Hard to Kill (1990) Film Review by Gareth Rhodes

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


About garethrhodes

Full-time lover of all things creative.
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5 Responses to Hard to Kill (1990) Film Review by Gareth Rhodes

  1. R.L. Terry says:

    Never seen it before, but after your review, I may just have to check it out!

  2. Paul S says:

    I seem to remember quite enjoying Hard to Kill back in the day, and even though I haven’t watched any of his films for years, I do still love Out For Justice.
    Back in his early days Seagal was pretty entertaining. But you are right, this one hasn’t aged well at all and I’m certainly not going to defend it. Nostalgia is one thing, delusion is another.

    • garethrhodes says:

      I don’t think there’s anything wrong with enjoying this kind of fare, however, there has to be an acknowledgement of its overall naffness. I saw Out For Justice as a teen, and liked it a lot – I should revisit it with 38-year-old eyes.

  3. Chris Evans says:

    I have a weakness for films like this on a late saturday night after a beer…or two! Under Siege is definitely Seagal’s finest hour.

    • garethrhodes says:

      Yes, sometimes a bad film can be entertaining. I get that. It hinges on our mood, I think. Under Seige was fun, partly because of Tommy Lee Jones giving one of his ‘on steroids’ performances.

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