There are very few things that surprise me, in terms of just what I can tolerate inthe world of the movies. There are even fewer things that surprise me as I wind my way through the murky filmography of Steven Seagal, a prime example of a career that had a definite high point and then self-imploded to such a degree that almost every film from 2001 onwards has provided what can only be described as "that car crash sensation". You know that it's going to be horrid but you can't help having a look as you pass it by.
By 2004 I wouldn't be surprised if Seagal somehow placed himself in a movie that celebrated his presence on our planet as the second coming. He looks after the young and the vulnerable, loves animals, can always do everything ever needed in any situation and seems to be indestructible. All tension is gone as we watch a movie that serves no other purpose than massaging the ego of Steven Seagal. The guy can't even be bothered to do his own ADR at this point (an audio "nuance" that occurs in many of his 21st century outings).
So here is the plot, try not to laugh. Seagal has, somehow, befriended a young girl who lives in an orphanage. They exchange letters and wishes of wellbeing and Seagal even helps the young girl to learn numerous codes so that they can give each other secret messages. Are you getting creeped out yet? To be fair, this is all depicted as a very innocent relationship and it's clear that all Seagal wants to do is help provide some happiness to every single child in the world. This becomes a bit more difficult when his young friend is taken away from the orphanage and offered to a number of internet bidders as part of some large human trafficking ring.
The script here is by Trevor Miller and James Townsend and I certainly won't be looking for their names on any other movies I seek out. It's almost as if they just looked at the last few Seagal movies and went by a template that desperately needs broken and recast.
Director Po-Chih Leong does nothing to excite viewers. The pacing isn't too bad but there just isn't enough to care about in between the few action beats. Worst of all, a lot of the work is sloppy and doesn't show that the movie had a reasonable budget.
Do I need to mention the cast? Seagal is worse than usual and he's surrounded by a cast made up of mostly Polish performers who, I imagine, cost a lot less money than people with actual acting skills. I actually felt sorry for Matt Schulze (an actor I have enjoyed in a number of entertaining franchises including Blade, The Fast & The Furious and The Transporter) but I hope he at least managed to get a decent pay packet for some minimal effort. Because that's obviously all that Seagal was after.