Directed by: Keoni Waxman
Starring: Steven Seagal, Byron Mann, Adina Stetcu, and Vinnie Jones
A man known only as The Boss (Jones) is some sort of crime lord but also has a kill room where he tortures and murders the captive victims of his insane rages. When one girl, Nadia (Stetcu) escapes The Boss, she ends up crossing paths with a hired Killer - said to be “the only guy who can do the job” - named John (Seagal). John, a rotund man of girth, teams up with an actual Martial Artist named Chi (Mann) so they can both fight the baddies that are after them - some for political reasons, some for personal ones. After a lot of violence and bloodshed, the final confrontation occurs: The Boss vs. John. Who will feel the ABSOLUTION?
Absolution is proof that they are indeed still making Steven Seagal movies. Maybe it’s not that difficult to head off to Romania for a while and, armed with a computer that can do CGI bullet hits and editing software that can speed up fights and take away frames, come back with something that you can release to DVD. Presumably Seagal himself doesn’t have to appear that long on the set, as he has other people do his ADR, his stuntwork, and even his dialogue scenes, as stand-ins, well, stand in for him. Many times this is very obvious that Seagal is not actually there listening to the dialogue said by other people. Usually his stand-ins look like Hollywood producer Robert Evans or Roy Orbison. So now you’ll know what to look for. It’s possible some of the stand-ins even have glasses or blonde hair, that’s how little they care to make it match. (That’s a joke, but very close to the truth).
Just exactly why Seagal doesn’t do these fundamentals of filmmaking remains unexplained. Is he some sort of Hollywood royalty that thinks he is above doing these things? Better question: what does this free up time for him to actually DO? What is so important to him that he can’t really even appear in his own movies, but for a bare minimum? When did he get so lazy? Why is he running away from himself? (Stay tuned until the last paragraph for a potential answer).
We’re not really sure who is watching these Seagal movies (besides us, obviously, but we have a website about direct-to-video action movies - what’s everyone else’s excuse?) - and, if people are watching them, are they taking them seriously? Are they meant to be taken seriously in the first place? Judging by Seagal’s narration about him being a bad man in search of absolution, whatever that may mean, we think the answer may be yes, interestingly. Maybe the foreign markets eat these things up, we don’t know. Thankfully, when Seagal is talking (and not someone else talking for him), he doesn’t lapse into a random Cajun accent too much, but you never know when it will strike. It’s like a cobra. A Cajun cobra.
Smartly, the filmmakers brought a solid actor and quite good Martial Artist named Byron Mann to pick up Seagal’s considerable slack. The movie could have starred Mann and been perfectly fine, if a bit junky. However, the two of them walk away slowly from an explosion, so, maybe there was some bonding there. Fan favorite Vinnie Jones as the uncreatively named “The Boss” (Seagal’s name is “John” in the movie so the writers get zero points for creativity in naming the characters) is really at his worst here. Not him, per se, it’s not his fault, but the role is weak. But the guy likes to keep working, so, lord bless him. But as a pseudo-Saw-type monster/crime boss, Jones doesn’t shine like he should. It could’ve been anyone wearing that apron in that green-tinted room.
Seagal is a victim of his own choices in life. He is where he is because of no one but himself. He wanted to place more emphasis on being some sort of blues-playing Buddha than on doing what he does best. He should consider being less lazy and arrogant and instead put some energy into what he puts out there with his name on it. If he were to reverse course and do that, we might really have something going forward. But as it stands, this is pretty much standard Seagal muck.
Comeuppance Review by: Ty and Brett