UNDER SIEGE 2: DARK TERRITORY (1995)
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Sequel finds a retired Casey Ryback (Steven Seagal) now owning a restaurant and taking a train to Los Angeles for his brother’s funeral, along with his rebellious niece Sarah (Katherine Heigl). As Ryback has the same luck as John McClane, terrorist and computer hacker Travis Dane (Eric Bogosian) hijacks the train to take over the ATAC’s Grazer One weapons satellite. Using information from CIA agent Tom Breaker (Nick Mancuso) and ATAC Captain Linda Gilder (Brenda Bakke) who are romancing onboard, the train becomes Dane’s mobile base and the passengers his hostages…all save one…Ryback. Now Ryback must defeat the terrorists’ plan, rescue his hostage niece and save the day with only a young porter (Morris Chestnut) to help him.
With On Deadly Ground being a box office disappointment, Steven Seagal wisely returned to his Casey Ryback character from one of his most successful films. This time he is directed by Geoff Murphy from a script by Richard Hatem and Matt Reeves. It’s not quite up to the first flick’s standards, but is still a fun action movie with a lot of the bone crunching martial arts we expect from Seagal. Dane is more of a cyber villain and Everett McGill’s mercenary Marcus Penn becomes the physical threat Ryback must eventually overcome. The relationship between Ryback and niece Sarah works well, as it gives us a chance to see Casey a bit befuddled dealing with a teenager. Once she becomes a hostage, his camaraderie with Chestnut’s porter Bobby, works well, too. There is a lot of action and suspense as Dane uses the Grazer One for hire and for revenge and Ryback must somehow stop him before the military takes out the train and it’s passengers to eliminate Dane. The cat and mouse game between terrorist and exNavy SEAL works well, as it did before. The script writers even work out a way to get action on and off the train, here and there, and it’s only a couple of really badly executed SPFX during the overblown conclusion that bring the flick down a few notches. Otherwise, it’s not quite Under Siege, but entertaining enough in it’s own right and a welcome return to one of Seagal’s best characters.
Sequel has a good cast. Seagal’s is very likable as Ryback. He’s a noble character, but a little bit less intense than some of the other stone-faced tough guys he’s portrayed. He has some fun scenes with Katherine Heigl as his niece, as even Ryback admits he’s not trained for dealing with a rebellious teenager. Heigl is good as the feisty Sarah, though is more of a damsel in distress in the second half. Morris Chestnut is fun as the reluctant hero Bobby, whose porter is dragged into being Ryback’s sidekick. Eric Bogosian is a solid enough villain as cyber terrorist Dane. He doesn’t quite have the personality of Tommy Lee Jones’ Stranix from part one, but he works well enough, as does Everett McGill as his muscle. There are some returning supporting characters from the first installment, such as the before mentioned Nick Mancuso as Agent Tom Breaker, Dale Dye as Captain Garza and Andy Romano as Admiral Bates. Another good cast to support the action star.
A solid action flick that may not be quite as good as the first Under Siege, but is still action packed and fun. One of Seagal’s last big hits and one of his last major theatrical releases before his flicks started hitting direct to video status. He had a brief theatrical comeback with the flick Exit Wounds in 2001, but that fizzled out quickly. Too bad the often rumored Under Siege 3 never got made, Ryback is by far his most likable and memorable character.
Rated 3 (out of 4) cooks who moonlight as SEALs.