Stars: Steven Seagal, Russell Wong, Jemma Dallender, Mircea Drambareanu, Sergiu Costache, Ghassan Bouz, Andrei Stanciu | Written and Directed by Keoni Waxman
In his latest direct to DVD effort, Contract to Kill, Steven Seagal stars as Harmon, a CIA/DEA enforcer investigating Arab terrorists captured in Mexico. With his team: FBI agent Zara, and spy-drone pilot Sharp, he flies to Istanbul and uncovers a brutal plot by Islamic extremists – who plan to use Sonora drug-smuggling routes to bring deadly weapons, and leaders, into the U.S. To prevent an attack on America, Harmon must turn these two savage forces against one another before his time, and his luck, run out.
Yes, we’re back on the Steven Seagal bandwagon, with yet another film that, once again, sees writer/director Keoni Waxman working with Segal to craft another slice of direct to DVD action. In fact, if my maths is correct, Contract to Kill is the TENTH film for Waxman and Seagal, with more already announced/on the way.
It had to happen eventually didn’t it. Waxman and Seagal couldn’t keep up their winning streak forever and sadly Contract to Kill is the weak link in their, admittedly very long, cinematic chain. Their run of good, if not great, movies has ended and unfortunately it had to be the one film that also featured Russell Wong in his first action role in years… For those unaware, Wong is one of the most underrated and under-utilised actors working today. His two TV shows, Vanishing Son and Black Sash, are still some of the best examples of martial arts on television – and that’s even compared to the likes of Kung-Fu and The Master! Thankfully Wong manages to hold his own in a film that seems to want to be an international espionage thriller rather than the usual Seagal action fare.
For those that are familiar with the usual tropes of Seagal’s DTV movies, the fact this takes a new spin on the proceedings SHOULD make this essential viewing, after all we ALL want to see something new from Seagal right? There’s only so many lone-wolf hero films featuring an ageing Seagal you can see… However the sheer dullness of what unfolds on screen makes Contract to Kill one of the most unsatisying Seagal movies since his heavily body-doubled films of the mid-to-late 2000s (I’m talking the likes of 2004′s Out of Reach). But even those had a ridiculousness to them that at least made them enjoyable to watch regardless.
But hey, despite the shoddy plot and dreary execution, at least Contract to Kill sees Seagal get to have a love scene with I Spit on Your Grave 2‘s Jemma Dallender, who is a part of Seagal’s team in more ways than one! Yeah, like ANYONE wants to see that. Stick to clumsily kicking ass Seagal and leave the love scenes to someone else…
Contract to Kill is out now on DVD from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.