This is Do Not Get on That Train week. Under Siege 2 is currently available on instant Netflix.
WATCH: Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995) – Rated R for strong violence and language.
“Action hero Steven Seagal returns as counterterrorist Casey Ryback. Now retired, he and his niece are headed west aboard the Grand Continental train when diabolical Travis Dane (Eric Bogosian) and his henchmen hijack the iron horse. Dane needs a mobile base to level the Eastern seaboard — starting with the Pentagon — using a secret government satellite. It is up to Ryback and a petrified porter (Morris Chestnut) to outwit the criminal genius.”
“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. This is your captor speaking. There has been a slight change in your travel plans tonight. You have, you will note, been moved to the last two cars of the train for your own well-being. First, I would like to call your attention to the highly trained men with the automatic weapons in your cars. In the event of an emergency, they may be called upon to shoot you. Your safety IS our primary concern. However, if you try anything stupid, Federal Regulations require that I kill you.”
You have to love how far technology has advanced. At the beginning of this film, the military deploy a satellite that is capable of drilling down to look at a girl on the beach. Today I do that on my iPod. Admittedly my iPod does not have weapons but who knows what advances Apple will make in the next few years. As long as the weapons do not require Flash, it could happen.
Steven Seagal returns as cook Casey Ryback. The first Under Siege had wonderful fights in the USS Missouri (in actuality the USS Alabama but still pretty neat). This one has fights in and on a train – not as impressive but still fun. Steven Seagal still has good fight scenes here. His later direct-to-video films are often pretty poor – martial arts movies without much martial arts, what were they thinking?
Should Steven Seagal movies by their nature be held to a lower standard? Seagal films often have huge plotholes and this one is no exception. I suppose it is unfair to pick on Seagal specifically for this as it is a typical failing of martial arts movies in general.
Steven Seagal fans will notice a bit of footage reused from On Deadly Ground to simulate the destruction of a facility in China.
With a title like Under Siege 2 and the poster, you know that this is just going to be Die Hard on a Train.
The plot is simply ridiculous. For suspension of disbelief, a coincidence is acceptable but typically only one. Not only is Casey Ryback on the same train that the villain has planned for his mobile headquarters (meticulously and with some nonsense about having to keep moving to avoid being tracked) but also the only two individuals with the code for the satellite are also on the train and lovers to boot.
Eric Bogosian plays our ubervillain with a great deal of relish. His Travis Dane is no Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) but he has some wonderful bad guy speeches (see above). He actually comes across as a comic book villain but he is fun.
The more credible villain is Marcus Penn, played by Everett McGill (Dune, Silver Bullet) looking quite different than normal. Morris Chestnut plays the somewhat comic relief as a Porter caught up in all the heroics. Most recently he played Ryan Nichols on V.
Fans of Greys Anatomy will appreciate that a very young Katherine Heigl (Dr. Stevens on Anatomy) is the niece of Casey Ryback.
This is a fun action film with a lot of great stuntwork. I recommend it (barely) but you will have to leave your brain at the door as the plans of the ubervillain are almost Austin Powers comical.
For those of you with set top boxes, Netflix does stream this in HD.
People Watch: Veteran character actor Kurtwood Smith appears here as General Stanley Cooper. He would go on to greater fame as Reginald “Red” Forman on That 70s Show.