The career of Steven Seagal has jumped from high to low to mediocre. When he began his action film set the bar for fight sequences just as it had been set by Bruce Lee years prior. But as he aged and became more popular, his films began to take on a different tone, preaching instead of fighting, made by less skilled directors more focused on his acting ability than his martial arts skills. And it was those skills that drew fans to the seats, not the acting.
This is not to say that Seagal's acting skills aren't up there. While made fun of by impersonators and joked about by night time talk show hosts, he's actually not bad. Unfortunately a number of his movies were. But that involved more plot lines, scripts and directors who didn't quite no how to use him. Such is not the case with THE KEEPER.
Seagal returns to form as tough as nails cop Rolland Salinger whose dirty partner shoots him during the film's opening sequence. Rolland survives and even gets revenge when the cop tries to kill him in the hospital. But even though wronged, the force demands he take an early retirement (a nice plot line that plays to Seagal's age rather than ignore it).
At home recovering, Rolland continues to nurse himself back to speed while relying on pain killers to help him out. Not overly so but to Rolland this is a sign of weakness and as the film progresses, he depends on them less and less.
While deciding what to do about the forced retirement, Rolland gets a call from old friend Conner Wells (Steph Duvall), an ex Texas policeman who struck it rich. It seems that someone has tried to kidnap Conner's daughter Nikita (Liezl Carstens) and taken out her bodyguard in the process. Knowing Rolland's skills at personal and property protection, Conner hires him to be the new head of security and Nikita's personal bodyguard.
Not only does Rolland improve security, in watching Nikita he has the chance to find out just who is behind the kidnapping scheme. One person involved is Nikita's boyfriend, an up and coming boxer backed by Conner. A self interested player, he's tied into a criminal named Jason Cross who has a past with Conner.
Various fight sequences that demonstrate what Seagal brought to the genre years ago result in broken bones and hurt feelings when Nikita feels over protected. At the same time she develops a respect for Rolland as well.
With all the attempts to kidnap Nikita, we know eventually one will work. It is then that Rolland gets the entire story from Conner. Cross is trying to steal Conner's land from him, land that has more value to it than mere oil. Now he must sign over that land to Cross and in return Nikita will be released.
Too bad Rolland doesn't like to play games by other people's rules. With a little help from some friends, Rolland sets out to track down Nikita and Cross and to make sure that this story winds up in his favor. Trust me, it's not a spoiler to tell you who comes out on top in the end. I mean come on; this IS a Steven Seagal movie. Then again he didn't finish well in EXECUTIVE DECISION.
With enough fight sequences to demonstrate Seagal's technique, plenty of guns and explosions and several good looking women to satisfy the male chauvinist pigs, this movie brings Seagal back to the fold of solid action stars. The movie may have gone straight to DVD but it will be a treat for fans.