A GOOD MAN (Keoni Waxman, 2014) 5/10 (in context)


Starring: Steven Seagal + Goatee, Victor Webster, Tzi Ma

Genre: Action

After a mission goes disastrously wrong, Alexander (Seagal) ends his career in Special Ops and goes off the grid working as handyman in Russia (as you do). However, when one of his neighbours and her young daughter become victim of a deadly rivalry between Chinese and Russian gangs, Alexander is forced to partake in all out war. It is a line of blood with these gangs that will lead to Alexander coming face to face with a deadly foe from his past.

While all the other old action heroes of the past seem to be sticking together now, it is time for another straight to DVD Steven Seagal film in which the man himself is predominantly still flying solo, and now it seems with a permanent goatee instead of the pony tail. It is now an occasion every few months, but at least it is good to see that they are actually feature films now instead of two episodes of True Justice stuck together. It also very important to remember to judge Seagal’s output with different standards to how one would judge a normal film. Trust me, it makes watching the thing a far less painful experience!

Seagal’s latest is your textbook b-movie action plot by numbers that has been done hundreds of times before and everything can be predicted before it happens, featuring such convenient contrivances such as Russian cops that handily just happen to converse with each other in fluent English. All this in some ways makes for reassuring watching; and what is also very reassuring is the fact that Seagal is essentially invincible in his films; not only is he obviously going to win every fight no matter how outnumbered he is, but also that the ‘bud guys’ do not get anywhere near him, I am really not sure if Steven Seagal is even capable of bleeding these days! Though what is also reassuring is if he is having a conversation, kicking the living crap out of bad guys (anyone that isn’t Seagal), flirting or constipated, he has the same identical facial expression. If the man cracked a smile or raised his voice above mumbling his head would probably explode!

The action is of course the usual that we come to expect from Seagal; creative editing and camera angles, as well as blatant  speeding up to attempt to disguise the fact he is just not as quick as he used to be. Seagal was never the best of actors, but at least he used to look the part, now his films are almost unintentionally (and reassuringly) funny.

By Seagal’s recent standards (which could be described as lower than the depths of hell) A Good Man is not that bad and just about watchable, but with the appropriate proviso: It is a Seagal film. It is also certainly a huge improvement on the appalling (in any context) Force of Execution (if anyone wants to read my review that, then please click here).

As I stated in my review of Maximum Conviction (if you really want to read that, then feel free to click here), what made that enjoyable was the addition of Steve Austin who not only delivered some decent one-liners, but actually looked the part. Well, A Good Man has Victor Webster, and though his character having so much screen time is often pointless (but probably contractual), at least he can fight. While director Keoni Waxman directs some half decent action, though as director for every Seagal film these days, he should be well practised by now.

Meanwhile the generic plot actually contains a couple of twists, I of course do not mean twists in the conventional M. Night Shyamalan sense, but for a Seagal film they add a little more interest in the narrative. Another plus is that at least this time it is just about possible to understand what Seagal is saying. It is a shame that after my demands in my review of his mumbling competition with Ving Rhames in Force of Execution the English DVD release once again contains no much needed subtitles.

As A Good Man leads to its inevitable conclusion it is, by Seagal’s standards, watchable. However, the film would be a little better if Waxman shaved off 15 of the 100 minutes and less of Victor Webster’s character (though, as I said earlier that was probably contractual) and also the final two minutes, which are quite simply the most unnecessary and disturbing closing two minutes of a film I have ever seen. I of course do not want to include spoilers in my review (if that is even possible in a Seagal film), but, Steven, she is old enough to be your granddaughter!

For anyone who is after a mindless and generic action b-movie plot, and is able to tolerate the context of this being a 21st Century Seagal film (a protagonist that in combat always wins without gaining a scratch despite looking out of breath after opening a fridge door), A Good Man is just about watchable rubbish.

5/10 (For Seagal fans and in the context of Seagal’s recent standards)

1/10 (For everyone else, i.e. most people in the world)

About MoodyB

An extremely passionate and (semi) opened minded film reviewer, with a hint of snobbish.
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