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Attrition - reviews

lee nicholson

Well-Known Member
#22
ATTRITION (2018)

Sorry to be a party-pooper guys, but (on the whole) I wasn't too impressed with 'Attrition' :(

Sure, it's (largely) free of the 'filler' that infested his 2003-07 output, and (more importantly) it's heart *was* in the right place.....But the overall result was a rather disjointed affair, that couldn't quite make it's mind up on what it wanted to be (i.e, a 'traditional' Martial-Arts movie or a 'Tooling-Up-Mercenary' shoot-em-up?)

I was hoping for a ('Beat' Takeshi) 'ZAITOCHI' vibe to proceedings....but was met with a sub-par INTO THE SUN knock-off (but nowhere near as good)

To be fair, it works better in the opening 30 minutes, due to a more 'languid' pace (which came across as genuine thoughtful character-building and atmosphere, as opposed to mere filler) But as more and more plot contrivences piled up, the movie lost it's initial character, and started to resemble a 'greatest hits' package from his other movies. The earnest beginning (that hinted at a complete change of pace for Seagal) soon gave way to him being sat round a table (briefing his team) and talking about 'Intel' (etc) like we've seen him do so many times. Not just the pace, but also Seagal's character suffer from a complete about face (which pretty much killed it for me)

Seagal starts off as some 'Special Op' leader, who becomes disillusioned with humanity and retreats to Thailand (to practice herbology, acupuncture and medicine amongst the locals) At this point (despite the modern-day setting) the location itself lent great character to the movie (giving it the look and feel of a latter-day Shaw Brothers flick) Seagal (trying to ape Donnie Yen's IP MAN) plays it fairly humble (and kept his dialogue likewise) But around the midway mark it unfolded into a 'Seagal-Leads-His-Team-Into-Battle' movie (that's been the mainstay of most of his previous output for the last decade or more) and it's here the movie flounders into regular, generic DTV fodder (not helped by shoddy CGI blood that seemed tacked-on as an after-thought, to push for an R-Rating)

And the team that Seagal assembles are no sooner introduced (with nary a line of dialogue between them) before they're immediately thrust into battle (so characterisation, takes a backseat) Any sense of tradition and spirituality are thrown out of the window as soon as Seagal's character suggests that a female member of his team should (quote) "Dress Sexy" (in order to infiltrate the bad-guys club......which is also frequented with several topless dancers) As pleasant on the eye as these ladies are....it did tarnish the movie somewhat. All of a sudden, the lush Thai landscapes (and the villagers) give way to the same old strip-club scenario (that we've seen countless times....predominantly in Seagal's other movies)

The fights (whilst brief) are not so much better....but at very least 'different'....so I applaud Seagal for mixing it up a little and giving us a bit more variation. The doubles are there (should you wish to spot them) but they don't intrude or detract from the scenes themselves. I don't think there's any Aikido moves at all in this movie. Seagal seems to be going full-on Wing Chun with the fights (in an attempt to somewhat emulate Donnie Yen at times) He doesn't embarrass Yen (or himself) but (and I hate saying this) the movie needed a few more more fight scenes in my opinion (and longer ones at that) But as they stand, Seagal still acquits himself well for a guy in his mid-sixties (the sparing with the butterfly on his sleeve, was probably my favourite of his 'scenes')

Before it seems like I'm just outright ragging on the movie....Let me explain, that I think my sense of overall disappointment stems from the overkill of waiting well over a year to actually see this movie. The various trailers, photo-shoots, hype around 'Attrition' has painted a mental picture of a more traditional martial arts movie (that only halfway fullfilled such promise) The first trailer for Attrition is pretty much the movie in a (2 minute) nutshell (i.e: the plot, it's sequencing and all the 'good-stuff' are present and correct in the trailer) the other 85 minutes (whilst not exactly 'filler') don't really enhance the movie as a whole (and like I said earlier, I actually prefered the slow, languid opening) Unfortunately, Seagal seems to be hung up on recycling his 'Haunted-Mercenary-Looking-For-Absolution' character (that we've seen in his last 5-6 movies) and despite 'Attrition's' exotic setting, there's little much to differentiate between them (despite Seagal or 365Flix claims stating otherwise?)

The one sequence I was genuinelly impressed with, concerned the main bad-guy's penchant for mincing his enemies into little glass containers. And this one artistic flurry was presented to the audience in reverse (starting off with the jar, then the meat, then body parts reversing out of a mincer......ouch!......and so on and so on....culminating/beginning in his capture) It was an innovative touch and the movie (IMO) should have taken more chances like this (and perhaps played with the actual time-frame more) but alas, it did not (but a great scene nontheless)

The less said about the blues song performed over the end titles, the better. Which neatly brings me back to Takeshi's 'ZAITOCHI' (2004) which (for all it's ropey CGI blood) knew how to present a song and dance finale (unlike Attrition's....which felt out-of-place and tacked on) :(

Whilst It'll no doubt improve on repeated viewings (as do most Seagal movies that I'm not initially impressed by) I'm not entirely convinced by the claim that it's Seagal's best movie in 20 years (personally, I preffered both CONTRACT TO KILL and especially CODE OF HONOUR as more recent examples, plus a handful of others, over this movie)
 
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#23
ATTRITION (2018)

Sorry to be a party-pooper guys, but (on the whole) I wasn't too impressed with 'Attrition' :(

Sure, it's (largely) free of the 'filler' that infested his 2003-07 output, and (more importantly) it's heart *was* in the right place.....But the overall result was a rather disjointed affair, that couldn't quite make it's mind up on what it wanted to be (i.e, a 'traditional' Martial-Arts movie or a 'Tooling-Up-Mercenary' shoot-em-up?)

I was hoping for a ('Beat' Takeshi) 'ZAITOCHI' vibe to proceedings....but was met with a sub-par INTO THE SUN knock-off (but nowhere near as good)

To be fair, it works better in the opening 30 minutes, due to a more 'languid' pace (which came across as genuine thoughtful character-building and atmosphere, as opposed to mere filler) But as more and more plot contrivences piled up, the movie lost it's initial character, and started to resemble a 'greatest hits' package from his other movies. The earnest beginning (that hinted at a complete change of pace for Seagal) soon gave way to him being sat round a table (briefing his team) and talking about 'Intel' (etc) like we've seen him do so many times. Not just the pace, but also Seagal's character suffer from a complete about face (which pretty much killed it for me)

Seagal starts off as some 'Special Op' leader, who becomes disillusioned with humanity and retreats to Thailand (to practice herbology, acupuncture and medicine amongst the locals) At this point (despite the modern-day setting) the location itself lent great character to the movie (giving it the look and feel of a latter-day Shaw Brothers flick) Seagal (trying to ape Donnie Yen's IP MAN) plays it fairly humble (and kept his dialogue likewise) But around the midway mark it unfolded into a 'Seagal-Leads-His-Team-Into-Battle' movie (that's been the mainstay of most of his previous output for the last decade or more) and it's here the movie flounders into regular, generic DTV fodder (not helped by shoddy CGI blood that seemed tacked-on as an after-thought, to push for an R-Rating)

And the team that Seagal assembles are no sooner introduced (with nary a line of dialogue between them) before they're immediately thrust into battle (so characterisation, takes a backseat) Any sense of tradition and spirituality are thrown out of the window as soon as Seagal's character suggests that a female member of his team should (quote) "Dress Sexy" (in order to infiltrate the bad-guys club......which is also frequented with several topless dancers) As pleasant on the eye as these ladies are....it did tarnish the movie somewhat. All of a sudden, the lush Thai landscapes (and the villagers) give way to the same old strip-club scenario (that we've seen countless times....predominantly in Seagal's other movies)

The fights (whilst brief) are not so much better....but at very least 'different'....so I applaud Seagal for mixing it up a little and giving us a bit more variation. The doubles are there (should you wish to spot them) but they don't intrude or detract from the scenes themselves. I don't think there's any Aikido moves at all in this movie. Seagal seems to be going full-on Wing Chun with the fights (in an attempt to somewhat emulate Donnie Yen at times) He doesn't embarrass Yen (or himself) but (and I hate saying this) the movie needed a few more more fight scenes in my opinion (and longer ones at that) But as they stand, Seagal still acquits himself well for a guy in his mid-sixties (the sparing with the butterfly on his sleeve, was probably my favourite of his 'scenes')

Before it seems like I'm just outright ragging on the movie....Let me explain, that I think my sense of overall disappointment stems from the overkill of waiting well over a year to actually see this movie. The various trailers, photo-shoots, hype around 'Attrition' has painted a mental picture of a more traditional martial arts movie (that only halfway fullfilled such promise) The first trailer for Attrition is pretty much the movie in a (2 minute) nutshell (i.e: the plot, it's sequencing and all the 'good-stuff' are present and correct in the trailer) the other 85 minutes (whilst not exactly 'filler') don't really enhance the movie as a whole (and like I said earlier, I actually prefered the slow, languid opening) Unfortunately, Seagal seems to be hung up on recycling his 'Haunted-Mercenary-Looking-For-Absolution' character (that we've seen in his last 5-6 movies) and despite 'Attrition's' exotic setting, there's little much to differentiate between them (despite Seagal or 365Flix claims stating otherwise?)

The one sequence I was genuinelly impressed with, concerned the main bad-guy's penchant for mincing his enemies into little glass containers. And this one artistic flurry was presented to the audience in reverse (starting off with the jar, then the meat, then body parts reversing out of a mincer......ouch!......and so on and so on....culminating/beginning in his capture) It was an innovative touch and the movie (IMO) should have taken more chances like this (and perhaps played with the actual time-frame more) but alas, it did not (but a great scene nontheless)

The less said about the blues song performed over the end titles, the better. Which neatly brings me back to Takeshi's 'ZAITOCHI' (2004) which (for all it's ropey CGI blood) knew how to present a song and dance finale (unlike Attrition's....which felt out-of-place and tacked on) :(

Whilst It'll no doubt improve on repeated viewings (as do most Seagal movies that I'm not initially impressed by) I'm not entirely convinced by the claim that it's Seagal's best movie in 20 years (personally, I preffered both CONTRACT TO KILL and especially CODE OF HONOUR as more recent examples, plus a handful of others, over this movie)
Great and varied review Lee. You raise some interesting points there. Some of which I agree with while some others I don't.
 
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Administrator

Administrator
Staff member
#25
ATTRITION (2018)

Sorry to be a party-pooper guys, but (on the whole) I wasn't too impressed with 'Attrition' :(

Sure, it's (largely) free of the 'filler' that infested his 2003-07 output, and (more importantly) it's heart *was* in the right place.....But the overall result was a rather disjointed affair, that couldn't quite make it's mind up on what it wanted to be (i.e, a 'traditional' Martial-Arts movie or a 'Tooling-Up-Mercenary' shoot-em-up?)

I was hoping for a ('Beat' Takeshi) 'ZAITOCHI' vibe to proceedings....but was met with a sub-par INTO THE SUN knock-off (but nowhere near as good)

To be fair, it works better in the opening 30 minutes, due to a more 'languid' pace (which came across as genuine thoughtful character-building and atmosphere, as opposed to mere filler) But as more and more plot contrivences piled up, the movie lost it's initial character, and started to resemble a 'greatest hits' package from his other movies. The earnest beginning (that hinted at a complete change of pace for Seagal) soon gave way to him being sat round a table (briefing his team) and talking about 'Intel' (etc) like we've seen him do so many times. Not just the pace, but also Seagal's character suffer from a complete about face (which pretty much killed it for me)

Seagal starts off as some 'Special Op' leader, who becomes disillusioned with humanity and retreats to Thailand (to practice herbology, acupuncture and medicine amongst the locals) At this point (despite the modern-day setting) the location itself lent great character to the movie (giving it the look and feel of a latter-day Shaw Brothers flick) Seagal (trying to ape Donnie Yen's IP MAN) plays it fairly humble (and kept his dialogue likewise) But around the midway mark it unfolded into a 'Seagal-Leads-His-Team-Into-Battle' movie (that's been the mainstay of most of his previous output for the last decade or more) and it's here the movie flounders into regular, generic DTV fodder (not helped by shoddy CGI blood that seemed tacked-on as an after-thought, to push for an R-Rating)

And the team that Seagal assembles are no sooner introduced (with nary a line of dialogue between them) before they're immediately thrust into battle (so characterisation, takes a backseat) Any sense of tradition and spirituality are thrown out of the window as soon as Seagal's character suggests that a female member of his team should (quote) "Dress Sexy" (in order to infiltrate the bad-guys club......which is also frequented with several topless dancers) As pleasant on the eye as these ladies are....it did tarnish the movie somewhat. All of a sudden, the lush Thai landscapes (and the villagers) give way to the same old strip-club scenario (that we've seen countless times....predominantly in Seagal's other movies)

The fights (whilst brief) are not so much better....but at very least 'different'....so I applaud Seagal for mixing it up a little and giving us a bit more variation. The doubles are there (should you wish to spot them) but they don't intrude or detract from the scenes themselves. I don't think there's any Aikido moves at all in this movie. Seagal seems to be going full-on Wing Chun with the fights (in an attempt to somewhat emulate Donnie Yen at times) He doesn't embarrass Yen (or himself) but (and I hate saying this) the movie needed a few more more fight scenes in my opinion (and longer ones at that) But as they stand, Seagal still acquits himself well for a guy in his mid-sixties (the sparing with the butterfly on his sleeve, was probably my favourite of his 'scenes')

Before it seems like I'm just outright ragging on the movie....Let me explain, that I think my sense of overall disappointment stems from the overkill of waiting well over a year to actually see this movie. The various trailers, photo-shoots, hype around 'Attrition' has painted a mental picture of a more traditional martial arts movie (that only halfway fullfilled such promise) The first trailer for Attrition is pretty much the movie in a (2 minute) nutshell (i.e: the plot, it's sequencing and all the 'good-stuff' are present and correct in the trailer) the other 85 minutes (whilst not exactly 'filler') don't really enhance the movie as a whole (and like I said earlier, I actually prefered the slow, languid opening) Unfortunately, Seagal seems to be hung up on recycling his 'Haunted-Mercenary-Looking-For-Absolution' character (that we've seen in his last 5-6 movies) and despite 'Attrition's' exotic setting, there's little much to differentiate between them (despite Seagal or 365Flix claims stating otherwise?)

The one sequence I was genuinelly impressed with, concerned the main bad-guy's penchant for mincing his enemies into little glass containers. And this one artistic flurry was presented to the audience in reverse (starting off with the jar, then the meat, then body parts reversing out of a mincer......ouch!......and so on and so on....culminating/beginning in his capture) It was an innovative touch and the movie (IMO) should have taken more chances like this (and perhaps played with the actual time-frame more) but alas, it did not (but a great scene nontheless)

The less said about the blues song performed over the end titles, the better. Which neatly brings me back to Takeshi's 'ZAITOCHI' (2004) which (for all it's ropey CGI blood) knew how to present a song and dance finale (unlike Attrition's....which felt out-of-place and tacked on) :(

Whilst It'll no doubt improve on repeated viewings (as do most Seagal movies that I'm not initially impressed by) I'm not entirely convinced by the claim that it's Seagal's best movie in 20 years (personally, I preffered both CONTRACT TO KILL and especially CODE OF HONOUR as more recent examples, plus a handful of others, over this movie)
Thanks Lee, thought the weakest part of the movie too was when he got the team back together again. I too wasn't impressed with the blood addons when a few people were punched as it just didn't look right.

Could you post your review to this section too if possible : http://www.steven-seagal.net/xen/index.php?resources/attrition-aka-final-mission.67/
 

DiDa

Super Moderator
Staff member
#27
@lee nicholson. Thanks for your review! I haven't seen Attrition yet, but do you seriously like Code Of Honor more then Attriton!? Code Of Honor was one of the movies Seagal showed zero interest on screen. Also no fightscenes (well a short one at the end).
It's your opinion, but I am a little bit shocked :)
 

lee nicholson

Well-Known Member
#29
@lee nicholson. Thanks for your review! I haven't seen Attrition yet, but do you seriously like Code Of Honor more then Attriton!? Code Of Honor was one of the movies Seagal showed zero interest on screen. Also no fightscenes (well a short one at the end).
It's your opinion, but I am a little bit shocked :)
I prefer CODE OF HONOUR, because (for all it's faults) it plays up to Seagal's inactivity and does so with a little flair (and Seagal seems to be acting his age) and to compensate for the lack of star, it attempts to add a bit of mystery into proceedings (which isn't just meaningless mumbo-jumbo) I liken COH to (bizarrely enough) JAWS (in that, the cast and crew made the best of what they had in Seagal....i.e. a 'Malfunctioning Shark' and worked around such) I still enjoyed COH despite it not having any fights...which is (to me, at least) the sign of a good movie.

ATTRITION has a lot more fights....and yet still lacked something?

On paper, ATTRITION should have stood head and shoulders above his recent movies. But despite Seagal back at the typewriter, the beautiful locations and an interesting initial premise....all it's resources were squandered, in favour of becoming another 'Seagal shoots up a bunch of bad guys' flick :(

For all the talk by Seagal (at both the beginning and end of the movie) about the "true meaning of martial arts being tarnished"....it didn't stop him entering the bad-guys titty bar, and blowing unconvincing chunks of CGI body parts open (which certainly lacks the 'zen' or 'spirituality' that the movie talks up?)

ATTRITION isn't much different in scope to CONTRACT TO KILL, truth be told. But at very least CTK didn't have any pretensions to anything other than a higher-end DTV biff-em-up. ATTRITION is probably the most that Seagal has been involved in a movie since ON DEADLY GROUND (so unlike Seagals recent efforts, that you may have disliked....you could blame other factors) but given the hype and attention given to this movie, I found it to be mediocre (and that breaks my heart)
I suppose (as I've said many times before) sometimes I need to remember that I'm not watching a young Al Pacino in ATTRITION, and accept the limitations of the actor that I *am* watching. Perhaps Seagal should too, and end his career on a bunch of well made urban thrillers (which is what he made his name in the first place) because ATTRITION promises lots (but delivered little IMO)
Or perhaps Seagal should have a stab (pun intended) on a period piece (with no reliance on guns) which could showcase 100% martial arts (and zero blues music outro's) This could (and should) be the Donnie Yen team-up that he craves?
 
#30
@lee nicholson. Thanks for your review! I haven't seen Attrition yet, but do you seriously like Code Of Honor more then Attriton!? Code Of Honor was one of the movies Seagal showed zero interest on screen. Also no fightscenes (well a short one at the end).
It's your opinion, but I am a little bit shocked :)
I definitely agree about Code Of Honor and the lack of commitment, interest and lack of fight scenes. I was certainly left disappointed.
 
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DiDa

Super Moderator
Staff member
#31
For all the talk by Seagal (at both the beginning and end of the movie) about the "true meaning of martial arts being tarnished"....it didn't stop him entering the bad-guys titty bar, and blowing unconvincing chunks of CGI body parts open (which certainly lacks the 'zen' or 'spirituality' that the movie talks up?)
That's really Seagal style! :) Remember On Deadly Ground. He gives a speech about the environment, just after blowing up a oil rig.
But I think you shouldn't look into it that much. For me it's just about the entertainment.
But thanks for shining a light on it. Cool!
 

DiDa

Super Moderator
Staff member
#32
I definitely agree about Code Of Honor and the lack of commitment, interest and lack of fight scenes. I was certainly left disappointed.
I agree. Code of Honor wasn't boring, but it lacked a passionate Seagal. And speaking of Contract To Kill. I really almost couldn't get throught it. That movie was very boring to me. The action was fine, but the script was stupid (remember the drone?).
 

Martin01

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#35
Well, based on the reviews it looks like I will like the movie, especially because I hoped there will be more Seagal movies based in Asia. But there is one thing that concerns me: The CGI blood. Is it really that bad?
It's sad, because the movie seems to have a great look and cinematography. So why add bad and unecessary special effects to the movie in Post-Production? As far as I remember, the latest movie of Mathieu Weschler didn't have such problems. So what happened here?
"Code of Honor" had terrible CGI blood effects too. The movie had some potential, but the CGI effects makes it unwatchable, unfortunately.
 

Administrator

Administrator
Staff member
#36
Well, based on the reviews it looks like I will like the movie, especially because I hoped there will be more Seagal movies based in Asia. But there is one thing that concerns me: The CGI blood. Is it really that bad?
It's sad, because the movie seems to have a great look and cinematography. So why add bad and unecessary special effects to the movie in Post-Production? As far as I remember, the latest movie of Mathieu Weschler didn't have such problems. So what happened here?
"Code of Honor" had terrible CGI blood effects too. The movie had some potential, but the CGI effects makes it unwatchable, unfortunately.
The CGI blood doesn't appear too often thankfully.
 

DiDa

Super Moderator
Staff member
#37
Well, based on the reviews it looks like I will like the movie, especially because I hoped there will be more Seagal movies based in Asia. But there is one thing that concerns me: The CGI blood. Is it really that bad?
It's sad, because the movie seems to have a great look and cinematography. So why add bad and unecessary special effects to the movie in Post-Production? As far as I remember, the latest movie of Mathieu Weschler didn't have such problems. So what happened here?
"Code of Honor" had terrible CGI blood effects too. The movie had some potential, but the CGI effects makes it unwatchable, unfortunately.
That's not Mathieu Weschler "fault". After filming the producers decided to add that in post-production. That's how it works.
 
#38
Re:Lee's review; I definitely agree with you about "getting the old team back together", we've just seen this done too many times with recent films and it's starting to get boring and predictable. The other thing I would have to agree on is the 'tacked' on Seagal blues song at the end. I know Seagal loves the blues (hey, who doesn't?), but it's just so out of place here. Sometimes you have to know when not to do or include something (passion project or not) and this time it completely backfires. Tbh, I thought the same about the constant blues songs running through Into The Sun.

Any other things? Well...a few more Seagal fight scenes would've been very welcome! But on the whole I found the film pretty decent.
 
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DiDa

Super Moderator
Staff member
#39
Re:Lee's review; I definitely agree with you about "getting the old team back together", we've just seen this done too many times with recent films and it's starting to get boring and predictable. The other thing I would have to agree on is the 'tacked' on Seagal blues song at the end. I know Seagal loves the blues (hey, who doesn't?), but it's just so out of place here. Sometimes you have to know when not to do or include something (passion project or not) and this time it completely backfires. Tbh, I thought the same about the constant blues songs running through Into The Sun.

Any other things? Well...a few more Seagal fight scenes would've been very welcome! But on the whole I found the film pretty decent.
Remember......this "team thing" will also be back in General Commander! Steven has a lot of control over his movies. He wants to put in all the things that he likes (blues, martial arts, honor), also when director and producers say he shouldn't. Sometimes Steven is his own enemy. He should listen more to the people who have the experience and talent to make a movie.