This weeks nostalgic look back is the action movie on the high seas Under Siege from 1992
Tagline – “It’s not a job…It’s an Adventure!” Seriously! Whoever came up with that crappy tagline hopefully got fired out of a navel gun turret?
Who’s our hero today?
Quick fighting human avian hybrid Steven Seagull takes on a battleship full of baddies. “What’s that you say?” “It’s Seagal not seagull! Arr OK!” Note to self, don’t forget to scrub the avian hybrid bit in post production…….
Had I seen this one on VHS back in the day?
Yes this was quite an anticipated big budget, action packed, full of macho fun movie. Would of been rented in the same year as these flicks, Lethal Weapon 3, Universal Soldier and Passenger 57.
Quick plot run down.
With the Battleship USS Missouri ready to be decommissioned she is given one last send off before her weapons are dismantled. The battleship still carries a full armament of Tomahawk missiles armed with nuclear warheads. Part of the send off party is also to celebrate the Captain’s birthday. During this moment a group of home grown terrorists, lead by an ex-CIA operative, takeover and seize the USS Missouri. The small army kill and imprison the ships crew. Little did they know they had missed the Captain’s very own special cook. You know what? Things are gonna get hot and spicy in the kitchen. “Right Gunner, get the cannon ready, we’ve got another bad-line writer ready to be fired out to sea!”
Does the hero have a day job?
Casey Ryback (Steven Seagal) was a former US Navy SEAL and once decorated leader of SEAL Team Four. Due to poor intelligence his team was wiped out. After punching his Commanding Officer out on his return he loses his rank and security clearances. His old friend Captain Adams (Patrick O’Neal) lets Casey run out his time in the service as his personal cook aboard USS Missouri. And there ain’t nothing that Casey can’t prepare with his trusty knife.
What’s our heroes special skills?
Master chef skills, close combat, knife skills, top training in martial arts, explosives, special-weapons and all military tactics.
Heroes weapon of choice?
He manages to get his hands on a Colt Mk IV Series 70 Government Model alongside his trusty blade.
Does hero have a sidekick?
Casey gets a hand from a good collection of helpers along the way. There’s Jordon Tate (see below), Tackman (Damian Chapa), my personal favourite Granger (Troy Evans), Flicker (David McKnight) and Casey’s cook friend Ramirez (Raymond Cruz).
Hot girl? Damsel in distress or ass kicker?
Erika Eleniak former Baywatch babe literally pops out playing a fish out of water bit of eye candy among the sausage fest of the battleship crew. Lets listen in on Casey’s conversation with her to find out what babbling bullshit she comes up with?
Casey Ryback – “Al right, who are you and what are you doing here?“
Jordan Tate – “My name is Jordan Tate. I’m Miss July ’89. I was hired to jump out of the cake, but I got really airsick on the way over here so this guy gave me these pills and I don’t know what happened, and I guess I fell asleep.”
Casey Ryback – “What kind of babbling bullshit is this?“
Jordan Tate – “I am an ACTRESS, OKAY! I did a Hunter episode and a Wet ‘n Wild video. And my agents told me I was just gonna come and jump out of a cake.“
Who’s the main baddie?
We get three for the price of one. They are like the Three Stooges or some other comedy trio but with added death! The three slap each other on the back and laugh at each others jokes, random actions and antics. William Strannix (Tommy Lee Jones) is the leader of the trio of mayhem. A rogue renegade ex-CIA agent. 2nd in command goes to Commander Peter Krill (Gary Busey) the executive officer and now psychopathic new captain of the ship. Which leaves the deranged, lead commando of the terrorists little army, Daumer (Colm Meaney)
Baddies special skills?
The three of them are just nasty pieces of work.
William Strannix – “You’re a maniac. Drown your own crew.“
Commander Krill – “They never liked me anyway.“
Doumer – “I bet they fuckin’ love ya now, huh?”
Psycho baddies rating out of ten? 9/10
Considering there’s three of them and have a whole army. After the success of capturing a whole battleship they do start falling apart pretty quickly. But hey no one bet on the cook running around the ship!
Heroes balls of steel and anger ratings out of ten? 9/10
Casey is ready for a fight. No way he’s going let this terrorist action go down on his ship. Besides he’s got carrots to chop for a stew. Casey’s got the balls but he welcomes a helping hand.
Surely it features a training montage scene?
We get a little vegetable chopping going on at the beginning which includes some up-rocking break-dance moves to I’ve Got The Power by Snap!. Just a little aperitif before we get to watch Casey drill into grenades and missiles to make more explosives. Hang on a minute why didn’t he just use those explosives! Oh yes we wouldn’t have the montage question to answer.
Does it feature an impossible mission?
Well hell yeah it’s an impossible mission if you didn’t have a cook on-board
Does the hero get a chance to show off their muscles?
Our Steven doesn’t often rip off his clothes in his films if I remember right? He does go down to a vest for a little bomb making.
Will I be needing to pause the video player? AKA are there any boobies?
Well this is the part that gets very troubling for me! Yep I’m gonna have to see a shrink after writing this. As any guy of substance knows (ok sure ladies too before you all gang up on me). Lets start again, any person who’s seen this film knows they are going to encounter a jack in the box moment finishing with a fine set of hooters. As “Miss July 1989” Jordon Tate pops out the cake, I’m ready for my nostalgic free glimpse of the sweet delights of peeky and perky. Only for a wave of pure horror to rush over me as I suddenly realise Erika Eleniak looks like my blooming nephew! Yes nephew! He’s been ticked off the Christmas list!
Praise the lord NO! Oh my god! Oh gosh! No thank you. Phew! (See above)
Any good totally random surprise scenes?
This can only go to one person. Step forward Commander Krill. Dressed in drag with giant fake breasts. Happy to flash a bum cheek to the roaring crowd. It’s not long before he’s chomping a giant cigar, his wig has fallen off to reveal a pair of pantyhose on his head. As he reads, perplexed, from the Captain’s personal log. “Do I look like I need a psychological evaluation?“. Hehe it’s a classic scene.
Films body count? Low/Medium/High?
Gotta be in the hundreds! It’s pretty brutal at times.
Best death scene?
There’s lots to be honest. I liked the grenade behind the bulkhead door as it flew off the hinges with bad guy still attached. There’s a death by bandsaw too. However the falling giant upright steel girder falling from a far literally through bad guys body was intense to say the least!
Explosion ratio? Low/Medium/High?
Hand grenades, missiles and fire bombs are detached all over the battleship. A strong high medium’s worth I’d say.
How many stuntmen probably really died making this film?
Well if that guy behind the exploding door really was a stuntman (yeah of course it wasn’t) then that had probably stung a bit! A moment you don’t wanna be hearing “CUT! TAKE TWO!”
Jordan Tate – “What’s that noise?“
Casey Ryback – “It’s morse code.“
Jordan Tate – “What are they saying?”
Casey Ryback – “They’re saying, Get me the fuck out of here“
Any other familiar faces and actors pop up?
There’s lots to be honest but I’ll pick three.
The great Patrick O’Neal plays Casey’s friend and captain of the USS Missouri Captain Adams. Unfortunately Under Siege would be his last feature film before he sadly died. A few films I’ve liked from him were In Harm’s Way (1965), King Rat (1965) and Castle Keep (1969). Also a sinister role in The Stepford Wives (1975).
I think Troy Evans is one of my favorite of the crew members that jump up to help Casey get their ship back. He pops up all over the place and more likely than not will be playing a detective or a military man. Especially in TV series like The Division, ER and in the recent series Bosch as Detective Johnson.
The third face I’ll go for is Damian Chapa. He’s still busy now turning out films but I’m ashamed to say I only remember him from one. One he might wanna forget but however rubbish it was, me and my brother Dan still had a great laugh with it. That film would be Street Fighter (1994) where he played the arcade character Ken. Going through his filmography I was stopped in my tracks by Blood In, Blood Out (1993). It gets high praise. Looks like an epic gangster film. Anyone seen it?
Under Siege is directed by Andrew Davis who had worked with Steven Seagal before when he starred alongside the beautiful Pam Grier in one I’ve reviewed before Above The Law (1988). No stranger to action movie genre Andrew Davis has made some great fun movies. From the likes of Chuck Norris and Code Of Silence (1985), The Package (1989) with Gene Hackman. Probably his biggest hit was the film adaptation of The Fugitive (1993) starring Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones.
A fun fact about the production is that the battleship is docked in a bay. So the illusion that the ship was in fact at sea had to be achieved by floating a giant blackout screen around the ship to block out the light of the near by city.
Yeah of course it’s filled with a core of squeaky on the teeth processed cheese but that’s what we signed on for hey? A low medium cheese level.
IMDB score rating – 6.5/10
Wolfman ACTION & FUN rating – 9/10
Wolfman over all film rating – 7/10
This has to be up there at the top of Steven Seagal best films. It rocks along at a good pace. Casey is likable and down to earth. One of the lads. The three bad guys look like they are having a right blast though-out the film. Forever messing around and upping the crazy levels to the max. It’s hard not to enjoy. It does everything an action packed popcorn infused escapism film should do. Yep they had to try another! Under Siege 2 : Dark Territory (1995) now that was pretty bad. I kind of recall thinking it was OK-ish but that Jewish computer salesmen bad guy was terrible! Hehe.
Feel free to let me know your thoughts on the film if you want. But most importantly have fun with the movies.
Keep it filmy…. Mikey Wolf.