Bullet Points: Hard to Kill
It’s a very special day here at Bulletproof Action as we celebrate the birthday of Mr. Steven Seagal so I thought it no better way to pay tribute then by reviewing one of my favorite Seagal films. I love me a good revenge movie and Hard to Kill is one of the best. Steven Seagal probably isn’t in the upper echelon of action stars but he isn’t far behind. I would argue that Seagal’s best 3 movies are comparable to any other action stars. The problem with Seagal’s filmography is that he has made about a dozen movies that suck beyond belief. Hard to Kill does not fall into that category, however. It’s a violent masterpiece orchestrated by a limb-breaking artist who has whispered and murdered his way into my heart and the hearts of action fans everywhere.
The Gist: Mason Storm (Steven Seagal), an LA Detective and his family are targeted by a corrupt Senator and his goons after Storm gets incriminating evidence against the Senator. After a bloodbath at the Storm residence, Mason’s family laid dead and he was comatose for several years. Upon finally waking up, Storm is chased by the bad guys once again and he enlists the help of a sexy nurse from the hospital in his quest to get his revenge on the senator and his douche bag friends.
The Cast: Steven Seagal plays Mason Storm, who has possibly the greatest action hero name ever, and just when you thought that Seagal’s first movie Above the Law was gonna be his best ever he comes out with Hard to Kill and blows you away with its bone-snapping, pool-cue murdering action. Seagal doesn’t have the huge muscles like Arnold or Sly but neither of those guys kill people while wearing a vest, do they? Score one for Seagal. He also has an amazing montage in HTK where he slowly gains his strength back while running up a mountain, punching rope-covered boards, wearing a gi, and plowing the girl from Weird Science. Seagal and Kelly LeBrock were married during the making of this movie and who could blame big Steve for settling down with Ms. LeBrock cause she was looking mighty fine circa ’89.
You had to know that Steve would use that kabuki mask behind him too.
The Villain: Senator Trent is played by the great William Sadler who you probably remember from Die Hard 2 or when I wrote a bomb-ass article about him back in November. Sadler plays corrupt like McConaughey does stoner. I don’t know how many times he’s played a good guy but I don’t want to see those movies. Give me Sadler at his baddest and let’s leave it at that. He surrounds himself with a bunch of crooked cops, one of which is played by the excellent Branscombe Richmond. Richmond is best known as the Indian looking dude from the TV show Renegade but a quick search on imdb.com revealed some of his greatest roles we’ve never heard of; “Dancing Bear”, “Rapist”, and my personal favorite “Terrifying Clown #1”. How he hasn’t received an Academy Award for those roles is astounding.
It looks like just finished a Man Vs Food Chili competition.
The Action: One early scene has Storm going into a local convenience store (do they still call them that?) and picking up a little bubbly and a toy for his kid before the store is “held up” by a few thugs. Storm no sells the thugs and even goes so far as to throw his weapon on the ground and get on his knees before beating the shit out of the leader and breaking his bones like a pretzel stick. One thing this movie doesn’t show is Storm sitting up at night and coming up with all of these awesome one-liners he blasts out as he’s pulverizing the bad guys. There is no way that he comes up with that stuff off the top of his head.
Seagal gets cheered on for publicly killing this minority. I don’t think it would play out that way today.
Take it Home:
- Anything is possible: Even with Mason Storm’s tiny little steps, he is still able to montage himself back to health in what seems like the course of a few days.
- Favorite quotes: Storm dishes out one-liners almost as well as he dishes out the violence. I don’t want to give away too many but here are a couple favorites: “That’s for my wife. F*ck you and die!” followed by a pool cue to the throat, then he says “now you’re a good cop.”
- Favorite quotes: Storm points his shotgun at the Senator’s junk and fires but blows a hole through his robe without hitting him, “I missed! I never miss! They must’ve been smaller than I thought.”
- What might have been: Craig R. Baxley, who we’ve mentioned a few times, was offered to direct but he turned it down.
- Getting serious: You know Mason Storm means business when he finally breaks out his leather jacket!