Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Black Dawn


Directed By: Alexander Gruszyinski
Screenplay: Martin Wheeler
Starring: Seagal, Tamara Davies & John Pyper Ferguson

So did anyone ask for a sequel to Seagal’s 2001 direct-to-DVD opus, The Foreigner? Nope? Well, ya got one anyway. The Foreigner was no great shakes, not the worst but not even one of the guiltily entertaining direct-to-DVD Seagal action flicks. But it seems to have done well enough and certainly plays syndicated on TV enough to warrant it being somewhat popular. Seagal doesn’t really do sequels with this flick and Under Siege 2 being his only ones to date. So he returns in Black Dawn as super spy/CIA agent/Government specialist whatever, Jonathan Cold and has to stop a bunch of terrorists blowing up LA with a nuclear bomb. Standard fare and if Seagal’s character wasn’t actually using the same name as he did in The Foreigner you wouldn’t be blamed for not realizing Black Dawn was a sequel. Still, Black Dawn does have something going for it: it’s better than The Foreigner and when not dragging its heels and actually kicking into action gear, quite entertaining.

Seagal isn’t in the movie that much, disappearing for huge chunks but when he is he actually shows up himself most of the time, uses his own voice and even fires his own guns. Pity he doesn’t do his own fights. Yep, he’s doubled here once again, nothing more than close ups used to convince you he is in fact in the fight scene. However, Black Dawn isn’t martial arts heavy more gunplay and big stunts. These scenes are handled well including a shootout in a mannequin factory and a ridiculous but well executed truck chase, complete with Seagal inexplicably appearing alive after the truck explodes even though we never see him jump from it. Wow, Jonathon Cold really is some kind of super agent.

Same can’t be said for the silly anti climax where the hero and heroine (a spunky Tamara Davies) must dump a nuclear bomb in the ocean before it goes off. Riding in a helicopter, dodgy back projection rears its ugly head and the two heroes simply guess that the water may be deep enough to contain nuclear fallout. Once again, that Jonathon Cold is pretty amazing. The film tends to drag in none action bits but is mercifully coherent and there is fine B-movie support from John Pyper Ferguson (Drive), Timothy Carhart (Beverly Hills Cop 3) and as mentioned, Tamara Davies (Scorcher). So all in all a decent Seagal fix with some neat action but not enough martial arts or overall oomph.

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