Thursday, 3 November 2011

Belly Of The Beast (2003)

I'm sure that very few people will be surprised to learn that Steven Seagal is an ex-CIA agent in this movie. When his daughter (Sara Malakul Lane) is kidnapped, he sets out on a mission to retrieve her and deal with the bad guys because the authorities never do these things properly. With the help of some friends, Seagal kicks ass as he gets closer and closer to finding out where his daughter is being held.

What might surprise a few people is the fact that this is a surprisingly enjoyable Seagal movie. Oh, don't get me wrong and think that all of his movies have finally worn me down, by most normal standards this is still quite a bad film but as a vehicle for Seagal and his particular brand of martial arts it delivers the goods and manages to pretend that it almost had a decent budget.

The acting isn't great but everyone does what's required of them. Seagal isn't too bad, for a change, but his voice is dubbed over on one or two occasions by someone that doesn't manage to sound like him at all. Byron Mann is enjoyable to watch as his friend, Sunti, and Monica Lo just scrapes by as Lulu. The baddies are all either sneaky and wretched (and so deserving of their ass-whooping) or cool and over-cocky (and so deserving of their ass-whooping) so no complaints there.

The script by James Townsend is no great shakes (it's developed from a story by Seagal so that should tell you all that you need to know) but the direction from Ching Siu Tung is pretty solid. The action beats are plentiful and also nicely spaced out, a lively soundtrack accompanies the lively fights and everything zips along nicely enough to keep fans more than happy.

It's not up there with any of Seagal's top tier movies but Belly Of The Beast easily sits a notch or two above his bottom-of-the-barrel fare.

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