Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Film Review: UNDER SIEGE (1992, Andrew Davis)

Stars: 3.5 of 5.
Running Time: 103 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Director Andrew Davis (THE FUGITIVE, CODE OF SILENCE, ABOVE THE LAW), Gary Busey, Steven Seagal, Tommy Lee Jones.
Tag-lines: "It's not a job...It's an Adventure! "
Best one-liner: "This little piggy went to market... This little piggy stayed home... And this little piggy... oh, mama... oh, mama... went wee, wee, wee, WEEEEEEEEE...! ALL THE WAY HOME!" [Tommy Lee Jones air-guitars to "The Star-Spangled Banner" as the missile takes off]

As I've said before, the 90's were all about remaking movies and putting them on a boat. Why? Because boats appeal to our vapid 90s sense of fun. Or tragedy. Cause if you need to wipe the slate clean, you can always sink the boat, and that's always high drama. So WHAT ABOUT BOB? becomes CAPTAIN RON, SPEED becomes SPEED 2: CRUISE CONTROL, LOVE STORY becomes TITANIC, THE ROAD WARRIOR becomes WATERWORLD, and DIE HARD becomes... UNDER SIEGE. And UNDER SIEGE would just be another low caliber DIE HARD rip-off were it not for two key elements: Tommy Lee Jones and Gary Busey.

More on them in a minute. Now, I'm not opposed to Steven Seagal as a rule, but he just hasn't won me over in the way that, say, Chuck Norris or Carl Weathers have. Maybe that's a character flaw on my part, but it's something we're all just going to have to live with.

Seagal's bland. He may be an asskicker, but he's got the charisma of a dead fish (which I guess is the appeal). Toss Busey and Jones into the mix and it's another story entirely.

Tommy Lee Jones is wearing a studded leather jacket and acting only slightly more restrained than he is as "Two-Face" in BATMAN FOREVER. He calls himself 'the Roadrunner' and says "Mee-meep." Gary Busey is in drag, dancing, and smoking a cigar.

I guarantee you that he personally requested to be in drag. (The pilot episode of I'M WITH BUSEY sheds some light on this.)

He says things like "OutstAInding," "Do I look like I need a psychological evaluation?" and spits in Seagal's soup. This is still not a riveting movie, per se, but Busey and Jones push it over the edge into definite likability. Three and a half stars.

-Sean Gill

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