Hard to Kill (1990) Directed by Bruce Malmuth. With Steven Seagal, Kelly LeBrock and William Sadler.
Steven Seagal might be many things, but I wouldn’t say any of them to his face. This is the phase of his career that his fans might recall most fondly, before he skirted with the big-time and did Under Siege – you remember it… the Die-Hard-On-A-Boat thing where he’s a kick-ass chef called Stacey…or was it Casey?
Anyway, Seagal plays – ahem – Mason Storm, a pony-tailed loner cop with an over-sized leather jacket, who uncovers criminal activity that directly implicates a US Senator. In doing so, he invites violence into his world that leaves his wife dead, his son missing and himself in coma for 8-years…until he’s awoken by the presence of model-turned-actress, Kelly LeBrock.
Like any action film of this era, everything is boldly stated and framed by the most obvious of cliché. The soundtrack is full of squealing electric guitar trills, accompanying all manner of overly choreographed fisticuffs and stock car chases. Seagal’s thing is to play the silently imposing type, which is handy when you’re acting range isn’t much wider than your average table & chair set. Of course, we don’t necessarily come to a Van Damme or a Seagal for nuanced performances, we here to watch them crack skulls, but with these ingredients aplenty, Hard to Kill isn’t really worth much of your time, beyond existing as a late-night, too-tired-to-concentrate-on-anything-good, nodding-off-on-the-couch kind of experience.
Released in 1990, with a firm eye on pleasing the expanding straight-to-video crowd, the film has a televisual feel. With its cheesy one-liners and over-the-top daftness, you can see why some might harbour glimmers of nostalgic affection, but seen in the broad light of day with a fresh pair of eyes, it is complete nonsense of the most forgettable kind. 2/5