Even though he made a move onto television, there’s no stopping the direct to DVD Steven Seagal juggernaut.
This film represents episodes 7 and 8 of the television series True Justice, edited together to make one feature length story. Despite originating on TV I’m still covering this as a film as most of Seagal’s movies are usually no better than what is on offer here. And let’s face it, the quality can’t be that great seeing as the Blu-Ray cost me a whole £1 brand new.
For anybody who hasn’t seen any of True Justice, which included myself before this film, Seagal plays Elijah Kane, the intriguingly named but surprisingly muted cop, limited to talking in a barely audible whisper and, occasionally, flapping his hands around in a slo motion fight with one of the bad guys. In other words, almost exactly the same role that he’s played in many, many other films. In fact, I’m fairly certain he’s only ever played this character.
Its television origins are apparent, especially when the narrative comes to a grinding halt after 45 minutes before fading into the next episode. So it doesn’t work as a standalone film then, more like the two episodes of sequential television that it was drawn from. Whose idea was it to put these two episodes together as a film anyway? It doesn’t make any sense at all. Jeez. The first half of the film begins with a cop going undercover to take down a group of neo-Nazi American supremacists. This is as exciting as it gets for much of the running time, so brace yourself for overwhelming levels of mediocrity.
The second half of this poorly structured TV movie retains a couple of plot points from the first half as the ramifications of the drug deal begin to be felt, but otherwise branches off in a different direction. Here, the plot focuses on the PTSD of a soldier who helps Kane take down a sniper, who is targeting people in front of churches.
There are other problems too besides the terrible story structure – and that is both in the context of the single episodes as well as the overall narrative. The soundtrack is frequently too loud and gets in the way of the dialogue, although in some instances this comes as a blessed relief. At least this way you don’t have to listen to most of the generally terrible dialogue.
Seagal is given top billing, yet only contributes a very small amount to the story overall. Much of the hefty acting is provided by Meghan Ory, known more recently for appearing in Intelligence and Once Upon A Time. Thankfully she is better than the material presented to her. How True Justice got two seasons is beyond me.
Despite the overall negativity, there is one brief beam of positive light that can be shone on this awful series. In a flashback to Kane’s military days, we see him with a bandanna, shades and a bushy beard that would make Father Christmas jealous. It’s an all too brief element of enjoyment, so make the most of it while you can.