Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

I’m finally nearing the end of my journey. A journey that consists of watching every single film that Steven Seagal has ever made, thus completing my degree and making me an official Seagalogist. Why am I pursuing a degree in Seagalogy? Heaven only knows. But it had come to my attention whilst writing for this sight, one that is heavily weighted in the Direct to Video realm, that there are an inordinate number of Steven Seagal film reviews on this site. What the hell, I may as well watch them all – I just didn’t know there were so gatdamn many. I shouldn’t do this as it may jeopardize my Seagalogy board review, but I am including films I couldn’t finish watching, ‘The Patriot’ and ‘On Deadly Ground’, but that’s up for the board to decide. Naturally we know Seagal makes movies faster than we can watch them so to become a TRUE Seagalogist is an exercise in futility but we will try nonetheless. Today’s essay for submission to the board is ‘Out of Reach’, which is classic Seagal, keeping with a three word mono-syllabic title as not to stress us out when trying to type into that little Netflix box. Always thinking of others that guy.

I always say that Steve doesn’t play a character and as such I rarely give the character he plays the name they wrote for him and though this film is no different the character’s name is William Lansing, which as any prospective Seagalogist knows is a nod to his home town, just 65 miles up the road from right here, Lansing Michigan. Lansing likes living alone rescuing injured animals on his reserve and writing to his orphaned 12 year Polish pen pal Irena (Ida Nowakoska). While some pen pals might send a child a Barbie or a Hot Wheel, Lansing sends Irena the secrets to our nations rather complex communication code ciphers so they can talk in language only they understand. How sweet and grossly irresponsible. Two things then happen. One would

be an odd meeting with Mr. Lansing’s former C.S.A. colleagues who apparently want him to stop caring for sick animals and get back to the business of clandestinely killing world leaders. The other is a visit to Irena’s orphanage by some dude named Faisal (Matt Schulze) who picks up a crap load of prepubescent girls, including Irena, and takes them off to be humanly trafficked. Since Lansing doesn’t want to work for ‘The Agency’ anymore they decide to kill him for some reason. Good luck with that. After dispatching of those fools and getting a return letter from the orphanage informing him that Irena’s run away, Lansing is on the red eye to Poland to kick some slave trading ass Slow Mo- Skinny Stuntman Style.

As is the case in almost all of Seagal’s films, this is about the point where the plot careens wildly out of control and ceases making any kind of logical sense. Just rest assured that there will be some amazingly lame one-liners spewed, a juicy explosion of blood squibs, some slow mo hand to hand combat and a final one-on-one showdown between our hero and our bad guy in an amazingly one-sided fight scene ending with the bad guy choking on his own blood, swimming in his own blood or getting impaled on something while his own blood spouts to the sky landing on his open eyed face. Oh crap, that was a spoiler. Bad amateur film critic.

What can I tell you? I actually liked this particular Seagal, and large part of this is due to the inclusion of one Matt Schulze in the cast. Mr. Schulze is no movie star. Yet. But what my home dog from St. Louis does have, and what keeps him busy is his glorious flair for the over dramatic. Watch Matt as he snaps his head to the left amazed at the answer that some dude has given him that he has to kill now. Watch him roll his neck with that ever present ‘something stinks in here’ snarl on his face. Watch him talk without barely moving his lips. For the penultimate Schulze, may I recommend ‘Torque’, the most underappreciated film of ALL-TIME!

As far as Steven goes, it’s pretty much standard new school Seagal. Extreme close-ups of rapid hand movement followed by some extreme slow mo shot of some guy launching himself in the air following a super slow mo punch. Alternating shots of a 180 pound stunt man doing some exciting stuff intercut by a close shot of a squinty, grimacing 275 pound Seagal waving his arms in the air. All that being a given, what is left is to determine is the rest of the movie worth watching. Hexagenarian Director Po-Chih Leong does a decent job keeping the action moving, stitching the convoluted story line together to form a halfway sensible narrative, young actress Ida Nowakowska, Matt Schulze aside, was the best actor on set most days and the body count was sky high. However, though Seagal saved the girl at the end, (DAMN! Gotta stop those spoilers) it seemed the other two dozen girls are now sex slaves in Dubai or someplace and that was one really strange final ‘I done kilt yo ass’ stance Stevie makes after offing the final bad guy. Think Samurai with an enormously enlarged prostate.

Ultimately of course ‘Out of Reach’ is a pretty silly nonsensical affair but you know we Seagalogist grade Stevie on a curve and a such we can safely say there are worse films, Seagal and beyond, out there than this.

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