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Today You Die [Import]
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Count on Steven Seagal to pack a devastating punchthis time with a little something extra. Not only does he prove the fist is mightier than the gun, he uses the supernatural to dish out bone-crunching punishment. Harlan Banks (Seagal) is hired to drive a delivery truck in Vegas. He picks up $20 million in cash, when his double-crossing cohort blasts two security men and then holds his gun to Banks head, ordering him to drive. After one of the most extraordinary chase scenes ever filmed on the streets of Vegas, Banks ends up in prison. But with a little mystical assistance, he escapes tounleash an explosive, unearthly vengeance.
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'Today You Die' has an inconceivable plot, but I will do my best: The Lordage is an ex-thief trying to go straight so he picks up a job as an armored car driver, only he's setup by some criminal mastermind named Max to take the fall for the robbery of the armored car. But somehow or other(its never really explained), the Lord does what the Lord does and ends up with the $20 million that Max was supposed to have stolen. The Lord is captured by the police and sent to prison(with no trial mind you). There he meets his apparently new best friend Ice(former Naughty By Nature rapper Treach in a truly Oscar-caliber performance). Well, the Lord and his new bosom buddy break out of prison. Of course the evil gangsters want the money that the Lord stole from them back. But Seagal can't let that happen. Its not really about the money, but more of a moral principle-type issue for him.
Now that is a much more coherent outline of what actually happens in 'Today You Die'. There's actually a whole lot more that I left out: Seagal's girlfriend's psychic visions which mean absolutely nothing to the film, the PMSing female cop who puts him in prison and then becomes his best buddy for no apparent reason once he breaks out, the second bad guy in the film that has nothing to do with the evil Max, and the little girl at the end of the movie who nevers appears or is even mentioned in the entire film but to Seagal apparently has some important connection . This movie makes no sense at all. None.
Now, onto the Lordage: he actually looks as if he's slimmed down a bit(maybe dropping from 350 pounds to around 320). His hair is disguistingly nappy and he doesn't even bother ponytailing it; it just hangs limply over his collar in total mullet fashion. There are a couple bright spots here though: #1) there's minimal dubbing of the Lord's voice by someone else(see 'Out Of Reach' or 'Submerged' for some examples of how not to dub someone's voice)and #2) Seagal rocks a totally sweet brown pleather coat for about half the film.
With the film's excessive use of stock footage from other direct-to-DVD films, overly obvious use of a stunt double for Seagal(even in situations where no stunts are involved), horrible editing, and a completely nonsensical and confusing plot 'Today You Die' is easily Seagal's laziest film to date.
I'd tell you to save your time and skip it, but every other Seagal fan out there like me will go buy 'Today You Die' and watch it anyway. So if you must watch it, there are only three amusing things to look for: Seagal's sweet pleather jacket, the Lord talking Jive to his new black buddy, and Seagal swinging on a chandolier. Hilarious.
I love the Lord and would give him my first born, but why does he torture me with filth like this so often?
Seagal's 22nd feature stars him as a virtuous thief who steals from rich criminals to give to the poor. At the urging of his pseudo-psychic girlfriend (Mari Morrow, Nikita Blues), he tries to go clean and seeks employ from a shady fellow (Kevin Tighe, What's Eating Gilbert Grape), but is double-crossed when the job is revealed as a heist. In prison, he buddies up with inmate Ice Kool (Anthony "Treach" Criss, Love and a Bullet), breaks out, and pursues his double-crossing employer.
As bad as Steven Seagal's DTV outings have been, "Today You Die" is a surprisingly decent bit of action that, at times, reminded me of the 90s action flicks of yesterday. Of course, there is no way to turn back the hands of time and yes, Seagal still looks heavy, there is some dubbing of his voice, and the extended storyline - with its useless ghost-story tangents and plot holes - are silly enough to kill off a few brain cells. But while "Today" doesn't match Urban Justice for style, it's better than the likes of The Foreigner or Attack Force by leaps and bounds for choosing to focus on fun rather than pretending to be intelligent. The best example of this is probably the car chase near the beginning of the film: though it steals footage from Top of the World, it's fast-paced, exciting, well-shot, and has a few one-liners thrown in for good measure to make for one of the best adrenaline scenes Seagal had been involved in for a while. In addition, the handful of fights and shootouts are satisfactory as well. Seagal's randori near the beginning of the movie and the gang confrontation close to the end are particularly worth watching.
The supporting cast also works well. The aforementioned performers elevate the fil, with Treach being my personal favorite of the rappers-turned-costars Seagal has had. Sarah Buxton (Devil's Highway) and Nick Mancuso (returning from both Under Siege movies) also do well as respective good/bad cops. The script they act out, however, is in trouble. The messiness of some of the subplots has real potential to drag the movie down for intolerant fans, and few examples better showcase the convoluted writing process of Seagal's DTV pictures as the inclusion of this movie's magic concept that has absolutely no relevance to the story and goes absolutely nowhere.
Nevertheless, if you're willing to take the overall decency of this picture with a grain of salt, it can be an interesting addition to your Seagal library. Fans thirsty enough for something halfway serviceable from the man's DTV career should find "Today You Die" a passably enjoyable bit of fluff.
The main armored car chase scene is lifted directly from another film made 10 years ago and also the open scenes of The Order with Van Damme is used as the opening scenes in this. I also think though I might be wrong but all the aerial shots of the prison and the prison structure itself looked the same as those used in the Wesley Snipes movie Undisputed.
Seagals body double is ever present as usual, Seagals line delivery at times is terrible, yet another muddled and confusing plot and character relevance to the story, Seagal love scene!, fake back drop special effects and bad acting from allot of the supporting cast members are all here present and correct as has become the norm with Seagal movies of late.
However it's not all bad, this is a big step up from Submerged, there is no voice dubbing, there are flashes of the old Seagal when he sticks to the script and does his own fight scenes which the two while he is in prison appear to be all Seagal and he is looking in better shape than his last few outings. For me, it was worth the rental as it's not all bad but it did feel very flat and uninteresting while watching it.
In Seagal's post Exit Wounds DTV years, for me Belly Of The Beast is the mark to aim for and the only one up to and including this one to be recommended. Today You Die is worth a rental to keep up with Seagal's output but only worth adding to your collection for the die hard Seagal fan.