Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Corpulent Seagal faces 'Black Dawn'

Black Dawn (aka "The Foreigner 2") (2005)
Starring: Steven Seagal, Tamara Davies, Nicholas Davidoff, and Timothy Carhart
Director: Alexander Gruszynski
Rating: Four of Ten Stars

When CIA agent Amanda Stuart (Davies) sees her supposedly dead mentor Jonathan Cold (Seagal) show up with a armsdealer meeting with a crazed Muslim rebel (Davidoff), she knows something very big and very bad is coming down. But little did she know that soon she and Jonathan would be battling both terrorists and renegade CIA agents bent on detonating a nuke in downtown Los Angeles.

"Black Dawn" is absolutely, totally predictable; it's decently acted, with okay stunts, but there's nothing you haven't seen done better elsewhere. What's more, the cast is too small for there to ever be any doubt as to the identitiy of the traitor within the CIA. Then, to add insult to injury, we don't even get treated to decent fight scenes.

I don't know if Seagal is too old or too fat (and I know I'm not one to criticize someone for packing on the pounds come middle-age... I've turned into a true porker over the past five years) or if he may have been sick during the two-week schedule I assume this cheap quickie must have had, but not only were all three of the potential fight scenes over virtually before they started, they were done using stand-ins!

Yes, iconic Akido tough guy Seagal--the guy who in an interview on the DVD of "Black Dawn" talks about how he was in hundreds of fights before he lost one--doesn't do a single one of his fight scenes in this film. In fact, the stand-ins aren't built like Seagal (one doesn't even have similar hair, and we're treated to several seconds of the back of his head!) and there doesn't even seem to be an attempt to match the style he used when he DID do his own fight scenes.

I wonder if "Black Dawn" spells the end of Seagal's career. He's not really much of an actor, and if he can't do his own fight scenes, what's left? Maybe it's time for him to move behind the cameras and let others star in films that he produces? (On the other hand, he could well have been sick. There are several scenes where he seems to be carrying himself strangely, particularly with the way he crosses his arms.)

Sheesh... I seem to be going on about Seagal... but that's because I ran out of things to say about the movie in the second paragraph, and because I think he's done some pretty good action flicks (like "Hard to Kill", "Under Seige", "Half Past Dead" and even "The Foreigner"), and it's a bit sad to see him go out on such a pathetic note, if that is indeed what's happening.

If you want to see a fairly generic, relatively low-budget action flick with some sorry blue-screen shots, you want to pick up "Black Dawn." If you're looking for a good Steven Seagal flick, stay away from this one. You'll be very dissapointed.

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