Plot: Billy Ray Lancing (Steven Seagal) used to be a high level covert agent, but these days, he avoids such situations. His distrust of the government and authorities in general has driven him to an almost hermit lifestyle. He has great survivalist skills, given his training as part of the covert agency and he enjoys a slower, more relaxed approach. So he resides in an isolated stretch of woods, where he takes nature walks and tends to injured animals. He is involved in a pen pal program, in which he writes letter to a young girl in Poland. The operation seems legitimate, as he sends her frequent letters and get responses, with no real conflict. His letters often include coded messages and inspirational tones, which she seems to appreciate. The relationship continues to grow over time and soon, the two have a genuine friendship. So when he learns that his pen pal is unable to respond, he is shocked and disappointed. He is sure that she would have told him about any problems, so he is suspicious about her disappearance. His connections prove him right, as his pen pal has been taken as part of a human slavery operation. He is soon in the middle of all the action, using his past as a covert agent to get close to those behind the scam. Can he somehow rescue his pen pal and shut down the operation, or is that just a little…Out of Reach?
Entertainment Value: The resume of Steven Seagal is littered with these low budget, direct to video action movies, but I can’t help but keep checking them out, as I still find him to be a fun action hero. Seagal has never been a stranger to guns in his films, but back in his prime, he would mix up his attacks. That is, he would often ditch the firepower to kick some ass with his martial arts skills. He would draw his gun, run from explosions, and engage in car chases too, but his claim to fame was his hand to hand combat. Or foot to head, or toss a dude down with a vengeance, you know the drill, I am sure. I mean, we all love to watch Seagal toss people around and break limbs, fighting crowds of enemies. But since his direct to video comeback trail began, Seagal has dropped most of the martial arts and went with more gun battles. He is older now of course, so perhaps he isn’t able to deliver on the same level. So better to use guns than substandard martial arts, right?
Seagal was more or less banished to direct to video after his fall from action legend status, which means lower production values and for an action movie, that can be bad news. The lack of budget hurts Out of Reach at times, via limited action sequences, but the overall result is better than you might. Most of Seagal’s direct to video films have been lackluster, so a solid one is quite welcome. This is not a great movie, or even a good one, but for Seagal fans, it is a notch above his usual effort these days. In other words, this isn’t a good movie, but compared to some of his other work, Out of Reach is a more than decent watch. The story is decent and for the budget, the action is more than passable. I also appreciated that Seagal is more active here than usual, with some tosses and even a fun sword duel at one point. His voice is oddly replaced at times by someone else, which is an unusual element, since one scene it his own voice, then soon after, someone else. But hey, in a low rent action flick like Out of Reach, any kind of wild or memorable content is welcome. I’d rank this one as a rental at best, but fans of Seagal should find some fun here.