Monday, April 28, 2008

Anticipation of Death is Worse than Death Itself

"I'll take YOU to the bank Senator Trent... the blood bank."

Did a "live watch" of Big Steve's HARD TO KILL (aka SEVEN YEAR STORM) on HBO this afternoon. I've always been pretty tough on this one and for those of you that have never seen it here's the flick in a nutshell: Big Steve is ponytailed cop Mason Storm and when he uncovers a plot to kill a senator he runs afoul of the mob, crooked politicians and even crookeder cops. They kill his wife and think they've killed Storm but he slips into a coma and is whisked off to a rehab facility where he lies for seven years. (Hence the original, incredibly hokey title.) He wakes up and must kill everybody in sight before they kill him. Oh yeah, he also has to get the evidence that will put the aforementioned Senator Trent (William Sadler) into prison.

I probably watched this under the best possible circumstances... I caught the opening, a trademark Big Steve "break up the convenience store robbery" sequence, and the wholesale attempted slaughter of Storm's family. After that it was Wee T's lunchtime so we sorta paid attention during the absurdist escape from the rehab facility (in which a bed-ridden, Howard Hughes-looking Storm evades his pursuers) and resumed paying attention once the de rigeur training sequence was complete and it was time for the killer Storm to be unleashed. Much ass kicking and broken bones followed.

While not in the pantheon of Big Steve Greatness with ABOVE THE LAW, the UNDER SIEGE flicks and the brutal double shot of OUT FOR JUSTICE and ON DEADLY GROUND, HARD TO KILL was actually more entertaining than I'd ever given it credit for being. I think my lingering resentment toward it back in the day was probably due more to it being the follow-up to ABOVE THE LAW than anything. ATL came outta nowhere and played it pretty straight. HTK goes a bit overboard with the puns and action hero "witticisms" and, well, the rehab center escape is a bit hard to take, but given some of The Big Man's recent cinematic duds, HARD TO KILL looks brilliant by comparison.

For you fellow Big Steve enthusiasts out there (and you know who you are) check out this upcoming book... Seagalogy: A Study of the Ass-Kicking Films of Steven Seagal. If you think I'm unnaturally excited about a 350+ page look at Seagal's career, you're right.

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