Mason Storm is… hard to kill. That’s right! After an attempt on his life kills his wife and leaves him in a coma, things are looking bleak for Mason. But seven years later he’s awake and ready to take out the scumbags that are trying to finish the job. Can he get the baddies (and maybe even reconnect with his son) before it’s too late? Find out in… Hard to Kill.
How?! Mason Storm is a police officer extraordinaire (and Academy Awards aficionado) hot on the trail of a corrupt bigwig looking to use the mob to take out a political opponent. After fleeing with evidence of the plot, Mason is ambushed at home. His wife is killed, his son flees into the night, and Mason is left in a coma. Knowing that he’s a target, a friend of Storm’s help fake his death and keep him safe at the obviously not fake LA Coma Center. Seven Oscar ceremonies later and Mason awakens to a changed world… mostly changed by the fact that a hot nurse is now super into him. Nice. The nurse, Andy, tries to contact Mason’s friend but inadvertently alerts a group of corrupt cops that Mason is alive and awake. They storm the hospital, but even in his weakened state Mason is able to escape with the help of Andy. She takes him to a friend’s house where he recuperates through martial arts, acupuncture, meditation and sweet sweet lovemaking with Andy (that also makes him sad, so he goes to pray at his wife’s grave… like for real). One day Mason recognizes the voice of big time Senator Trent as the voice of the corrupt bigwig from seven years ago. Mind like a steel trap! Realizing that this goes extremely high up, Mason recruits his friend to get his long lost son while he gets the evidence needed to put away Trent. They are supposed to meet at the train station, but things start to get crazy as Trent’s forces close in. Mason is snapping necks and taking no names, eventually arriving at Trent’s mansion where he dispatches a whole mess of people before confronting Trent. As the police stream in it becomes clear that Mason already sent them the evidence against the Senator and he’s arrested. Mason wins again! THE END
Why?! Mason Storm just wants justice… and his family to be safe… and to totally get with Andy. But mostly justice. Senator Trent wants power by any means necessary. At the beginning of the film he’s like some lowly city council member who needs someone dead to move on up in the world. So with seven years having passed and Trent becoming a Senator you’d think he’s got at least four or five assassinations under his belt when Mason wakes up.
Who?! We got a Senator… too bad he wasn’t VP Trent by the end. They even show a newspaper where he’s touted as VP for 1992. Gah! Just hold off for a second Seagal! Really I have to give a shout to the local LA newscaster Jerry Dunphy who legitimately plays a role in the plot of the film. This is his second BMT film after Beverly Hills Cop III.
What?! There is a fair amount of Miller High Life in the film. Like sodas, it’s always fun to find what brand a film represents. Patrick also noted a crazy thing where there is just a bunch of spearmint gum in a character’s briefcase. It’s things like that where I wish every movie had a ten part podcast or was required by law to have several DVD commentaries made… we need to really drill down into why the gum was in the briefcase.
Where?! Good LA picture, particularly since we get the legendary intertitle telling us that Seagal has spent seven years in the “LA Coma Center.” That… that’s not a thing. There is no such thing as a coma center and again… I want to know if everyone involved knows how crazy that is. Bring on the ten part podcast! B+.
When?! While the LA Coma Center is legendary, the 1983 Academy Awards setting for the beginning of the film is off the charts. Pretty easily my favorite setting I can remember and I’m only sad they didn’t have him later watch a bunch of movies during his recovery and then express dismay when Dances With Wolves wins Best Picture. A++++++
This is a pretty borderline BMT film in the end, but we felt like it was appropriate to start from the beginning with his first BMT qualifying film. Boy, we weren’t disappointed. Even his first, better regarded film, Above the Law is totally crazy and he continues his descent into martial arts mayhem with this entry. This starts out like a normal film (minus a truly hilarious setting centered around the 1983 Academy Awards) but then we wake up in a coma center (what?) to a totally changed world ourselves. That’s because Seagal is back, Jack, and he’s snapping necks left and right. It’s a pretty entertaining film in the end as long as you’re just looking for a whole mess of action and some pretty dumb stuff. Oh and I’m pretty sure the entire sequence where Mason has sex with Andy and then sadly visits his wife’s grave to pray is spoofed in MacGruber. You gotta be doing something right if you’re what a spoof film is spoofing. As for The Patriot… wow. I mean… that is basically not a movie. On occasion this happens. We will watch something so terrible that it is simply not a film. The Patriot is pretty much not a film. Sure there is an outbreak of a deadly flu and they ultimately solve it with flower power (literally), but most of the film is spent meandering around with Seagal specifically not fighting people. It’s almost like it was in his contract that they couldn’t have him do anything cool or interesting the whole time. It feels like you are peering into Seagal’s mind and it doesn’t feel good. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! We’ve got Seagal! We got ponytails! We’ve got seven year comas! He’s Hard. To. Kill. Let’s go!
P’s View on the Preview – Hard to Kill baby! We’re finally on our way to watching all of Seagal’s 90s releases, and this week we hammered out three of them. In no way is that depressing. I definitely didn’t have a ton of better things to do this week … anyways, funny that Seagal was a cop in his first three films. What were my expectations? I just hoped Seagal actually did some sweet Aikido in his early films. It is a bit sad later on that he mostly shoots people.
The Good – Aikido babyyyyyy! He was genuinely good at it. And he also showed off a bit of how it worked. Early on he basically has to goad the guy we just saw in Wishmaster II into attacking him so he could Aikido him. Yeah, that is basically how it works, using your opponent’s momentum and body weight against them. At least that is a part of it. And a halfway decent storyline as well. The film (and his first film as well) are surprisingly good, despite Seagal not being a particularly good actor. Best Bit: AIKIDO.
The Bad – It is juuuuuuuuust a tad self-indulgent. Having your wife say “Steven Seagal has a giant penis” directly into the camera is just a whole other level of writing a film for yourself. Then he goes to someone else’s house and fucks up all of their trees and makes their guest bedroom into a Buddhist temple? And don’t get me started on how much he was exercising in Los Angeles with a blazing fire burning. Everything Seagal-y in the film is a little bit off, although fun to some degree. Oh, and the first two Seagal films he runs on screen and it is Leelee Sobieski level perfect. He cannot run. Fatal Flaw: Steven Seagal just cannot run, there is no way he was a track star like they suggested in the film. Took me right out of it.
The BMT – The first two Seagal films (and probably all of them up through Under Siege) are quite good. I understand why the critics were skeptical of the new brand of action hero, which tended to take rote storylines and insert whomever was available at the time, but even being not very good this was at least fun on a “police procedural two-parter from 1993” level. Did it meet my expectations? Yes. I finally managed to watch a Seagal film where he did Aikido, looked fit, and it wasn’t all played as a comedy (I’m looking at you Under Siege with your random Playboy Playmate running around cracking jokes).
Roast-radamus – I have to give the Product Placement (What?) to Spearmint Gum which you can see multiple packs of in a briefcase at one point. Why? Who knows, he never chews on the gum, he never offers it to someone. Presumably it was a character choice, like he was planning on quitting smoking. Solid Setting as a Character (Where?) for Los Angeles, and specifically you seem them venture out to Malibu and Venice Beach among other locales. Closest to Good for sure.
Sequel, Prequel, Remake – There has never been a movie that was better suited for a BMT Crossover Episode than this. Sasha Petrosevich has found himself outnumbered and outgunned. Only a person as good as him at Aikido could get him out of this jam. But surely in this universe, such a person couldn’t exist! “Not in this universe,” Sasha says. Taking his infinity gauntlet he opens a portal to an alternate universe and pulls out Mason Storm, who (as luck would have it) is also half past dead. They aren’t twins, but they can kick some ass. Aikido-ing around like whirling dervishes they dispatch the bad guys and save their terrified families. “Hey brother, you can come to my universe anytime.” Once back in the world of Hard to Kill Mason Storm starts his own agency, Hard Past Dead. “That’s a portmanteau.” Mason Storm says with a smirk. Oooooooooh boy, the ladies love cool Mason. These crossover episodes are starting to really get deconstructed. Very dadaist.
Friend or Fiend – We went for a curious one, a Seagal film that was released straight-to-video, but which was released prior to his last film to be released theatrically, The Patriot (1998) (yeah not the Mel Gibson one). The film is about Seagal (a Montana rancher and *checks notes* leading military doctor for infectious diseases?) as he tries to find the cure for a military-developed virus when it is intentionally released by an eeeeeevil militia leader. Yep … that’s the storyline. And guess what the cure is that they take literally forever trying to develop? Flowers. Just some of the Eastern / Native American medicine that these idiot doctors would never think of. But Seagal does, and then the military drops flowers on the town and everyone is saved (I’m not joking, that’s the conclusion to the film, here’s some flowers, it is the best anti-viral in the world?). The film is a joke. It is so so weird. And in a way that is interesting and pretty funny, but those moments are few and far between. And the Eastern medicine is better than Western medicine garbage, and also the characters being mealy mouthed about condemning the violent ideology of the militia left a bad taste in my mouth. I’m putting this squarely in the Fiend territory.
You Just Got Schooled – Uh oh, turns out that the first ever Seagal film (which was just prior to Hard to Kill) was (vaguely) good! That’s right, I watched Above the Law (that’s three Seagal films this week, may God have mercy on my soul). The film is fun, as expected. Seagal is looking fit, and he’s hitting people hard and they are falling hard and you can immediately understand why he was such a magnetic character/actor at the time. The first hour of the film operates mainly as a normal buddy cop film, except the one of the buddies is Steven Seagal and all of the weird whispering baggage that entails. The last thirty minutes of the film? Pure comedy. Actually one of the funniest films I’ve ever seen. Seagal can’t run in this film either, and everything devolved into pure lunacy right when he sends his wife away to protect his family from his poor decision making skills. I think if you watch Above the Law, Hard to Kill, Under Siege, and Fire Down Below you’ll know exactly what Seagal was bringing to the table in the 90s. B+. Enjoyed watching it despite it ultimately being very very Seagal at the end.