Hard to Kill Preview

As Clutch parachutes into the VP’s residence he asks himself whether he has any chance of changing the man his brother has become? A booming voice tells him to stop. “My my my, Clutch. I never thought they’d dig you up for this job,” McGuire Guthrie says, applauding sarcastically. “Last time I heard you were drunk off your ass in Peru.” Clutch clenches his fists and sneers, “Last time I heard you were an asshole.” McGuire laughs, “Same old Clutch. Now where’s my gold?” Clutch shakes his head and McGuire frowns. “Pity,” he says and takes his signature samurai sword. Facing certain death Clutch reaches up his hand and catches a sword of his own, perfectly thrown from the shadows by Kat. A super sweet battle ensues ultimately ending with them both knocking the sword from the other’s hand. “Twin chop,” they shout and the blows land in unison. They fall into each other’s arms, mortally wounded. “I… I…” McGuire stammers, but Clutch shushes him. “I know,” and the power of their twin love heals their wounds and McGuire realizes the error of his ways. Clutch’s ex-wife hugs him and tells him she’s glad he found love with Kat. VP Jack Parrot shakes his hand and tells him he’s going to win the Nobel Prize for Heroism. But he brushes past all of them to lift McGuire from the ground and reach his hand out for a twin Predator high five. THE END.

Patrick closes his novel. It’s amazing, obviously. When he looks up that piece of shit hack Manfred Long is out of his quickening. “I knew I’d never win,” he says sadly, “but with the power of the Dongle I know I can kill you.” But Patrick shakes his head. “I think you’ll find I’m a little…” That’s right! We are going way back to 1990 to watch the first qualifying Steven Seagal film ever, Hard to Kill. It barely qualifies, so that would seem to indicate it’s actually not that bad, but I doubt it. Let’s go!

With a snap of his fingers Kyle fills the dance floor with bodacious babes and he and Jamie flee to the back room while the cyborgs are preoccupied. “What was all that about a cyber jack?” Kyle asks, but Jamie shakes his head. “Just a distraction, Kyle. Remember when we bought the club we had two rules.” Kyle nods, “Every night starts with the national anthem and…” suddenly his eyes light up. That’s right! We are pairing the first BMT qualifying Steven Seagal film with his first straight-to-video fare. The Patriot where he plays a *checks notes* doctor. Oh, come on! Let’s go!

Hard to Kill (1990) – BMeTric: 36.1; Notability: 35

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 7.2%; Notability: top 12.4%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 23.3%; Higher BMeT: Captain America, Look Who’s Talking Too, Rocky V, Ghost Dad, Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, Repossessed, Graveyard Shift, Soultaker, Problem Child, Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection, Wings of the Apache, 3 Men and a Little Lady, The Bonfire of the Vanities, RoboCop 2, Loose Cannons, Navy Seals, Ernest Goes to Jail, Death Warrant; Higher Notability: RoboCop 2, The Bonfire of the Vanities, Predator 2, Days of Thunder, Jetsons: The Movie, The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, Air America, Captain America, Young Guns II: Blaze of Glory, Marked for Death, 3 Men and a Little Lady, The Rookie, Stella, Rocky V, Revenge, Bird on a Wire, Another 48 Hrs., Ghost Dad, Mr. Destiny, Havana, and 11 more; Lower RT: Problem Child, Death Warrant, Graveyard Shift, Repossessed, Madhouse, Loose Cannons, Coupe de Ville, Funny About Love, Soultaker, Ghost Dad, Spaced Invaders, Wings of the Apache, Heart Condition, Meet the Applegates, Where the Heart Is, Ernest Goes to Jail, Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection, Captain America, Opportunity Knocks, Air America, and 35 more; Notes: I’m a bit surprised at how high the rating is, I wouldn’t think that it would have necessarily followed the usual trend.

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Police detective Seagal uncovers a major political corruption ring and is shot and left for dead; when he awakens from a seven-year coma, he’s ripe for revenge. Full of the usual violence and shades for this genre, but Seagal is fun to watch. LeBrock, who nurses him back to health, was then the real-life Mrs. Seagal.

(This is also pretty high … wait … is this film good? I’m down to the usual violence from Seagal. I assume by “usual violence” they don’t mean an obese Seagal shooting people in the face with a high powered rifle. I assume he does actual Aikido in this one.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yy54Q4rcJuk/

(The slow motion is excessive in this trailer. So apparently Seagal saying “take that to the bank” is only in the trailer because in the original Seagal kills the bad guy in the end … yeah that would have been a nuts ending.)

DirectorsBruce Malmuth – ( Known For: Nighthawks; The Man Who Wasn’t There; Where Are the Children?; Pentathlon; Foreplay; BMT: Hard to Kill; Notes: Started in commercials. Put on a play in Los Angeles that starred the yet-unknown Toby Maguire.)

WritersSteven McKay – ( Known For: Midnight Sting; BMT: Hard to Kill; Notes: Bookended his career with The Magic of Christmas and its sequel nearly 30 years later.)

ActorsSteven Seagal – ( Known For: Under Siege; Machete; Executive Decision; Above the Law; Beyond the Law; Sniper: Special Ops; Code of Honor; General Commander; The Patriot; China Salesman; Attrition; The Onion Movie; The Foreigner; Mercenary: Absolution; Killing Salazar; Maximum Conviction; Contract to Kill; Gutshot; The Perfect Weapon; The Asian Connection; Future BMT: Under Siege 2: Dark Territory; Out for Justice; Marked for Death; BMT: Hard to Kill; Exit Wounds; Fire Down Below; On Deadly Ground; Half Past Dead; The Glimmer Man; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director for On Deadly Ground in 1995; Nominee for Worst Actor in 1995 for On Deadly Ground; in 1998 for Fire Down Below; and in 2003 for Half Past Dead; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Executive Decision in 1997; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple, and Worst Original Song for Fire Down Below in 1998; Notes: Allegedly is starring in a sequel to his first film Above the Law over 30 years after the original … yeah, I’ll bet a dollar that doesn’t happen.)

Kelly LeBrock – ( Known For: Weird Science; Zerophilia; 10 Days in a Madhouse; Hard Bounty; Betrayal of the Dove; Gamers; Future BMT: The Woman in Red; Wrongfully Accused; BMT: Hard to Kill; Notes: Was married to Seagal at the time and ultimately had three children with him before they divorced in 1996.)

William Sadler – ( Known For: The Shawshank Redemption; The Green Mile; The Mist; Iron Man Three; Bill & Ted Face the Music; Die Hard 2; The Highwaymen; The Hot Spot; Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey; Kinsey; Rush; Freaked; The Duel; Being Flynn; Project X; Trespass; Freeheld; The Good Student; Ava’s Possessions; Freedom; Future BMT: The Unholy; Eagle Eye; Grudge; Machete Kills; August Rush; Disturbing Behavior; Man on a Ledge; Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight; Bordello of Blood; RocketMan; Hanky Panky; BMT: Hard to Kill; K-9; Solo; Notes: The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, and The Mist are all directed by Frank Darabont and all originally stories by Stephen King.)

Budget/Gross – $11.5 million / Domestic: $47,410,827 (Worldwide: $47,410,827)

(That’s pretty good. You see, this is why martial arts films were booming in the late-80s/early-90s, easy money.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 36% (5/14)

(The consensus is pretty positive: Undoubtedly one of Seagal’s best, and a decently entertaining actioner.)

Reviewer Highlight: With his ponytail and velvet voice, Steven Seagal makes an ironically gentle kamikaze gunslinger — he’s like a cross between Clint Eastwood and Mickey Rourke. For all that, his presence is paper thin. He’s part of a new breed of action hero: the nonstar star. These lightweight vigilantes — they include Chuck Norris and Jean Claude Van Damme — have zero charisma and sell millions of tickets. Why? It must be because they’re exactly as generic as their movies. – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

Poster – Hard to Sklog

(My god. If I asked someone to make a joke poster that hit every poster grading point on my rubric this very well might be it. It’s got a weird artistic sketch thing going. A nice overall red tone and black and white for the people. The font is legit. What is there not to like?! A.)

Tagline(s) – He’s L.A. Detective Mason Storm. Three hired assassins left him for dead. And he’s waited seven years to even the score. (D-)

(Well that’s something not to like. No way. Not into it. I started reading it and then stopped and just jumped straight down here to write this. I’m calling it right here: Steven Seagal wrote this tagline.)

Keyword(s) – coma

Top 10: Nobody (2021), Soul (2020), A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987), Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003), Suspiria (2018), Jack Reacher (2012), Insidious (2010), An American Werewolf in London (1981), Annihilation (2018), Batman & Robin (1997)

Future BMT: 76.8 Superhero Movie (2008), 56.0 Ghost Dad (1990), 54.2 Hanging Up (2000), 51.3 Kickin’ It Old Skool (2007), 43.6 Life of the Party (2018), 42.8 The Brothers Solomon (2007), 39.5 Jigsaw (2017), 37.2 Saw IV (2007), 35.0 Paparazzi (2004), 28.1 Dragonfly (2002)

BMT: Batman & Robin (1997), Independence Day: Resurgence (2016), Vanilla Sky (2001), Angel Has Fallen (2019), Countdown (2019), Death Wish (2018), The Choice (2016), The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990), Replicas (2018), Hard to Kill (1990), Monkeybone (2001), Swimfan (2002), Miss March (2009), Soul Survivors (2001)

Matches: Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003), Jack Reacher (2012), Insidious (2010), Fast & Furious 7 (2015), The Cell (2000), The Big Sick (2017), Fracture (2007), The Descendants (2011), While You Were Sleeping (1995), The Dead Zone (1983), Unknown (2011), If I Stay (2014), Dave (1993), Forever Young (1992), The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007), Columbus (2017), Reversal of Fortune (1990), Hard to Kill (1990), Amityville: The Awakening (2017), Monkeybone (2001), Sex and Death 101 (2007), The Brave One (2007), Miss March (2009), You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010), Possession (2009), 18 Again! (1988), Bad Dreams (1988), The Brothers Solomon (2007), Catfight (2016), Pit Stop (2013), Paparazzi (2004), Kickin’ It Old Skool (2007), Timeless Love (2019), The Safety of Objects (2001), Until Death (2007), Lonesome Jim (2005), Touched (2005), BrainWaves (1982), Wonderful World (2009), The Dark Place (2014), Lying in Wait (2001), Black Eyed Dog (2014), Seven Hours to Judgment (1988), Forgiving the Franklins (2006), To the Other Shore (2020), Will and Testament (2012)

(Only one more from 1990, Ghost Dad (ooooooof). I can’t wait to watch through the Saw series, it is going to be awful.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 15) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Steven Seagal is No. 1 billed in Hard to Kill and No. 1 billed in Exit Wounds, which also stars Isaiah Washington (No. 3 billed) who is in Hollywood Homicide (No. 5 billed) which also stars Josh Hartnett (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 3 billed) => (1 + 1) + (3 + 5) + (2 + 3) = 15. If we were to watch Out for Justice we can get the HoE Number down to 13.

Notes – Steven Seagal and Kelly LeBrock were married at that time.

Kelly Le Brock had pretty much retired from acting at the time and only did the movie as a favor for her husband.

Steven Seagal did not get along with Bruce Malmuth and considered him to be a very poor director. Chief among Seagal’s complaints included dissatisfaction with filming the action scenes and being excluded from the editing process.

Was filmed with the title “Seven Year Storm” and publicized in several trade magazines with that name. Warner Bros. decided to re title the finished pic “Hard to Kill” to make it sound more like a slam-bang action film.

Reportedly, an alternate ending was also filmed where Storm kills Trent and says “Take that to the bank”. Storm is shown saying this line in the theatrical trailer, which indicates that there indeed was an alternate ending where Trent dies.

The 17 February 1989 draft of the screenplay credits Steven Pressfield & Ronald Shusett & Steven Seagal as writers. Pressfield & Shusett are not credited in the final film and Seagal only received an acting credit. (YES I knew he had to have written this film! And it had to have been written by him and two friends because it is so Seagal-y)

Craig R. Baxley was offered to direct it by Steven Seagal. Baxley passed because he didn’t want to work with Seagal.

Based on several references to the Academy Awards being broadcast on the same night, the events in the first part of the film would’ve taken place on April 11, 1983.

Seagal’s pistol is a Colt Series 80 1911 with a commander hammer and Herrett skip checkered grips. Similar grips are seen in the movie poster but the gun is a Colt Series 80 Gold Cup.

Master Pistolsmith Terry Tussey built a number of custom 1911’s for Steven Seagal.

The inside of the mansion was also used in the Cohen Brothers comedy The Big Lebowski

Seagal’s gun handling and technique strongly suggest that he may have spent some time at Gunsite in Paulden, AZ. His use of the 1911, the press check, weaver stance, finger on trigger, are indicative of legacy training techniques at Gunsite, which was founded by Col. Jeff Cooper as the American Pistol Institute in 1976. When he began making his films in the late 80’s, there were only a mere handful of civilian firearms training centers in the U.S. and Gunsite is widely credited with being the first.


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