Submerged (2005)

Submerged (2005)

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The Dream Team. In the eyes of some people.
The Dream Team. In the eyes of some people.

Twitter Plot Summary: Steven Seagal leads a team of mercenaries on a mission to stop a terrorist group from unleashing an attack.

If you’re one of the five of six people in the world who always dreamed of Steven Seagal joining forces with Vinnie Jones in an action movie, then you’re in luck. In 2005 film Submerged the whispering, ponytailed martial arts expert unites with the East End menace as two of a group of mercenaries sent in to prevent a terrorist operation, yet find themselves on the backfoot and having to defend against a much bigger threat.

Seagal, replete with a full length black leather trench coat, mutters his way through his dialogue like a man who would rather be somewhere else. At least Vinnie Jones seems to be enjoying himself, but then doing anything, even acting in bad action films, has to beat playing football for Wimbledon.

Seagal gets a kitchen fight scene that warrants comparison with his slappy hand fight with Tommy Lee Jones in Under Siege, however if they were cousins then the kitchen scene in Submerged would be the shorter, less impressive, challenged cousin. In a later sequence he even demonstrates a super powered kick that so amazingly defies physics that you’d think Seagal was either a superhuman or determined to branch out into wire-fu movies. Best leave that to the professionals, Steven.

On the other hand Jones has a couple of decent fight scenes that are nicely choreographed and his apparent enjoyment in having the role means he’s a genuinely good reason for watching it – in addition to all of Seagal’s now cliche wooden performances. Jones’ acting skills may be nothing more than an ability to sneer on cue, but in this case it suits the character and makes his character stand out against the two dimensional cutouts that make up the rest of the mercenary team. When you receive the brief summary of each character as they make their first appearance, you’re already trying to work out which ones are likely to be killed off before the finale.

Seagal demonstrating how you caress another man's cheek.
Seagal demonstrating how you caress another man’s cheek.

Bearing in mind how bad these straight to DVD features usually turn out, Submerged isn’t too offensive, even when compared to other straight to DVD Seagal feature films. The plot doesn’t make much sense and suffers very much from having too many subplots. There are conspiratorial American officials, a small time South American general craving power, an excursion on a submarine and some jungle warfare to name but a few aspects. With a bit of work to streamline the narrative then Submerged would have been far more than your average low budget action film. But then if you’re watching a Seagal film, you’re not really here for the plot are you?

When all is said and done, the good guys win (albeit with the odd loss along the way just to spice things up, although sadly Seagal’s ponytail never bites the dust) and evil is vanquished once again. That, along with gun fights and the occasional big explosion seen from multiple angles, is all you really want from an action film. Plus, it’s a film that features the line “(It could have been) another 9/11, except at sea.” If that isn’t worthy of your time then nothing is.

Score: 2/5

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