Force of Execution is yet another lame direct-to-video action movie that serves only for producer/star Steven Seagal to get together with friends and have a good ‘ole time, coherent plot be damned. For their parts, Ving Rhames and Danny Trejo are ho-hum with thin characters and the fight scenes, while nicely choreographed, leads only to an unsatisfying finale which only made me regret the 95-minutes I committed to the film.
Genre(s): Action, Crime, Drama
Anchor Bay | R – 98 min. – $29.99 | December 17, 2013
Directed by: Keoni Waxman
Writer(s): Richard Beattie and Michael Black (written by)
Cast: Steven Seagal, Ving Rhames, Danny Trejo, Bren Foster, Jenny Gabrielle
Features: Featurette, DVD Copy
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (Dolby TrueHD 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.78
Subtitles: English SDH
Disc Size: 21.1 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 1.5/5
Steven Seagal is back once again for another round of ass-kicking (his stunt-double, at least) and has brought a few friends along for the ride in what amounts to a muddy and poorly written script, but I’d expect nothing less.
Seagal plays, you guessed it, an ex-Special Forces soldier who this go around has turned into a mob kingpin referred in the movie merely as Mr. Anderson. Although he is indeed ruthless, he’s also a man of honor and loyalty, which is a good thing because a portion of the remainder is downright scoundrels and unlikeable scoundrels to boot.
Mr. Anderson sends right-hand man Hurst (BREN FOSTER) to infiltrate a jail and kill a rat for Cripps’ gangster known as Iceman (VING RHAMES) but after he kills the wrong man, pointed by Iceman, Hurst must pay the price for getting it wrong: strapped down, tortured by Iceman’s own right-hand guy (GILLIE DA KID) and ultimately breaking his hands, though his life is spared and is ultimately put into retirement by Mr. Anderson for his screw-up.
The first part of the movie is confusing, but I think the gist is Mr. Anderson is attempting to consolidate his empire and partners with Iceman (VING RHAMES) after his release from prison. Of course, Iceman has other plans and set in motion are double-crosses, triple-crosses and just plain crosses in general. Also involved in the set-up is a Mexican gang headed by Cesare (J.D. GARFIELD) who controls chop shops around town in which Iceman will use for transactions for narcotics and other money-making illegalities.
Meanwhile, Hurst is more or less in purgatory, he can’t use his hands and lives in a crappy studio apartment near a restaurant run by a lovely woman named Karen (JENNY GABRIELLE) and grill-man Oso (DANNY TREJO) who, of course, is more than meets the eye despite being a pussy the first time we meet him as he’s confronted by a few thugs in the alley behind the restaurant; he’s subsequently saved by Hurst.
But enough with any scenes with hints of substance, we have to continually go back and forth between Iceman’s connivery, meet and greets (i.e. punching) with competition and with Mr. Anderson’s counter strategy… I guess. For a plot that’s probably simple, the screenwriters’ do a hell of a job over-complicating things and in the process giving us one confusing and dull movie (at one point, I actually dosed off for a moment).
The primary reason Force of Execution, a throwback title to the 80s if I’ve ever seen one, existence is yet another get-together for Steven Seagal (who also produced), following up with last year’s Maximum Conviction in which he worked with Steve Austin, Michael Pare and Bren Foster who obviously tagged along for this go-around.
Where Maximum Conviction was a half-decent action movie, FoE has an unnecessarily muddled plot and acting which wasn’t bad but hardly good with Ving Rhames merely cashing in what has to be a limited paycheck and Seagal mostly sitting back and, as has been the case of late, having his stunt double doing most of the work. For his part, Bren Foster isn’t too bad being what amounts to be the central and most likeable character though his motivations and actions are downright bizarre; loyalty is one thing but the hellhole he was placed in part by Mr. Anderson should’ve given him pause to do anything for Anderson. And Danny Trejo is in yet another one of his roles that is indistinguishable from the previous and probably was doing a favor for Seagal who appeared in Trejo’s Machete.
Whoo, that took a bit and I haven’t even touched the direction by Keoni Waxman who, according to the credit block on the back cover co-scripted but in the actual end credits, it’s a Michael Black, so perhaps a pseudonym. Whatever the case, Waxman’s fight scenes are framed well enough it’s just the other elements that don’t quite work beginning with using several security camera shots which don’t amount to anything nor do they come into play at the end either. Waxman’s career consists of B-level material from the aforementioned Maximum Conviction, Hunt to Kill starring Steve Austin and 2007’s Anna Nicole.
All in all, Force of Execution might not be the worst movie I’ve seen, even in 2013, but it’s really not a very good movie. The performances are at best average with the likes of Ving Rhames and Danny Trejo signing on work with Steven Seagal. This is yet another DTV flick that will be, and should be, forgotten in a mere few months.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 1.5/5
The only feature is a Force of Execution: Behind the Story (17:13; HD) featurette. The retail DVD Copy is also included.
Previews – Maximum Conviction, Pawn Shop Chronicles, Pawn
VIDEO – 4.5/5
Anchor Bay Entertainment releases Force of Execution on Blu-ray and unlike a lot of direct-to-video movies which often have a glossy/soft look to the video transfer, this one, presented in regular 1.78 widescreen, actually isn’t bad. Detail levels are decent and colors, which tend to move towards darker tones, seem well balanced. Black levels also seem nice with a deepness and richness, especially if you look at Seagal’s shiny helmet of hair.
AUDIO – 3.5/5
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track is unexpectedly weak for an action movie. The bulk of the audio comes from the center speaker for dialogue and such but even things like gunfire seems to be centrally located with spattering of residual effects making use of the rear channels. Still, it’s a perfectly adequate track, just disappointing for an action-er.
OVERALL – 2.0/5
Overall, Force of Execution is yet another lame direct-to-video action movie that serves only for producer/star Steven Seagal to get together with friends and have a good ‘ole time, coherent plot be damned. For their parts, Ving Rhames and Danny Trejo are ho-hum with thin characters and the fight scenes, while nicely choreographed, leads only to an unsatisfying finale which only made me regret the 95-minutes I committed to the film. The Blu-ray is pretty weak with one featurette and merely average lossless audio, although the video transfer is quite good.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.