Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Out of Reach


Directed by: Po-Chih Leong
Written by: Trevor Miller
Starring: Seagal & Matt Schulze

Out of Reach ain’t half bad. Well, ain’t half bad for a direct to DVD Steven Seagal flick that is. It’s not great and at times, downright bizarre, but compared to the some of the Silent One’s other efforts, it’s not bad. Some kind of crazy story about Seagal (amusingly playing some one called Billy Ray) who corresponds with a young girl in an orphanage somewhere in Eastern Europe. Naturally, Seagal is a former CIA operative (or some government variation) and when his pint sized pen pal goes missing he leaves his animal sanctuary behind to go find her. What he finds is a dodgy prostitute ring run by a slimy Matt Schulze (The Transporter), a whole heap of bad guys on his trail and another orphan kid who loves wearing shades.

Toning down the gratuitous violence (aww, shucks), Seagal attempts to take a somewhat different route in dealing with bad guys and rescuing damsels in distress. Out of Reach is less a slam bang action film and more an attempt at a thriller. There is little action until the end, save for a few punch ups, as Seagal spends his time decoding messages left by his pen pal, sort of romancing a local police detective and showing his kinder, gentler side by helping all the unfortunate kids. Sometimes it works, sometimes its unintentionally funny, a fact Seagal fans are no doubt accustomed to now. What is most bizarre, besides the dodgy prostitute ring, is the horrendous dubbing of Segal’s voice and Schulze’s weird performance. Seagal is front and centre for most of the filming, but apparently couldn’t be bothered to come in and loop his voiceover, which has been done by someone who is very obviously not Seagal. Jarring does not even begin to describe what it is like hearing Seagal with two different voices. Schulze meanwhile, acts straight out of a panto.

Having a fondness for the Tall One’s movies, I tried to enjoy Out of Reach (and that’s a tough order after enduring Into the Sun) as much as I could and did fairly well. Despite the bad dubbing and some wonky editing, the film is well made and director Po-Chih Leong (The Detonator) even rustles up some tension and a few cool shots. Despite a lack of action, the ending pays off satisfactorily with a well staged gun battle and a bit of sword fighting. So overall not bad, and for a recent Seagal flick, not bad is pretty good.

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