Plot: Jack Cole (Steven Seagal) made a name for himself as a detective in New York, but now he has transferred to Los Angeles and just in time, as it seems like a twisted serial killer is on a rampage. A maniac known as the Family Killer has everyone on edge, as they murder entire families and crucify the parents, leaving behind a grisly, brutal display for whoever finds the bodies. As Cole looks into the murders, he also has to deal with his new partner, the fast talking Jim Campbell (Keenan Ivory Wayans) and of course, the two couldn’t be much more different. Soon Cole finds himself pulled into the case not only as a detective, but on a personal level, when his ex-wife and her new beau turn up as victims. Is this recent death just a coincidence or is the killer somehow tied in with Cole and his past?
Entertainment Value: This action/thriller is a little nastier than most of Steven Seagal’s 90s output, with serial killer thriller vibes and some brutal violence, outside of the usual martial arts mayhem. I appreciated the darker tone that comes across at times, as it helps The Glimmer Man stand out from Seagal’s other movies, but the film has lighter moments as well. The narrative has some nice twists and turns, but is mostly predictable and that’s not a real concern, since the draw for most is likely Seagal’s action or the dynamic between he and Keenan Ivory Wayans. The action scenes aren’t as frequent and that makes sense, as the narrative takes more of the focus and Seagal’s fighting skills aren’t as needed in the investigation. But he does uncork his signature martial arts style of course and Wayans also gets some action driven moments, so there are fights, with both fists and guns here. The blend of action, thriller, and humor is a delicate one, but I found this to be a fun watch and there is a good amount of b movie appeal as well, mostly from Seagal’s presence. So I wouldn’t rank this with his best, but fans of Seagal or 90s action should have fun with The Glimmer Man.
I think he is a lot of fun in this one, whether because of his obvious double or his phoned in performance, but it was clear by this point that Steven Seagal was losing interest in giving his all in these movies. His action scenes are slowed down here, with even less effort than usual and to be honest, his wooden performance is the best part of his role here, especially when he deadpans the attempts at humor. I think this all adds up to a consistently fun performance overall, but I can see how some might not appreciate the minimal effort put in for most of his scenes. He works well with Keenan Ivory Wayans, who provides a needed boost to kinetic screen presence. The two have an interesting dynamic and play off each other well, so the odd couple vibe works well enough, especially when the humor is the focus. Brian Cox is rock solid as always, though I wish he had more to work with here. The cast also includes Nikki Cox, Stephen Tobolowsky, Bob Gunton, and Michelle Johnson.