Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
There is a significant gap in my efforts to become a Seagal completist, these being the years between 2002 and 2004.  Now I have seen the movies my man made during this time, but I watched them before the FCU launched and as such there are no reviews for them.  That means I'd have to watch them again.  You understand now, don't you?  Nonetheless, eventually this has to be done because I need my Seagalogy degree so I can put in on a resume.  Today we're starting with I think is the least offensive movie Seagal made during this time period, 'Belly of the Beast'.  Another reason we chose this one is because one of the stars is Sara Malukul Lane, who is showing up in a lot of the other awful movies I've been watching recently.  Thirty year old Sara has grown a bit from the twenty year old Sara in this movie, in a way that adult women usually don't grow.  2003 Sara from this movie was a modest A-cup.  2013 Sara is a heavy C, maybe a light D.  Is this information relevant to anything to do with this movie?  No it is not.  Just letting you know I've done the research.

Our film starts with Seagal and his partner Sunti, as played by the awesome Byron Mann, on a CIA op.  As we've stated, since Steve doesn't play characters we don't use his characters name, but he does have one.  The op goes wrong, the action is fierce and this is our first intro to the true star of this film, Steve's skinny stuntman.  That dude kicks ass.  Unfortunately, Sunti kills an innocent woman in the fracas, and he's saddened forever.  He killed her because water was in his eye and he couldn't tell if she was friend or foe.  He could've easily wiped his eyes, but whatever.

Fast forward ten years where Seagal, now out of the CIA game, now just does side work for the government.  This is the movies best scene if only because when it starts, we observe some super athletic guy scaling walls, walking on planks, and doing double flips to the ground and I was
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curious who this ninja was, then director Siu-Tung Ching cuts to a close up Seagal and I'm like 'Seriously?  That's who that guy is supposed to be?'  That two minute sequence, all by itself, is a quick primer on the entirety of Steve Seagal's post 2001 film career. 

Anyway Seagal makes it back home, gives his CIA handler the thing he just stole, who then, basically in passing, tells Seagal that his adult daughter Jessica (Lane) has been Taken!  Yup, almost a decade before Liam Neeson, as the man with the special set of skills rescued his daughter from crazies, Steven Seagal had been there and done that!  Anyway, this news upsets Seagal so bad, he now looks like he has to take a shit.  Oh wait, he looks like that all the time. But I'm sure he's upset. 

So Steve takes the redeye to Thailand and he's there all of about fifteen minutes before his stuntman has to kick some ass.  Then he makes a quick trip to the Buddhist Monastery where his old friend Sunti has been practicing peace and spiritual reclamation with these two men lovingly holding hands, and he tells him that his daughter has been kidnapped and he doesn't want his help.  That's crazy talk of course because Sunti says "I really need to die at the end of this movie in a glorious and sacrificial way, so I'm gonna help you man!  Besides, I've been looking forward to fighting side by side with your stuntman."  Sunti totally said that.

So Sunti and Seagal are on the case.  There's a hot chick in the mix as well who is in crazy lust with Seagal.  They have a love scene in typical Steven Seagal fashion, he being fully dressed and groping and her nearly naked.  This actress didn't sign the nudity waiver though. The other one did however, the one with the secret message on her titties.  I'm thinking a Post-It would've worked just as well, but I guess a naked woman with great breasts who has to cascade herself with running water to reveal the message works too. 

We should also mention the bad guy, General Jantapan (Tom Wu), who is cut from stone, moves like the wind, has mad skills and even has evil voodoo on his side.  Is that going to stop him from getting his ass totally eviscerated by the Stunt Man?  No it is not.  Action, action and more action will ensue.  Seriously. 

You want action?  Dude, 'Belly of the Beast' has more action than you can shake a stick at.  And if you get into a fight with Seagal in this movie, try to make sure there's nothing nearby that can shatter because you will be flying into that shattering prop early and often.  Sure, the Stunt Man or Seagal's magical Sleight of Hand technique could've thrown you into a wall, but why do that when there are glass tables, glass cabinets, glass hanging lights and other glass ornaments to toss you into.  

Is 'Belly of the Beast' a good movie?  Of course it's not.  Steve is still an awful actor, and there were times when he said his lines that I really could've used some subtitles.  The narrative was choppy and nonsensical and the Fat Steve / Skinny Stuntman transitions were discombobulating.   But when you remember we've seen 'Today You Die', 'Submerged', 'Attack Force' and others which will come later… 'Belly of the Beast' is pure cinematic genius.  Plus it has Byron Mann in it, who will show up a decade later in Seagal's 'A Dangerous Man' as his enemy, but suffer the same fate that Byron Mann as his friend experienced.  The only difference being that Byron Mann in this movie, when he held Seagal's had, actually landed bigger blows against him than he did as his mortal enemy. 

The sad part is that 'Belly of the Beast' is over.  Which means 'The Foreigner' and 'Out for a Kill' are next.  Damn.  Do I really need that degree that bad?  Yes I do my friends, yes I do.
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