HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
You've Been Trumped Too
Woman in Black, The
Elvis: That's the Way It Is
Man Who Laughs, The
Watch List
Giraffe
Kat and the Band
Echo
Perfect 10
Octaman
Red Penguins
China Syndrome, The
Babyteeth
Round-Up, The
Around the Sun
Once There Was Brasilia
Peripheral
Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street
Ice
She Demons
Good Girls, The
Hail, Hero!
Faces in the Crowd
Tamango
Traitor, The
Tomorrow
Third Generation, The
Saxon Charm, The
Spy Intervention
Moonrise
Mulan
Killer with a Thousand Eyes, The
Vigil, The
Liberation of L.B. Jones, The
Wizard of Baghdad, The
Ride
Good Manners
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
Sweet Home
Big Score, The
   
 
Newest Articles
What Use is Grief to a Horse? Equus on Blu-ray
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights in with ABC 2 - Your Faces are All Blurred!
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
The Beat Goes On: Takeshi Kitano Collection on Blu-ray
Dream Treats: Scorsese Shorts on Blu-ray
It's Only Money: Laughter in Paradise on Blu-ray
A Regular Terpsichore: Dance, Girl, Dance on Blu-ray
Teenage Trauma: Baby Love on Blu-ray
The Happening: Pet Shop Boys It Couldn't Happen Here on Blu-ray
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
   
 
  Marked for Death That voodoo he do so well
Year: 1990
Director: Dwight H. Little
Stars: Steven Seagal, Basil Wallace, Keith David, Tom Wright, Joanna Pacula, Elizabeth Gracen, Bette Ford, Danielle Harris, Al Israel, Arlen Dean Snyder, Victor Romero Evans, Michael Ralph, Jeffrey Anderson-Gunter, Tony DiBenedetto, Kevin Dunn
Genre: Action, Martial Arts, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: After a drug bust in Colombia goes sour, disillusioned DEA agent John Hatcher (Steven Seagal) quits the force. He returns home to reconnect with his family only to find his small American town overrun with violent Jamaican drug-dealers led by a maniacal, voodoo-energized kingpin called Screwface (Basil Wallace). Waging a turf war with a rival Columbian cartel Screwface's gun-toting cronies shoot up a bar forcing Hatcher to intervene. Hatcher's heroism enrages Screwface. It is not long before a hit squad reaches his home as our crusading cop learns his family are... wait for it... marked for death.

At the peak of his popularity in the early Nineties, Steven Seagal headlined a string of slick action vehicles with production values a cut above the direct-to-video dreck he cranks out to this day. Of course while Seagal's films were more polished than say, Chuck Norris' output at Cannon Films, they were no less dumb. Marked for Death stands out by virtue of being one of his wilder, weirder movies pitting the pony-tailed pugilist against a horde of comic book Jamaican stereotypes and a dreadlocked rasta-masta with honest-to-god voodoo powers. Hence an air of mysticism hangs over the evil antics of Screwface. He moves like a ghost, appears in many places at once, casts runes to foretell the future, smears chicken blood on intended victims and appears indestructible. As a bonus horror veteran Dwight H. Little adds a scene where a sexy Santeria priestess bathes in milk and slaughters yet another chicken just to up the gratuitous black magic nudity quotient.

Sadly the film squanders this promising premise on a routine shoot-'em-up. Even Joanna Pacula's voodoo expert, seemingly set up as an invaluable ally or at the very least a potential love interest (given she all but melts at the first sight of John Hatcher), has next to no impact on the pedestrian plot. The villains may as well be Italian mobsters or Middle Eastern terrorists for all the difference it makes. Their sole function is to piss Seagal off enough to do his thing. This they do by machine-gunning his family home and hospitalizing his cute little niece played by future scream queen Danielle Harris, veteran of Little's Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Meyers (1988). Yet while Little manages to weave an intriguingly eerie atmosphere around Screwface, his pacing of the all-important action scenes is sluggish. Seagal's much-vaunted martial arts prowess relies overtly on choppy editing that proves more confusing than compelling.

On a thematic level Marked for Death is mildly interesting. Co-written by Michael Grais and Mark Victor the script is something of a call to arms after a decade of complacency, reflecting then-President George Bush Sr.'s escalation of the war on drugs. Early into the film we have an unintentionally hilarious scene where Hatcher confesses to a priest all the terrible things he has done as an undercover agent which include lying, murdering people, taking drugs and sleeping with informants (women, one assumes though the alternative would be a novel twist in a Seagal movie). The futility of the war on drugs leaves Hatcher cynical, disillusioned and no longer willing to risk his neck. Instead he tries to reconnect with the simple, small town values that presumably made him want to be a cop in the first place, only to find them threatened by what else but drugs. Scenes of black pushers targeting clean-cut young white boys and girls flirt with offensive cliché but the film works to counterbalance potential racism with more positive black characters in the form of Hatcher's crime-busting pal Max (Keith David) and Jamaican DEA agent Charles (Tom Wright). Weirdly, Max is just a high school football coach yet no-one bats an eyelid when he shotgun blasts thugs on a crowded street.

The script tries to hammer home the message that Hatcher is wrong to bury his head in the sand when there is so much worth fighting for but Seagal's surly persona proves more hindrance than help. Your traditional action hero rallies their community to take a moral stand. Hatcher might care about his family but appears indifferent to everyone else. He threatens criminals and civilians alike, right down to the doctor treating his niece, and nonchalantly plows his car through a crowded restaurant and shopping mall. Like many action heroes of his ilk, Seagal's characters are cut-rate imitations of Clint Eastwood that miss the point. Dirty Harry was frustrated with the system not contemptuous of society. Special guest appearance from Jimmy Cliff who performs a reggae theme song co-written by Steven Seagal!


Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2264 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (2)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: