Steven Seagal is HARD TO KILL – (Blu-Ray Review)


Ok, I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not the biggest Steven Seagal fan.  I wouldn’t even go as far as to use the word ‘fan’, but I have to say, I AM a fan of cheesy 80’s action flicks.  Chuck Norris was my hero, as I pretty much saw everything that he made back in the day (Long live Lone Wolf McQuade!). I just never acquired a taste for Seagal’s out of shape, whispering dialogue, pony-tailed brand of action.  But, with a decent script & direction, he managed to crank out a few memorable entries.  I really enjoyed, Out For Justice, Under Siege, and Marked For Death and was (and have been since it opened in theatres) entertained by Hard To Kill, now available on Blu-Ray from our friends at Warner Home Video.  Yes, I realize that this flick was released in 1990, BUT it was MADE in the 80’s, and it seriously wreaks of that awesome decade! 

What’s it about?

It’s 1983 and Mason Storm (Seagal) is a cop with a bad-ass karate chop.  We first meet him in a dark alley while on the job, secretly videotaping a conversation between some really bad gangster guys and Senator Vernon Trent (William Sadler).  You see, the Senator, who’s catch phrase is “And you can take that to the bank!”, is seeking re-election and wants his competition to be eliminated.  That’s where the bad guys come in!

Steven Seagal gets a grip on things in ‘Hard to Kill’.

Meanwhile, safely hidden behind some crates…

Storm isn’t too good with electronics (maybe surveillance isn’t his thing?) and he starts to have some sound problems with his equipment.  He makes some noise and alerts the baddies to his presence.  The goons chase after our hero as he takes off in our first of several high speed car chases, all set to bad (awesome!) 80’s action music.

After eluding the Senator’s thugs, Storm makes a phone call to his partner at headquarters where some crooked cops are listening in on the conversation (apparently Mason isn’t too good with covert operations, either).  After a brief pit stop on the way home to a local convenience store, he ends up taking out a bunch of armed punks robbing the place (at least he good at kicking a*#). All in a night’s work.

Shotgun pointed at him and he’s still hard to kill!

Once home, Mason hides the incriminating tape in his kitchen wall before all hell breaks loose!

Storm, his wife and his partner are all brutally gunned down (by the guys that couldn’t catch him on foot or the car chase an hour earlier) and Storm’s young son, Sonny, jumps out of his second story bedroom window.  The Senator and his crooked cops think their troubles are over…BUT…

A ‘Storm’ is brewing!

While at the hospital, a doctor informs Storm’s best friend, Lt. Kevin O’Malley (Frederick Coffin), that Mason is alive, but in a coma.  O’Malley tells the doc, “the deader he is, the safer he is!” and then hides our hero, under the name ‘John Doe’ at the LA Coma Center.

Seven years pass, Senator Trent is still in office, and we find Storm, still in a coma, sporting a long beard and goatee.  This is some the best acting Seagal has done in years.  Then he wakes up.

Storm finds it hard to shave while in a coma.

Unaware that Storm is a wanted man, his caretaker, Andy Stewart (Kelly Le Brock), calls the police to alert them that her patient is alive and well.  So, again, all hell breaks loose as several underpaid hospital staff are murdered by a Senator stooge as Stewart and Storm escape via gurney.

Mason and his sexy caretaker hide out in Ojai, California … at least it’s pretty there.  While the Senator and his baddies search for the pair, Mason regains his strength, falls in love with his nurse, and discovers that his son, Sonny Storm, still lives!  He’s been safely raised by his friend, O’Malley.

Well, without giving too much story away …

Storm finally shaves, father and son are reunited, more car chases ensue, punches are thrown, guns are fired, flashbacks flash back and bodies pile up.  Oh, there’s also a montage or two karate chopped in for good measure.  Can you guess who wins in the end?  All I’m gonna say is that Mason Storm plans on taking Senator Trent to “the bank…the blood bank!”.

It doesn’t take much for Seagal to twist his arm in ‘Hard to Kill’.

What happens next? I’ll never tell.  I’ve safely hidden my Blu-Ray copy of Hard To Kill in the wall of my kitchen.

But here’s what I CAN tell you about the Blu-Ray:

Although not nearly in the same league of cinema, after having just watched Warner’s beautiful Blu-Ray release of Outland, I had higher hopes for the high-definition transfer of Hard To Kill.  Although the picture certainly looks sharper than it has ever been, it suffers from some heavier than usual grain.  Now, if you’ve read my Blu-Ray reviews before, you know I don’t mind grain; it usually gives the Blu-Ray presentation a film-like appearance.  Not the case here.  It’s a bit too much for my taste.  However, it’s not a deal breaker for Seagal fans.  I think they’ll be happy that this is the best Hard To Kill will probably ever look.

As far as the audio presentation, while it won’t blow you through the back of your home theatre, it performed its job well enough.  The DTS HD master audio had bullets flying over my head and that radical 80’s action music sounded great … it even put a smile on my face.  Good mix here.

The only Bonus feature on the disc is the theatrical trailer, which is actually pretty fun.

Yeah, as silly as this movie is, I have always thought that Hard To Kill is a lot of fun, filled with a great 80’s score, goofy dialogue and some really bad acting.  Obviously this film won’t be for everyone, it’s a Seagal movie!  Again, it’s really just for fans of Seagal and 1980’s cheesy action flicks.  If you can keep that in mind while watching, Hard To Kill, you’ll have a hard time not enjoying Segal’s latest Blu-Ray adventure! … You can take that to the bank.





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One Response to “Steven Seagal is HARD TO KILL – (Blu-Ray Review)”

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