These two movies are a great place to start for those who have ever had any interest in seeing why there's so much hype about Steven Seagal. The fact that they are in a two pack will also please DVD collectors who only want to purchase the best of the best, for these are definitely two of Steven Seagal's finest films. They were shot on a bigger budget than most of Seagal's efforts and, while they are definitely vehicles centered around Steven and his martial arts skills, both films contain big-name co-stars of real merit. The stories are fun and engaging, and the action is exiting AND inspiring, which are two other obvious reasons why these films had such box office appeal when they were in theatres.
UNDER SIEGE is the story of Steven Seagal (as Casey the Cook!) and his efforts to save a ship that has been hijacked. Things get complicated when a stripper below deck (played by the lovely and comically talented Erika Elainek) miscues her entrance and pops out of a bachelor party cake to find no one left to dance for. She stumbles into Casey the cook who now really has his hands full! Tommy Lee Jones and Gary Busey put in memorable guest appearances as the head villains, but it is the combination of the under-the-top Seagal with the over-the-top Elainek that really make this one shine. (Oh, and Seagal intermitently performs some beautiful aikido based moves as well.)
EXIT WOUNDS has Seagal playing a veteran cop with anger management problems who's sent to the projects as punishment. There he encounters police corruption and a very suspicious character played by DMX (who's actually a pretty good actor here, although one wonders why his character is able to hold his own in a fight with Seagal's combat trained cop). The uncharismatic Michal Jai White offers a high kicking contrast to Seagal's inspirationally interesting redirectional arm techniques, and Anthony Anderson and Tom Arnold provide plenty of gut-busting laughs (don't miss the end credits!). It's easy to root for the aging Seagal in this one as he basically plays someone similar to his actor self, an aging martial artist and stoically tough action hero who's considered a relic of the past by today's everchanging world. While flashy athletic choreography seems to be the norm these days in martial arts films, it's a nice change to go back in time and see real moves performed by a relatively ordinary man. There's some flash here and there, but most of Steven Seagal's techniques are based on Aikido which is an art for those whose aim is not to become a supreme athlete or a show off or to hurt others, but rather to simply be able to redirect an agressor's energy causing them to become unbalanced and under control. (This is an art that is great for the designated driver for instance who has to deal with drunk friends that are out of hand. You don't want to hurt your friends!) Seagal could be a GREAT role model for the ordinary Joe if he would continue to play characters like this that everybody could emulate if they so chose.
I HIGHLY recommend these two movies as examples of Steven Seagal at his best! Other recommendations of his best work would be ABOVE THE LAW (his first and a nice introduction to his philosophy of Aikido) and OUT FOR JUSTICE (a tough mafia movie with a truly heinous villain).