then her grandfather was killed again, they had a good time.  Kidnap fodder agrees.  So Seagal gives her a pony for keeping her mouth shut about his bad parenting skills.  End of movie.

Final thoughts.  What where all those yellow flashes about?  At first I thought maybe that Seagal was secretly infected with the virus and they represented it spreading, but that didn't happen, do they were just random.  Why the embassy guys trying to get the virus when Imelda Staunton just wanted it destroyed?  Why did Trevor try to blow up the father in law anyway?  What happend to the virus at the end?  Seagal still had it.

The movie left of a lot of unanswered questions due it's ridiculous plot lines.  Seagal is pretty ridiculous as an action star in this one because of his weight and the use of body and stunt doubles is ridiculous.  Aside from filming him occasionally in shadows, there was no reason for this film to be called Shadow Man.  He didn't do anything covertly in fact half the movie is in broad daylight or very public places where Seagal sticks out like a sore thumb, there was no info dump about it being an old nickname, Seagal is the only one in the movie to use martial arts and it's mostly gun fights.  There's too many groups trying to track Seagal down and the motivations and plan of the Father in law character at the end make no sense.

If there had been some sort of ticking clock, like the virus would release it's fast spreading toxins infecting everyone in the near vicinity within 72 hours, unless it was extracted properly with the right codes or shut down, that might have pushed the characters more and given a double motivation for most of the people involved.

This movie is not one of Seagal's best, but even for it's flaws and nonsensical plot, it is the kind of movie you could stick on in the background and just zombie out to, it doesn't require a lot of close attention to follow the events of the film so while it's not a great movie, it's not by far the worst I've ever seen.

5 out of 10

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