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Mr. Brown Presents The Netflix Files: Into the Sun

I know I haven't posted many reviews really in the last few months, especially January and February  and this is for a few reasons: The first one being that it's January and February! The first two months in the year are where major studios dump out crappy movie after crappy movie, and frankly, those are the months I go to the cinema the least, unless it's to catch up on an Oscar-nominated film that i've yet to see. Sure, I could have talked more about the Oscar race, but there are people who do this better, namely the good folks at Awards, and Kristopher Tapley at In Contention (btw: great job on the covering the race, you guys!). Another is just flat laziness. Sorry, but it's sadly true. Anyway, to make up for the lack of activity, I'm starting a new segment called, The Netflix Files. Basically, I'm going to review obscure movies that I, otherwise, never would have seen, nor heard of, thanks to the wonders of Netflix. To kick off the segment, I'm going down memory lane with martial arts action star Steven Seagal!

A while back, one of the contributors to That Guy With the, Matthew Buck (aka: Film Brain) reviewed five terrible movies from Seagal. These movies were direct-to-video features, save the last one, Half-Past Dead, which marked the last time Seagal stared in a mainstream movie that audiences saw. Since then, he's been shelved (pun intended) to the straight to video market, where quantity is more important than quality of the product. These movies are generally low budget, independent features that mostly compile of sequels few people wanted to see again, cheap action films, Disney movies for the kids, mockbusters, and B-level schlock horror movies/creature features. Seagal's career took a nose dive in the late 90's after his inability to follow up with his biggest hit at the time, Executive Decision, in 1996. The Glimmer Man followed that same year to poor acclaim and a poor box office return, and 1997's Fire Down Below shared the same fate. In 2001, Seagal had a brief career revival with Exit Wounds, but once again, his attempts to follow up proved to be his undoing, with Ticker and Half Past Dead, both critical and commercial flops that doomed his career. It would be a full 9 years until Seagal returned to the silver screen, this time playing the villain in Machete. Up until that time, he's been doing mostly direct-to-video releases, which brings us to Into the Sun.

In a few words: God, this sucked! Hard. Direct to video movies are supposed to be bad, but this one went the extra mile to be awful. Much of this starts and ends with how the movie has long stretches with the characters (including Seagal himself) speak Japanese, but there's no damn subtitles included in the movie! That's right: the fiilmmakers were too cheap to slap on the Times New Roman font and translate what the hell the characters were saying, so what we're left are scenes where the audience has no fucking clue what's going on! Basing what I saw off the film, the plot boils down to this: the yakusas have assassinated the governor of Tokyo, and Seagal's character, ex-CIA agent Travis (seriously, when isn't Seagal playing an ex-covert operative or a cop?) is asked to investigate, because of his expertise with Japanese culture and its criminal underworld. Assigned to him, is a rookie FBI agent who does fuck all to help assist Seagal, because he knows jack shit about the workings of the country. That's another problem with this film: why'd the FBI give Seagal a useless field agent who knows nothing about the working of a foreign country and expect him to not constantly be a hindrance to the investigation? From gathering info from a rooftop, to trying to make small talk with the people of Tokyo, Sean (Matthew Davis) finds a way to either mess things up, jeopardize the investigation, or place himself in danger.

Worse yet, are the action scenes. It's poorly choreographed and filled with even poorer editing cuts. And Seagal isn't fooling anyone: he's not the man he used to be 15 years ago when he was able to do stunts and show off his martial arts skills. If the action scenes feature bad fighting cheoreography, then you have to know that Seagal himself was doubled (poorly) due to the fact that he basicaly looks like this during his direct to video era:

Lay off the pies, Seagal!
Really, that's him. From badass martial arts action star, to an old, bloated, past his prime actor, trying to relive his glory days by starring in, producing and co-writing movies that show that he's still got it., when really, he looks like he's a few pounds short of being at-risk for high blood pressure and diabetes That's just sad.


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