Plot: Casey Ryback still loves to cook, but he has retired from military service and settled into a more normal, relaxed lifestyle. He is about to head out on a vacation with his niece, to help her take her mind off the loss of her parents and perhaps help her turn a corner from some recent rebellious behavior. The two travel via train to Los Angeles and while Casey assumes it will be a routine voyage, that turns out not to be the case. Also on the train is Travis Dane (Eric Bogosian), a former CIA strategist with an unstable mind and some dangerous ideas. Dane seizes control of the train soon after it embarks, thanks to a small squad of elite mercenaries and with the train in his hands, he uses it as a mobile command center to launch a nuclear attack. If his plan succeeds, he will strike a secret reactor at the Pentagon, which would wipe out most of the East coast in a massive nuclear blast. But Dane didn’t count on on a certain cook being on board and of course, Casey has no intent of allowing Dane’s plan to come to fruition.
Entertainment Value: The first Under Siege was a polished, well crafted action movie that had some b movie vibes woven in, but this sequel ramps up the schlock and shows no regrets. To me, that is great news and Under Siege 2 is a wild, fun action movie in its own right, but I know some dislike the increased cheese. I mean, the train wreck finale is a thing of beauty in my opinion, with Steven Seagal jogging in place to escape a fiery demise. The narrative is essentially Under Siege on a train, which is fine, as it lets the movie do what needs to be done. No real surprises or twists to mention, but the film provides what you’d expect from Seagal in his prime, with a lot of action scenes and one liners on showcase. As with the first movie, Seagal is given a colorful villain to square off against and Eric Bogosian really runs with the role, which is fun to watch. The fight scenes aren’t as slick as in Seagal’s best pictures, but we have fist fights, chases, gun battles, and some decent set pieces to soak in, including the wild, ridiculous train wreck finale. The production values seem to have been slashed a bit here from the sequel, which might explain the emphasis on b movie elements, but again, I had fun and those kind of touches enhance a movie like this, I think. So for fans of prime Seagal or 90s action movies, Under Siege 2 is recommended.
This was made while Steven Seagal was still riding high and while it isn’t one of his top tier efforts, it is a fun ride that has all the usual Seagal trimmings. I love to see him go up against colorful villains and that certainly happens in Under Siege 2, with Eric Bogosian channeling a low rent Bond villain here. I mean that as a huge compliment too, as he is immense fun and just chews scenes like a maniac, with the kind of dark enthusiasm he often brings to his roles. Bogosian’s intensity is a great contrast for Seagal’s cool, laid back persona and while the two don’t have a lot of shared scenes, the dynamic is still effective. I wouldn’t have minded more direct interactions of course, but the banter is fun and frequent, so there’s that. A nice assortment of heavies play the henchmen here, such as Peter Greene and Patrick Kilpatrick, while the cast also includes Morris Chestnut, Katherine Heigl, and Nick Mancuso.
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