Ironic: About twelve minutes into the film, Steven Seagal asks one of the film's villains "Do I look sleepy?" Not a minute later, his girlfriend asks him "Why are you whispering?"
Feel free to chuckle.
Seagal's 22nd action feature stars him as a virtuous thief who steals from rich criminals to give to the poor. Upon the urging of his pseudo-psychic girlfriend (Mari Morrow, Nikita Blues), he tries to go clean and takes a truck-driving job from a shady fellow (Kevin Tighe, What's Eating Gilbert Grape) but is double-crossed when it turns out that the job is a heist. Sent to prison, he quickly buddies up with inmate Ice Kool (Anthony "Treach" Criss, Love and a Bullet), breaks out, and pursues his turncoat-of-a-boss amidst a scene of police corruption.
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 fun-yet-brainless '80s-'90s action flicks of yesterday. Of course, there is no way to turn back the hands of time and yes, Seagal still looks overweight, there is some dubbing of his voice, and the extended storyline - with its truly useless ghost-story tangents and plotholes - 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 Foreigneror Attack Forceby 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 it one of the best classical adrenaline scenes Seagal had been involved in for a while. In addition, the handful of fight scenes and shootouts are satisfactory as well. Seagal vs. bodyguards near the beginning of the movie and the gang confrontation close to the end are particularly attention-worthy.
The supporting cast also works well: the aforementioned names are alert and add to the plot, 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. Again, the messiness of some of the subplots have real potential to drag the movie down for untolerant fans: few examples better showcase the convoluted writing process of Seagal's DTV pictures as the inclusion of this movie's spiritual/magic concept that has absolutely no relevance to the story and goes absolutely nowhere...but if you're willing to take the overall decency of this picture with a grain of salt, it can be an interesting addition rather than a maddening distraction. Fans thirsty enough for something halfway serviceable from the man's DTV career should find "Today You Die" a passably enjoyable bit of violent fluff.