Sep 122017
 

Cartels is merely the latest example, a sad one, of just how far Steven Seagal has fallen. The man who once made Under Siege 2 an entertaining romp has been reduced to mumbling lines and half-assing many fight scenes. Still, this is ever so slightly better than some of his other recent ventures, but that’s not saying a whole lot.

 

 

Cartels
(2017)

Genre(s): Action, Suspense/Thriller
Lionsgate | R – 100 min. – $24.99 | September 19, 2017

Date Published: 09/12/2017 | Author: The Movieman

 


MOVIE INFO:
Directed by: Keoni Waxman
Writer(s): Keoni Waxman & Richard Beattie (written by)
Cast: Steven Seagal, Luke Goss, Georges St-Pierre, Darren E. Scott, Florin Piersic Jr., Martine Argent
DISC INFO:
Features: Trailer
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.78
Subtitles: English SDH, English, Spanish
Disc Size: 22.6 GB
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A

 


THE MOVIE — 2.0/5


At this point Grindstone has become like a drug. Generally I’ve disliked the movies the company either bought or full-on produced and now the latest is Cartels and it combines their poor movies with the utter laziness former bad-ass action superstar Steven Seagal has become.

Much like Code of Honor, while Seagal is top billed, he’s not really the main character here. Instead, we follow Luke Goss as Major Tom Jensen, an Army man with a dark past, who joins a U.S. Marshals team working for the DEA — team leader Major John “Skony” Skokowski (DARREN E. SCOTT), Amanda Chavez (MARTINE ARGENT), Eric Ramirez (LAURO CHARTRAND), Gary Dentze (BRUCE CRAWFORD) — tasked with protecting drug lord-turned-snitch Joseph ‘El Tiburon’ Salazar (FLORIN PIERSIC JR.) taking him to a luxury hotel to then be transported into custody where he will turn on his former cohorts and testify in numerous trials for the DOJ.

Well, those former cohorts, including his second-in-command, Sinclair (GEORGES ST-PIERRE), are none too happy. First, Salazar’s family is systematically murdered, including his beloved wife, and next he and a countless number of mercenaries descend on this hotel and it’s all out war. Beforehand, though, there is some forced friendship and, oddly, romance between Jensen and Chavez, this is supposed to be for later when Chavez is taken by Sinclair’s crew and Jensen, along with Salazar, must rescue her. It’s a relationship that wasn’t well developed and never appeared genuine, thus him sacrificing his life because he loved her really came across as stupid, could’ve just stuck with being a fellow agent…

In any case, these sequences are relayed via flashbacks as told by Jensen with Seagal’s Agent Harrison questioning him on the events that unfolded. Yes, for much of the film, Seagal is sitting at a table, though we do get to see him fight in the opening (the capture of Salazar) and toward the end with his now trademark lazy-ass hand-to-hand combat.

Cartels is a simple enough movie and if at least had compelling fight scenes and a fun story, might’ve made for a safe little action movie. But the fights weren’t well choreographed and the plot was anything but fun, though beyond that, the revealed twist at the end was predictable almost from the beginning.

The cast isn’t anything special. Already discussed Steven Seagal, still mumbling his lines and probably allows his stunt double(s) to do most of the work; Luke Goss apparently is vying to be the king of direct-to-video (has some ground to make up to the likes of Bruce Willis and Wesley Snipes) but has zero charm; Georges St-Pierre is a UFC fighter making his way into Hollywood, most noteworthy being Captain America: The Winter Soldier; Florin Piersic Jr. probably is most charismatic of the bunch and marks his second picture with Keoni Waxman; and Martine Argent makes her feature debut and, well, is alright but is mostly there for her looks than a substantive character.

As mentioned, Keoni Waxman directs Cartels and is apparently Seagal’s go-to guy to helm movies like, previously working on Maximum Conviction, Force of Execution, Absolution, Contract to Kill and End of a Gun, all pretty terrible movies so the fact Cartels is a tad better really isn’t saying all that much.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES – 0.5/5


This release comes with a glossy, reflective and title-embossed slip cover. Inside is a code for the Digital HD copy. The only feature included is the Trailer (2:00; HD).

 


VIDEO – 3.75/5


Lionsgate releases Cartels onto Blu-ray presented with a 1.78 widescreen aspect ratio and given a 1080p high-definition transfer. This is a rather basic looking picture, the colors are generally bright enough while detail is decent though nothing extraordinary, or anything that pops off the small big screen. There weren’t any noticeable instances of banding however and the picture does appear clean, free of major artifacting or aliasing.

AUDIO – 3.5/5


Like the picture, the included DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is fine but average. While the dialogue levels sounded clear, outside of some of Seagal’s mumblings, I found this to be substandard when the action picked up as the bullets had no depth or impact to them and even the generic action score was lackluster and the action sequences barely filled the 5 speakers and the LFE channel did kick on a time or two, but barely perceptible.

 


OVERALL – 1.5/5


Overall, Cartels is merely the latest example, a sad one, of just how far Steven Seagal has fallen. The man who once made Under Siege 2 an entertaining romp has been reduced to mumbling lines and half-assing many fight scenes. I truly hope to see him get back into form, with better scripts, but I won’t be holding my breath. Still, this is ever so slightly better than some of his other recent ventures, but that’s not saying a whole lot. The Blu-ray offers good video and audio transfers but with only a trailer, the features are lacking.

 

 

 

 

Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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