Thursday, 1 September 2011

Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995)

It was inevitable really, a sequel to the biggest hit that Steven Seagal ever had. The plot this time sees ex-SEAL Casey Ryback (Seagal) taking a train journey with his niece (Katherine Heigl before she shed her puppy fat and became too good for this kind of stuff – ironic considering that this movie and Bride Of Chucky are two of the more watchable films that she’s starred in). Unfortunately for everyone on the train, it is about to be commandeered by some very bad men (led by Eric Bogosian) who want to make ridiculously large sums of money by causing ridiculously large amounts of damage. It’s up to our hero chef to save the day once more.

Geoff Murphy directs this sequel, from a script written by Richard Hatem and Matt Reeves (yes, THAT Matt Reeves), and he often hits all the right buttons. The whole thing is ludicrously unbelievable but nobody stands around and pretends that they’re partaking in something by Shakespeare. Special effects are okay, though inconsistent, but people punch, kick and shoot each other convincingly enough and that’s the most important thing to get right in a film of this type.

Seagal provides his usual, limited, range of expressions, Eric Bogosian has a blast as the smartass bad guy and Katherine Heigl gets put in peril because she’s the niece of Ryback. Elsewhere, we get decent supporting turns from Morris Chestnut (he’s the nervy sidekick this time and he’s okay but, let’s face it, he’s no Erika Eleniak), Everett McGill is a tough baddie who relishes the challenge of facing up to Ryback and Peter Greene points a gun and shouts at people. There’s also a small amount of screentime for Brenda Bakke, who doesn’t get to do all that much but I have a soft spot for her and just thought I’d sneak her name in here.

Slap-happy chop-socky goodness, a train racing towards danger and a quip or two to accompany each major death – it all adds up to a sequel that will please fans of the first movie even if it’s all forgotten about a few days later. 


  1. God know I love this series of flicks... Eric Bogosian is a great villian, imho better than Tommy Lee Jones was in the first.

    The only thing this film needed to be perfect was Erika Eleniak or somebody to replace her. But it needed that kind of character. Heigl and Chestnut are not enough to repalce her.

  2. I certainly agree on the need for a decent Erika Eleniak type of gal in this film. And, indeed, in every film :-)

  3. ...and the tragedy is that they even had Brenda Bakke on hand (who puts Eleniak to shame), but didn't use her.

  4. I know. She was criminally underused. I haven't seen her in anything besides Hot Shots! that I can recall, I may need to look closer at her filmography :-)

  5. AMERICAN GOTHIC (the series) is Brenda's best work--if you ever doubted her, look at that, and you'll fall in love. I can't believe she hasn't gone on to superstardom. Like Mindy Clarke, she has just sort of fallen through the cracks over the years.

    (Sorry about the late posting on this. Brenda was worth a few words, though)

  6. Haha, no problem. All comments always welcome. Thanks for reminding me about American Gothic. I caught one or two episodes back when it was first shown here in the UK and missed it after that but loved what I saw. I MAY have to invest in a boxset. Cheers.