Marked For Death (DVD)

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Marked For Death (DVD)

A retired DEA agent (Steven Seagal) returns to his bucolic hometown only to discover that a dangerous drug lord has taken over. When the agent ventila...

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Review of "Marked For Death (DVD)"

published 18/01/2012 | andycarrington
Member since : 10/02/2009
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Pro Fight Scenes
Cons Seagal Never Seems Threatened
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"Marked For Death"

Beginning with Steven Seagal locking a Mexican in the boot of his car and ending with him jamming a samurai sword into a Jamaican's penis and then beheading him, Marked For Death could easily be called Ponytail Man Messes With Immigrants Just Because He Can. But it isn't.

For better and for worse, Seagal's third film, sandwiched in-between Hard To Kill and Out For Justice, brings a shit load of violence, voodoo overtones and political incorrectness (think Predator 2, minus the predator, and dumber). It's far from pretty, seems to run on for ages, and definitely won't win any awards for its brilliant acting, but it has its odd moments that entertain rather than annoy.

What I do like about this movie is its very dark tone. Arguably the darkest entry in Seagal's huge catalogue of (mostly-bad) movies, Marked For Death sees him doing his talking via plenty of bone-breaking Aikido moves whenever he or his family are opposed by an evil, Jamaican drug posse. Led by a drug kingpin known as "Screwface" (Basil Wallace), the gang do what they can to warn Agent Hatcher (Seagal) off their wrongdoings, but things become more and more personal and more and more violent as time goes on.

Seagal and his partner Max (Keith David) team up with a Jamaican police officer (Tom Wright, the only good Jamaican guy in this film) in an attempt to stop the baddies taking over town. There's a Catholic confession and some resistance from Seagal to fight along the way, but the film later includes him beating the fuck out of Rastafarians using a variety of brutal methods, including a particularly-whincing jewellery-store confrontation and one-on-one swordfight.

The twist at the end, though, is completely ridiculous and unnecessary (watch and you'll see what I mean); Marked For Death's credibility isn't helped, either, with its overuse of reggae music and scriptwriting obsession with the word "bombaclaat", which reinforce racial stereotypes and contribute to the over-the-top, prejudicial nature of the movie as a whole.

Seagal's movies, as I'm sure I've said a fair few times before in other reviews, would also be much more entertaining if he actually seemed more threatened at times and didn't play such an unstoppable badass to the enemy. The tension and suspense would be greater, and his movies perhaps would be a little more praiseworthy as action spectacles.

As it stands, Marked For Death is memorable for a few fight scenes, but beyond that, it's just another Seagal flick that you only need to really bother with when you're in dire need of some far-from-great, carefree excitement (most probably in the middle of a hangover).


(C) Andy Carrington, 2011.

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A retired DEA agent (Steven Seagal) returns to his bucolic hometown only to discover that a dangerous drug lord has taken over. When the agent ventilates one of the drug lord's gunmen, he finds himself marked for death. In retaliation, he goes after the bad guys--with a vengeance.

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