Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

It’s a new month which means a new Steven Seagal movie can’t be too far away. It seems like it was only yesterday… and I think it was yesterday… that I saw Seagal’s vampire zombie flick ‘Against the Dark’ which, truth be told, was barely a Steven Seagal movie. But after watching Stevie’s latest quarterly action flick ‘Driven to Kill’ it seems to me that the aging action hero was saving all of his energy for this one. Now I’m not saying that ‘Driven to Kill’ is a good movie but I will say that this time around Mr. Seagal put in more effort than we’ve seen from the guy in an awful long time.

Ruslan Drachev (Seagal) is a former New York City Russian mobster and a current writer of hard boiled pulp fiction novels living in California or someplace when he gets a call from his ex-wife Catherine (Inna Korbkina) that his baby girl Lanie (Laura Mennell) is tying the knot. Not wanting to miss the glorious event Ruslan catches the red eye to NYC, though he is somewhat concerned that his daughter is marrying into the mob family of one his most hated former rivals. Once there Ruslan pulls Stephan (Dmitry Chepovetsky), the groom to be, to the side and the groom assures Ruslan that he has no interest of joining the family business and just wants to love his new wife and start a new life.

Alas it doesn’t seem that this is to be as hooligans bust in the house in an apparent robbery, murder up some people and do some serious harm to Ruslan’s baby girl. Ruslan, being the hardened gangster that he used to be, knows full well that it wasn’t no gatdamn robbery and he is going to find who has done his loved ones harm and make them pay! He figures his ex-wife’s slimy lawyer husband is probably in on the crime, he KNOWS that his future son-in-law’s mob boss daddy Mikhail (Igor Jiikine) is in on the crime considering Mikhail absolutely hates his ass, but Ruslan is unsure about what part his once future son-in-law might’ve played in the attack on his daughter, though believe me when I tell you, he’s going to find out. And that’s pretty much it. Let the slaughter begin.

The narrative, as it were, in ‘Driven to Kill’ is pure simplicity itself, made even simpler when you consider it’s something that Mr. Seagal has done in his previous fifty movies and probably something he will do in his next fifty. Retired super badass on a quest for justice. With justice being defined as those who have committed the crime receiving proper punishment. Lifted that right off the movie. So recognizing the pure and raw simplicity of it all there are a couple of things which Seagal does in this movie that some might find surprising. First of all he affects a Russian accent throughout the entire movie and I don’t think he allowed it slip a single time. The problem with this is that we all know that Seagal does tend to mumble his lines when he’s speaking regular old plain English so hearing him mumble his lines with a heavy Russian accent did make it a bit more of a challenge to understand what the hell he was saying. Another thing that was surprising is that I don’t think I saw the skinny stunt man a single time in ‘Driven to Kill’ as Seagal seemed to be doing all of the fake ass kicking in this movie, and there was a lot of ass kicking to be done in this movie.

Dig this though because this is the most surprising of all. So Ruslan is fighting this thug in a parking lot and the dude takes off running. Check this out! Steven Seagal runs after him. I am not fucking with you. We get a full body shot of Steven Seagal himself and not his stuntman actually running after this dude. Unless it was done in CGI it was real. It did appear as if he wasn’t enjoying having to run after this dude as he had a pained look on his face like he was receiving a prostate exam being given to him by the Incredible Hulk, but he did it nonetheless. See what I mean by effort?

The rest of the movie is made up of run of the mill action stuff featuring a lone super badass against impossible odds killing everybody in sight. The action was pretty good though with director Jeff King making up for his last unfortunate collaboration with Seagal in ‘Kill Switch’. As basic as the story was it did serve its purpose in linking the scenes of our super badass killing half of Moscow in New York, but the final fight scene was somewhat reminiscent of the fight scene in ‘Under Siege 2’. You know, where you thought you were going to get some kind of super battle between two super baddasses but you ultimately got a terribly one sided affair with some suckers face simply getting in the way of Seagal’s fists. Repeatedly.

But we did like the effort. Sure ‘Driven to Kill’ offers nothing new, yes the title or the movie was changed from its original ‘Ruslan’ by the powers that be into something that Seagalogists could instantly associate with its hero, despite the fact it really has nothing to do with the movie, yes there are times it doesn’t make a lot of sense and yes some could theoretically argue that Segal still hasn’t made a good movie, despite his huge output, since ‘Under Siege’ way back in 1992. But we still watch. And we will continue to watch. As such with all things considered ‘Driven to Kill’ wasn’t all that bad to watch at all.

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