Roland Sallinger is an LA cop who after nearly being killed by his greedy partner, and eventually being forced to retire for medical reasons, flees to San Antonio, Texas, after being asked to work as a bodyguard for the daughter of a wealthy businessman. The businessman had been a colleague of Sallinger years before, when they were both cops. When mobsters kidnap the businessman's daughter, he hunts them down to rescue her and protect her.
I finally got the chance to see this last night, and to be honest, I wasn't expecting much, considering some of Seagal's more recent output. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The plot manages to move along at a nice pace and doesn't really ever get bogged down. Some things I liked were that the fight scenes were well edited and showed more (usually) than some utter pieces of crap like, say, Attack Force or Flight of Fury. There was also some (un)intentionally funny dialogue, none of which, unfortunately, is suitable for reproduction here. However, it did have it's downsides as well. Most of the supporting roles, Nikita's in particular, weren't well casted, and certainly not well-acted, even for a B-movie like this one. I also thought that the set-up for the film went by just a little too quick. There was also some really odd continuity errors, and a little of the dubbing of Seagal's voice which I (and probably many others) hate. I also noticed that they used a "hair" double for all of Seagal's rear shots. All in all, I felt it was a worthy addition to Seagal's DTV output, up there with Pistol Whipped and Urban Justice. It has just enough action and one-liners to satisfy fans, and better production values than most of his other DTV projects. Maybe some of this is being too harsh, considering that it isn't really a mainstream film with A-list actors, but for a Seagal movie, I wasn't disappointed.
The Keeper: Seagal's delivers another film. The regularity of his releases brings a sense of excitement (well, to Seagal's fans anyway) but also trepidation. Will it have dubbing? Will it have doubling? Will it just plain old suck? On the most part, Seagal's DTV release normally tick a yes to all those questions. In recent years, Pistol Whipped and Renegade Justice were watchable exceptions. Pistol Whipped in particular was almost worthy of Seagal films of old. His last two have been pretty poor. Kill Switch was abysmal, while Driven To Kill was mediocre, suffering from lacklustre direction, poor cast, an all too whispery Seagal, and terrible editing. So does the Keeper deliver? On the whole
yes! Okay, this film isn't great by any stretch. But it's serviceable, and it kicks ass as well. Seagal actually has a bit of character in this, and shows off a bit more of the charisma that made him a star. As well as that, the co-stars are better than in his last few films, while the previous company he worked with, for Kill Switch, and Driven To Kill, has a reputation for half-assing. At least for The Keeper, there's a greater sense of effort to make something that delivers for the fans.
The Keeper opens with a worrying start. Dubbing! Oh dear lord! Not dubbing. However it's just in the beginning few lines, and in truth it's a couple of lines that are really needlessly added in. There was only one other moment later in the film I noticed any, but again, it was pointlessly added in. Mr Stand in still gets some screen time of course, but not that much. I'm also pretty sure, Seagal's double was given a supporting role in the film as another character, because one of the cast looks like he could double for Seagal for behind shots.
But anyway, The Keeper is a Seagal film, and first and foremost, it needs to kick ass. And it does. The action has a bit of punch to it. The gun fights are quick and punchy, while the fights are bone-breaking and violent. Sometimes in Seagal films, they stretch the action scenes out, and make them dull, when short and snappy would be better, particularly in hiding the budget. Generally here, the action is short and to the point. The only problem is, that the film could have done with more action, as the pace drags at times. There aren't many fights, but they are tightly edited, and Seagal beats the hell out of the bad guys. There's not quite some of the ingenuity to the fights that we saw in Pistol Whipped, which is a shame.
Keoni Waxman does a service-able job in direction. He's got more of an eye for direction than Seagal's previous director, Jeff King (who's first name is actually Wan). Truthfully he never does anything beyond okay, but in DTV land, that can be a blessing. And in fairness to him, he never does anything that's too lame. Seagal himself seems more interested in what he's doing here. He's back to his badass self, and showing some charisma again too. He won't be winning any Oscars, but at least there is some sort of character for him, and the film manages to throw in some moments of humour too. His last couple of films were slightly wretched to be honest. Elsewhere, the music is not too bad, and the film is his best looking one for a while (the main disappointment on Pistol Whipped was that it was shot on Super 16).
Overall though, this is a decent DTV film. It delivers what you'd expect. Some action, and some badassedness. The plot is simple, and again, for Seagal, that is better. No CIA intrigue sub plots to drag the film down. It also avoids the usual Seagal, revenge line, that's become a little tiresome for him. Early on in the film there's a few moments in the plotting that are just really, really (and I mean really) dumb, but they don't really drag the film down too much. At least The Keeper delivers the minimum you'd want and expect from Seagal. As for Seagals next two DTV specials, he'll be back with director, Keoni Waxman, which is a good sign. On The Run looks more action packed, so hopefully won't suffer the pacing issues of this film. It might lack some of the character of this one though. *** 646f9e108c
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