31st Jan2014

‘Force of Execution’ Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Steven Seagal, Danny Trejo, Ving Rhames, Bren Foster | Written by Richard Beattie, Michael Black | Directed by Keoni Waxman


Steven Seagal has never been a big name in action movies for me.  I’ve seen the popular ones he’s in such as the Under Siege movies but he never caught my interest like somebody like Jean-Claude Van Damme or Dolph Lundgren.  This is probably why when I sat down to review Force of Execution I was more interested to see Danny Trejo’s name appear than Seagal, though even that is not a seal of quality.

In Force of Execution Steven Seagal plays Thomas Douglas a crime lord who has a desire to retire and get out of the life of crime.  At the same time Ice Man (Ving Rhames) is looking to make his mark on the criminal underworld and take what Douglas has built.  As Ice Man makes his move, Douglas finds that he has to ask for the help of a former assassin protégé Roman Hurst (Bren Foster) who is still loyal even though his hands were left crippled at the order of Douglas.

The plot for Force of Execution isn’t strong by any means but it comes alive during the fight scenes.  Seagal’s scenes are few and far between with Bren Foster being the main focus, and it’s obvious that The Raid has had an influence in the choreography for the fighting, especially with the use of smaller corridors, giving Foster the ability to almost climb the walls with some of his moves.  It’s not fair to compare this to The Raid though, which is far superior in style.  The fact is for an average Hollywood action movie the action scenes raise the momentum of the film and manage to capture the interest of the audience.

When it comes to Ving Rhames and his Ice Man character just by the name you can almost feel the stereotypical “gangster” bad guy character and almost every cliché is played out.  Ving Rhames knows when to ham this type of role up and plays it for all the fun he can get out of it.  This is probably what saves the character from disappearing into the background really, as there is nothing much to him.  No matter what comes out of his mouth, in truth this is Ving Rhames, and yes while that is watchable, it is very telling of the film itself.

The problem with Force of Execution is that in many ways it’s confused about exactly what its characters are meant to be.  We have Thomas Douglas the crime lord who is a psychotic killer who suddenly has a conscience, then we have Roman Hurst who is a cold-hearted assassin who spends most of the movie wanting to kill himself over the fact his hands were crippled.  We feel sympathy for these people, then think about what they have done in the past and realise, why are we feeling sorry for these people? They have no morals, they are cold-hearted killers who are being written to be the heroes.  At least with Ice Man Rhames is able to play him as the nemesis he is meant to be, which makes much more sense.

Force of Execution is not the best thought out film, but it has its moments.  The fight scenes do put it above most of the generic action movies out there, and just wait for the Danny Trejo scene where he suddenly reveals himself to be a healer who can use scorpions to help heal Hurt’s hands.  It’s almost laughable but in many ways inspired as it’s almost like a super hero finding his powers again.  Don’t expect much and watch Force of Execution for the fight scenes and you may find yourself surprisingly entertained, if not Danny Trejo will get his scorpions out.

Force of Execution is released on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK on February 3rd.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek.com

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