Movie: Under Siege
The VHS bin has struck again. When our host rolled the first time, he went out to the box and checked what he’d landed on. In an unprecedented move, he returned and rolled a second time. He got the same number. That’s awfully hard on a 20-sided die. Very, very hard. We were told this was to give us a choice, as there had been a themed movie extravaganza earlier this year involving the lead actor from this movie.
Under Seige is a Steven Seagal movie.
With Tommy Lee Jones and Gary Busey.
And it’s as amazing as that sounds.
Three words for you: Busey in drag.
This movie is pretty aptly named, I guess. There’s a navy ship. It’s under siege by bad guys. Steven Seagal has to kill them all. It’s shockingly violent in places. I say this as a legitimate fan of action movies. All I can say is that there’s a bandsaw death and it was pretty shocking (not too bloody, though – there’s hardly any blood in this movie where people shoot each other with automatic weapons).
Seagal is a chef on a navy ship that’s being retired, and seeing the captain, you wonder how the ship is even still running, since the man would have probably been retired about a decade before this situation presents itself. The two days from retirement trope holds true – don’t get attached to the captain. It’s also captain old guy’s birthday! So Gary Busey’s character is angrily ordering people to plan a surprise party for him involving live music and a stripper cake with a Playboy Playmate (Miss July 1988, according to the characters).
The band leader is Tommy Lee Jones dressed as a combination of Jesse “the Body” Ventura and Paul Ellering (seriously, look him up, he’s a badass). And he plays the harmonica in a weird tiny band that in no way requires an entire troop deployment helicopter, but they’ve brought “catering” with them too, despite the ship having a shockingly unsecured and hazardous kitchen (that’s where the bandsaw death occurs, among others).
Seagal and his chefs are shown as close-knit for all of twenty seconds, dancing around and insulting each other in some of the worst Louisiana accents I’ve heard outside of a Maine classroom. I’m pretty sure Seagal isn’t from Louisiana. In fact, I’m pretty sure he’s a Jewish/Lutheran boy from Lansing, Michigan. Regardless, this is the movie where the screaming “RYBACK” clip they’ve used on Botchamania comes from. Because Seagal’s character is named Ryback.
This is one of Seagal’s early movies, so not only is he under a thousand pounds, he’s also willing to lose the first fight scene he’s in! He loses because Busey wants everyone to report to the same place at the same time for a party, (Gee. That couldn’t be a trap.) and Ryback does not want to be told he won’t be cooking for the captain, since the captain doesn’t eat if Ryback isn’t cooking.
Ryback loses a fight against a bunch of military dudes loyal to Busey and they imprison him in the meat locker. There’s no evidence that the meat locker is actually refrigerated. They couldn’t afford dry ice, I guess… The rest of the first third of the movie is just Ryback trying to convince a very, very stupid navyman to let him out of the locker. Even after they hear live fire, the kid is told by the bad guys that it’s just firecrackers (which are illegal on a navy ship, last I knew, since points of ignition are heavily regulated), and he just believes them until they straight up kill him for no reason.
Kid’s dumb enough that he would’ve been the easiest patsy in the world, but no, let’s kill the stupidly loyal kid, but leave the chef with no personnel file untouched.
In the meantime, Gary Busey is entertaining the troops in a terrible drag costume and falsetto, parading around the mess hall with a couple of beach balls stuffed under a cardigan. He shows up at the captain’s quarters in this getup and that’s the last thing the captain ever sees. My god. Poor man.
Busey and Tommy Lee Jones are working together, and later it’s revealed that Busey is bitter that everyone in the navy can see that he’s legitimately insane, but Jones was a contractor for the CIA who’s pissed that the nation that used and abused him eventually tried to assassinate him. Somehow, Jones and Seagal’s characters know each other.
Also, Ryback was a Seal. Surprise.
While trying to take back the ship with nothing but a knife and his prodigious face, Ryback finds some dead guys in the mess hall (the bed guys were the band and catering, so the ship was overtaken in moments, because I guess the Navy sucks at repelling boarders?) and also the stripper cake that we have been told Miss July is supposed to be inside.
She was handed a bottle of Dramamine by Tommy Lee Jones and took about six. I’m no pharmacist, but that sounds like it would just kill you, not knock you out hard enough that you only wake up when a fake cajun bumps into the cue music for you. We do get to see her boobs and she’s wearing a thong, so there’s that at least.
Unfortunately, we’re stuck with her for the rest of the movie.
She was not in the original script – Seagal wanted boobs.
You can tell.
Sadly, she’s not the least competent character – that prize goes to a young guy with infinite faith in Ryback but zero talent with guns.
There’s a scene where Jones & Busey try to drown a bunch of guys in the lower decks, some older dudes are locked in a room, and Seagal begins to gather his forces (starting with the old guys). The old guys stop the water from flowing into the area with the sailors belowdecks, but no attempt is made to actually set them free until they start hijacking their own guns.
Meanwhile, the US government is actually trying to figure out a way to save the ship, the CIA admits fault, and it’s all really boring. And stupid. They give up after one attempt. Seriously.
Jones apparently wants to nuke Hawaii. Why? Because, again, the government tried to kill him.
The movie eventually ends with a lot of explosions, Seagal rips a guy’s throat out with his bare hands, and then he rips Tommy Lee Jones’ eye out before dumping him into the controls. Then Seagal jumps in a fighter jet and shoots down the nuke, I think? I got bored, to be honest.
All in all, though, this is a fantastic movie, and I would strongly recommend it to anyone who wants a dumb fun action movie with a hint of boobs.
I give Under Siege an I-Beam Death out of 5
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