What Not To Watch: Force of Execution
Beware the goatee! Those words of warning have become the unofficial rule of thumb when one is selecting a Steven Seagal movie.
Maybe it was the exception to the rule, but I thought Sniper: Special Ops was decent and enjoyed Segal’s performance in that one, goatee and all.
But after I recently watched Force of Execution, the words “beware of the goatee” were echoing in my mind.
- Creeps Killing Creeps: Honestly, Seagal and his goatee were not what made Force of Execution a less than enjoyable movie watching experience. Force of Execution had a much greater problem than facial hair. Force of Execution had 50 shades of grey and I’m not talking about the book that made horny women go wild and start finger blasting themselves. I’m talking about a lack of delineation between good and evil. There was no the good guys wear white, the bad guys wear black… everybody was just wearing a different shade of grey. There are bad guys (Ving Rhames) and a little less bad guys (Steven Seagal and Bren Foster). It is like the movie assumed that the audience would side with Steven Seagal’s character just because he was Steven Seagal instead of really developing some sympathy around Seagal’s Alexander Coates and Foster’s Hurst. To paraphrase Lt. Shriker from Death Wish 3, the movie was just “creeps killing creeps and nobody cares”. Apathy is the worst thing you want your audience to feel.
- Ice Ice Baby: Now that I’ve addressed the major issue that made Force of Execution not worth watching, it is time to do some good old fashioned nitpicking. For example, Force of Execution had the totally original idea of named Ving Rhames’ character, Ice Man. Did they never see 2002’s Undisputed starring Ving Rhames as George “Iceman” Chambers!?! You could have called the character anything you wanted including Lateferdinna and that would have been a better name then recycling the Ice Man moniker.
- Gun Salesman: There was a scene in the film where Seagal’s character seemed more like a gun salesman than a crime boss with high level military training. And that leads me to Force of Execution’s other big issue. The flow of the storyline. There really is no flow. The movie just jumps from one scene to the next with no real purpose. We know that the fresh out of prison Ice Man wants to control the crime in the area that Coates is currently ruling over, so this thing is going to end with some sort of Seagal/Rhames showdown. But Force of Execution clearly forgot that the journey is more important than the destination. I compare the way the story unfolds in Force of Execution to me hopping in my car and driving from Cleveland to Los Angeles. I know the general direction I need to go is southwest, but without a route planned the chances of me wasting time and getting off track are much higher. And make no mistake about it, Force of Execution feels like a waste of time more often than not.
- Action Movie Rescue: Danny Trejo’s character Oso (part cook/part Mexican witch doctor) was a bright spot in the movie. I also thought Bren Foster, who played Hurst, showed some promise but this was obviously not a quality vehicle to develop him into a future action star. Actually the movie could have been a positive for Foster, but only if they changed up the story a bit. Here’s how I would have done it… I would have had Coates in prison as the movie begins. The story would be that while Coates was locked away, Ice Man was left in charge of the criminal empire. Liking being the guy on top, Ice Man is not pleased to learn that Coates will soon be getting out of prison and resuming his position as crime boss. So Ice Man gets their best assassin, Hurst, to sneak into the prison and kill Coates before he is released. This bold move would take Ice Man from de facto boss to just plain BOSS. But Hurst, backs down at the last minute, unable to kill a guy who was like a father to him. When Ice Man finds out Hurst didn’t follow orders, he orders a fate worse than death on a man who spent his whole life pulling the trigger and orders that Hurst hands be broken so severely they are more or less crippled. Danny Trejo could have still witch doctored Hurst back to health, Then Hurst with a now out of prison and out of a crime boss job Coates could have went after Ice Man and all the guys who turned their back on Coates. Good guys versus bad guys! Put the focus on Hurst and have the action movie veterans there as supporting players.
In closing, my advice to all of you is to give yourself a stay of execution and steer clear from Force of Execution. The pieces of the puzzle were all there to make Force of Execution a good movie, but most of those pieces were in the wrong spot.