Miss Daisy vs the Russian Mob
Driven to Kill (2009): 3 out of 10: I have no hope of ever being Arnold Schwarzenegger in Conan the Barbarian no matter how much I work out; no amount of dedication will ever give me the moves of a Chuck Norris or a Bruce Lee. But Steven Seagal??? I can do that. Find me an all you can eat buffet next to a tanning salon and I will be in Seagal shape in no time.
Whether it is Liam Neeson rescuing his daughter in Taken or Harrison Ford taking on the bank robbers in Firewall or those geriatrics in Lethal Weapon 4, there is plenty of room for action heroes that are more AARP than Taekwondo.
So I am not going to harp on the fact that Steven Seagal’s film reminds one of an alternate past where Orson Welles had starred in Good Guys Wear Black. Nor will I point out that his hand-eye coordination is so out of whack he can’t even type at a keyboard convincingly on camera. Heck, I won’t even mention his Costneresque mastery of a Russian accent.
What I want to know why this is considered a return to form for Seagal by some critics. (Seagal is back and he is hungrier than ever crows one.) The revenge plot so simple Charles Bronson would have blushed. The movie’s idea of a plot twist is a character who practically wears a t-shirt that says I’m a bad guy ask me how… turns out to be “gasp” a bad guy. The fistfights remind me of Blazing Saddles (You Brute You Brute) and the gunfights are right out of Top Secret! (Two guys five feet from each other hiding behind crates.)
Good lord this film is cheap. Throw in some CGI gargoyles and this wouldn’t be out of place on the Sci-fi Channel. The actress that plays Seagal’s ex-wife (Inna Korobkina) is a year younger than the actress that plays his daughter (Laura Mennell). They put an old lady wig on her and hoped no-one would notice. (On another strange side note IMDb also has Ed Anders as thug #3 and Mike Desabrais as thug #5 but no word on the fate or identity of thugs 1, 2 and 4.)
I admit I have liked some Seagal films in the past such as Under Siege and have found others unintentional laugh riots (On Deadly Ground is one of the funniest most entertaining bad films I have ever seen.) Driven to Kill is unfortunately not bad enough to be entertaining and, lord knows, it certainly isn’t good enough either.