The second Steven Seagal Under Siege foray is a true victim of the terrible twos. It’s muscle-bending, mind-numbing action at high-decibel levels for the lowest and least discerning common denominator.
Pic once again adopts the ‘wrong guy at the right time’ premise. This time, Seagal’s former CIA black op, Casey Ryback, just happens to be on a train that just happens to get hijacked by wacko terrorists with diabolical plans for world devastation. Travis Dane (Eric Bogosian) is a disaffected strategic arms techno genius who wants a cool billion not to set off missiles from a covert, orbiting death star he created prior to being fired for nuttiness.
Thankfully, for the world, Ryback is also aboard, escorting his teenage niece (Katherine Heigl) to LA for the funeral of her father. When the Uzis come out, he goes into combat mode.
The script by Richard Hatem and Matt Reeves cribs mercilessly from the structure devised by Jon Lawton in the original. Once again there are a civilian sidekick, eccentric bad guys and spectacular stunts. But the writing duo effect a cut-and-paste job in which the actors battle to maintain some dignity while delivering stilted dialogue.
The exception is Seagal, who strides through the wreckage with the self-knowledge of his standing as a movie star. Unfortunately, he’s betrayed every time he opens his mouth or is called upon to display an emotion other than pain.
Bogosian provides some much-needed comic relief to the slogging tale. Director Geoff Murphy handles the action with the precision of a good traffic cop.