That chef with the killer culinary skills is back. After making souffle outta a bunch of hardened terrorists trying to takeover a US Battleship in Under Siege (1992) The Cook, The Drag Queen and The Booby Cake, our hero, Casey Ryback (Steven Seagal) is back ready to cook up some tasty delights. This time his savoury entrée is served up on a train in, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory. Casey has to take a small break from his much loved restaurant. Not for a happy occasion or a relaxing vacation I must add. No, unfortunately, he is meeting his estranged niece, Sarah Ryback (Katherine Heigl), to visit his recently departed, brothers grave. But to cheer things up for our Casey, he gets to cook onboard the Grand Continental travelling from Denver to Los Angeles through the scenic Rocky Mountains. And as a special pudding treat, he wasn’t expecting a hijacked train filled with classic baddies from films bygone. “Best vacation ever!…“
Check out all these villains. You ready for this?…
I love a double name, Patrick Kilpatrick who played the psychopath Sandman in Death Warrant (1990) with the kickboxing policeman, Jean-Claude Van Damme. There’s Peter Greene who went bonkers as Dorian in The Mask (1994) pitted against the rubber faced Jim Carrey. We get a new train driver when Jonathan Banks turns up. He’s better known as everyone’s favourite anti-hero Mike Ehrmantraut in Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. You might also recall him as the moody prisoner with mirrored aviator shades in Stir Crazy (1980)? Time to calm down the testosterone with some sexy estrogen before we jump to the next selection of villains. Look out for the gorgeous Costa Rican, Afifi Alaouie, who out macho’s all the dudes. A sharp shooting, no nonsense, silent killer.
You should recognise, Henry Kingi, who played the crazy El Scorpio in Predator 2 (1990). A legendary stunt man with a face that’s been in hundreds of movies. Which brings us around to our main mercenary boss, Marcus Penn, played by Everett McGill who, lets be honest, has the perfect face of a baddie. You’ll know him from Silver Bullet (1985) and The People Under The Stairs (1991). Two cult films I really need to be reviewing here soon. However, Everett might look the part but actually, he often played good guys like his recurring role as Big Ed Hurley in Twin Peaks and the origin of prehistoric mankind in Quest for Fire (1981). But you will be pleased to now that here in Under Siege 2 he is the ultimate villain, looking more like a Gestapo Nazi officer of pain. Marcus Penn is the leader of these vicious and despicable bunch of mercenaries lusting after the promise of a cut of a cool billion dollars.
Which brings us to the character Travis Dane, the unbelievably, annoyingly bad and completely over the top, computer geek freak. I’m guessing the script and casting wanted the legend Elliott Gould? Until… “He won’t do it, not for all the money in the world.” “Shit! director Geoff Murphy gonna loose his mind. Look, go find any Jewish looking dude with a jheri curl perm and tell Geoff, Elliotts off his meds. That’s why he’s so wacky!” Somehow they managed to get away with it and in steps Eric Gogosain. His nuttiness actually suits the film to be fair. Which by all accounts is prime 90s action nonsense but all the fun for it.
Tagline – A top secret nuclear satellite. A team of international terrorists. A government held hostage. An undetectable moving headquarters. Only one hero stands in the way.
Computer genius Travis Dane is all bitter and twisted with the Department of Defense. You see he had invented a top secret military satellite weapon that uses particle beams to start earthquakes on it’s targets. When they realised Travis was crazier than a bag of frogs, he’s subsequently fired. Only for him to become a crazed super-villain. With the help of the mercenaries and his advance technological skills he hijacks a train and sets up the untraceable weapon system and welcomes the corrupt world of adversaries to fill his Swiss bank account to take out any target of their choosing. The Pentagon becomes target number one! Frantically the Department of Defense tries everything they can, all to no avail. Luckily the cook was onboard, never bet against the cook.
So our retired Navy Seal finds himself hiding in a fridge once again before making cocktails of explosives and doing those tiny quick and devastating chops, punches and knife stabs his trademark calls for. All leading up to another dagger in the kitchen showdown, like the Tommy Lee Jones one in the first film. Of course it’s awesome. But before all that he has to save all the hostages, befriend train porter Bobby Zachs (Morris Chestnut) and terrify him to not flirt on his young, feisty niece Sarah and stop her from having a teenage angst stroppy fit. Of course, Casey does it all with a pinch of salt and sprinkle of oregano. All without raising his softly spoken voice. Casey is as cool as a cucumber tzatziki dip.
Ok lets get real, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory is pretty bad. However, it is really fun bad, and expensive, and that’s all that mattered when renting an action video cassette back in the day.. It’s a very enjoyable sequel made way more so by that fantastic collection of bad guys. With Everett McGill on fine, totally serious, psychotic form. He gets some wonderful silly scenes. One using mace spray as breath freshener “Not mace, sweetheart. Pepper spray. Sold to civilians. But once you get used to it…it just clears the sinuses!“. And another with Ms Heigl digging her thumbnail into a pressure pain point on his face and he practically has an orgasm. So what you waiting for? Go revisit, or remember or watch for the very first time. And best of all, just have fun at the movies. Thanks for popping on by.
PS. Here’s some choice lines to end with.
- Casey Ryback – “Tits to die for, huh?“
- Marcus Penn – “RRRRRRRRYBACK!“
- Marcus Penn – “You know I’ve never been afraid of anybody. But that uncle of yours scares me… and I like it.”
- Travis Dane – “Yeah, go get your throat ripped out. I’ve got 8 million people to kill and a billion dollars to pick up.“
- Marcus Penn – “Assumption is the MOTHER of all fuck ups!“
- Casey Ryback – “Nobody beats me in the kitchen.”