Review : Shadow Man

Martin88

New Member
Thx @Kotegashi

Another question: Is Seagal a little bit slimmer / more thinly in this film or is he fat as always there?
 

Kcs

Member
Kotegashi said:
Please don't discuss illegal downloading on this site. This could get this site in trouble and we don't want that now, do we?

Peace

What a joke! Wasn't it you, who edited out parts of an illegal copy, and uploaded it on this site?
 

Kotegashi

Master Of Disaster
Staff member
Kcs said:
What a joke! Wasn't it you, who edited out parts of an illegal copy, and uploaded it on this site?

Dear Kcs,

Why is it a joke?

How or where I obtained the footage I never mentioned. I also never have or will discuss on this site how and where I obtain my copies from.

Furthermore I don't discuss, encourage or promote illegal downloading on this site. The only thing I do with the material I've received is to give all us fans a glimps of what's to come in this movie. I and I think everyone else wants Seagal to keep making movies (although they need to become better) and the only way this will happen is if we fans buy legal copies of his movies.

Although I have had review copies of some of his movies I will always buy a legal copy and then destroy my review version.

So it's absolutely no joke. Don't discuss illegal activities on this forum! Buy legal copies!


Peace
 

Kotegashi

Master Of Disaster
Staff member
Martin88 said:
Thx @Kotegashi

Another question: Is Seagal a little bit slimmer / more thinly in this film or is he fat as always there?

He's like the goodyear blimp. Huge and fat unfortunately.

Although it doesn't seem to effect his fighting, he's fast and furious. And for some strange reason his physique seems to be just right for him.

I don't think he would have the same charisma if he was still as thin as in Marked for Death. I mean, he looks natural on screen although he is a bit overweight.

Peace
 

msmith

Member
I've just had a glimpse at a preview copy of Shadow Man and i can say it's a step forward for Seagal.

I'll be watching it fully in the next couple of days but the good news is that their is minimal voice dubbin, you can tell at the start but i couldn't find any throughout the rest of the film.

The action i personally believe was good and it was nice to see Seagal doin a few kicks and what i could tell was that the body double for the most part wasn't used and it was all Seagal.

His weight i feel could be a little lighter but as noted in earlier posts it doesn't seem to effect his movement such as the kicking and the hand to hand and in a strange way he look good but i'd like to see him lose a stone or two (but that's just me).

I'll post a more extensive review once i've watched the film from start to finish but on what i've seen it looks good .. better than the Foreigner, Black Dawn, Today You Die and even Belly of The Beast. I liked Into the Sun and Mercenary and i feel this is on a par with these two. Fingers crossed now his next films will be even better and i've got alot of hope for POP!

Peace
 

DiDa

Super Moderator
Staff member
Thank you for your review. It gives me a good feeling.

By the way, Little Dragon, have you already seen the movie. I want to read your review!:)
 

Le-Martin

New Member
Here’s my review of Shadow Man, latest release from Steven Seagal.

The first twenty to thirty minutes of this movie are better than anything Seagal has made since Exit Wounds. Really good stuff that with a little bit more polishing could have been just as good as anything in all of his pre-DTV days. The most annoying thing in these 20-30 minutes is the voice dubbing. This time, I can say, hand-on-heart that it most definitely is NOT Steven’s fault, it just seems that getting a Seagal impersonator to “sound” like Seagal (at least to try to) is cheaper than getting Seagal himself to do ADR work in the sound studio. Other minor issues in this first part of the movie are all down to the director’s ability to…direct. Everything on-screen oozes presence, fun and involvement. Seagal seems happy to be in this movie and actually looks like he cares about the movie, the music is not that bad, the acting overall is ok, the plot seems to start going in an interesting direction, etc. This is a huge step forward when compared to recent Seagal movies like Mercenary for Justice or Black Dawn in which we got a sleepwalking Seagal, bad acting, cheesy overcomplicated unintelligible plots, bad music and crappy editing.

See, 90% of these DTV action movies are bound to have nothing new or interesting in them, they are mostly 90 minute-long commercials for the movie portfolio of the starring past-his-prime-and-glory-days action star. BUT, if the action star, director and crew seem to have fun while making the movie and put just a small amount of thought and soul into their work, then we might just get an above average simple and entertaining action movie.

Recent examples of this better-than-it-should-be type of moviemaking are most of Van Damme’s movies, especially Wake of Death and the two latest movies from Dolph Lundgren, The Defender and The Mechanik (aka The Russian Specialist). Wake of Death is the DTV cheap version of Tony Scott’s Man on Fire, BUT it had a couple of things to make it above average: proper acting from Van Damme, a storyline that made sense and was engaging (as action movies go), a good directorial effort from Philippe Martinez and a nice soundtrack, plus a cast of characters and actors that were miles away from the usual cardboard cutouts. Several small details here and there added up to give us a quality action movie that had proper acting, directing, music and a nice story with some interesting action, not an award winner, but most definitely much better than the recent cow excrements Hollywood calls action movies.

Dolph Lundgren’s The Defender was a take on an Assault on Precinct 13 type of story. So, nothing new, but with a surprising turn in front AND behind the camera from Dolph (he directed the movie), some nice acting from Jerry Springer as the president of USA and a storyline that made sense and had a few interesting things to point out about the current state of the war on terrorism, the movie rose up from the mud it had been intended to sink in and shone.

Dolph’s other directorial effort, The Mechanik was even better as Dolph had more time to prepare the movie (pre-production) and has what I found to be the most impressive acting in any DTV movie from Ben Cross. Dolph has some nice moves behind the camera and he also has the intelligence to keep everything as down to Earth as possible. Almost all DTV action movies have really small budgets, but they always try to look and feel like they are huge-budget Hollywood type fancy-flashy action movies in the hope that they will fool the audience into buying the movie and all other DTVs from the same company. The never manage to do that, they just end up looking like distant retard cousins of the bigger action movies of the past, cousins that you have pity for, but who you don’t really want to be around for long.

With The Mechanik, Dolph had a small budget and the best thing: it shows up on screen. Some might say that that is not a good thing is, but in this case, it is because Dolph makes the movie look like it is gritty and SFX-less because it wants to be so, not because it has to be so. Every cent, dollar and euro was spent well on The Mechanik and in the right places. While most movies try to pretend that locations in Bulgaria and Romania are actually streets of L.A., New York, etc, The Mechanik actually has a story that is supposed to take place in an Eastern European location that is supposed to look crappy, old and dirty. It’s almost like some of the westerns of days gone by in the sense that it has that same gritty, dusty, dirty feel to it that lets you know that the characters are in a bad, sin-filled location and that bad things are bound to happen. Another example of this is Eli Roth’s Hostel, in terms of location and cinematography and the Van Damme man-in-prison movie, In Hell (aka The Savage).

The point that I was trying to make so far is that Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren seem to have found a niche, a place for themselves in the movie market. Instead of trying to make cheap AND bad action movies that try to fool the audience into thinking they are more than they seem to be, they have turned the situation around and have started to make simple and engaging action movies that cater to that side of the audience that wants to see such a clear cut type of action movie. And they added the right amounts of quality into the mix to turn out what I believe are some of the best action movies of the past decade. I would have honestly liked to see Replicant, In Hell, Wake of Death, The Defender and The Mechanik on the big screen instead of recent crap action wannabe movies like The Punisher remake, Elektra, Cradle 2 The Grave, Doom, etc.

Coming back to Steven Seagal, well his movies have not made the same step towards quality like the ones from Van Damme and Lundgren have. Since Half Past Dead his movies have been un-engaging, poorly directed, badly edited and badly acted. The action side of all of his DTV movies has been a HUGE letdown and disappointment. It’s sad to see fans wondering if his voice will be dubbed by some Seagal-wannabe or whether his body double will be in more of the movie than Seagal himself. He has been using body doubles even in scenes in which his character is supposed to just cross the street. I know that this is most likely the producers’ fault. Probably they sign a contract with Seagal for a number of days in which he is supposed to work for the movie. Let’s say that Seagal is supposed to actually shoot scenes for the film only during 2 weeks out the entire 5-7 weeks it takes to complete a DTV action movie. If extra Seagal scenes are needed beyond the 2 week frame of time, it sure is cheaper to get an obvious body double instead of getting the man himself. I think this is the sole reason why Seagal keeps making so many movies per year, with only 2 weeks per movie; he can actually make 10 movies per year. Add to that a paycheck that could range from 1 to 5 million US $ per movie and it sure is a lucrative and prosperous deal.

I’m not foolish, everybody is making movies for the money and while I’m certain that Van Damme and Lundgren get paid well, they also take their time to AT LEAST TRY to make good movies. Seagal seems to just not care. He is out of shape and while that would not bother me since the martial arts that he specializes is are not about brute force, but about using the enemy’s force and weight against themselves, I am bothered by the fact the producers AND Seagal himself are trying to hide this by only filming Seagal from certain angles or in a dark room to try to hide the extra weight. That means that Seagal ends up looking ridiculous and is almost unseen in his movies. He also looks sweaty and dirty even if he is just having a conversation in the movie. The overweight factor is incompatible with the mean, bad tough guy persona Seagal has had in all of his movies. Sure, it worked in his pre-Half Past Dead part of the career, cause he was tall, slim and fast. NOW, he looks fat, dirty and lazy. He sleepwalks through most of his DTV outings as if he is not there to stop the bad guys, just looking for the paycheck.

Some unintentional humor has come as a result of this. His first DTV movie was called Belly of The Beast and Seagal sure had a beast of a belly in that movie. Also, his most recent movie (the one I will eventually write about in this paper) is called Shadow Man and he sure keeps to the shadows in all of his DTV movies.

Also, he has been wearing the same ugly long leather coat in 90% of his DTV movies starting with The Foreigner. It looks bad on him and only serves the purpose of hiding his extra weight. Also, it looks silly when Seagal wears that type of coat during summer, winter, autumn, underwater, on a plane, during a fight, during a shootout, all that remains is to see him wearing that coat during a sex scene.

That same coat makes a comeback in the second half of Shadow Man. Boy, does it look bad.

Remember that I said that the first 20 to 30 minutes of Shadow Man are quite good? Well, that is the worst thing about this movie to be honest. See, because the movie starts out so well, you get high hopes about the rest of the movie, and the rest is normal below average stuff same as we have been getting from Seagal in his DTV days. The plot gets lost along the way in what seems to be an interminable cast of characters that the director and the movies itself have no idea what to do with. So many people are looking for the so-called THE ITEM that you get lost in who works for whom, who is double crossing whom, who is good, who is bad, why the characters are doing this or that… To solve this, they just have Seagal kill almost every bad guy in the movie in under 10 minutes that come at the end and which are a relief because with only 3-4 characters left, yow know the movie will make sense, too bad it’s over. See, the plot is simple and not hard to follow, it’s just presented in a messy, agitated and disjointed way. The movie TRIES to force you to pay attention, but it just ends up boring you and making you want to turn it off.

The good thing about this movie is that Seagal seems to want to be in this movie, seems to be having a good time, seems to be trying and I can honestly say that this time I liked the movie BECAUSE Seagal was in it NOT DESPITE that Seagal was in it. He was plenty of hand to hand fights that are almost very good, his character is the same burned-out-retired-undercover type of CIA agent he has been playing since basically Half Past Dead in all of his movies (most of them anyway), but since Seagal is having fun, it actually STARTS to work, it never does, because the script and the director never give it enough time to do so.

Michael Keusch is really awful. The only nice direction in the movie is a car explosion scene at the beginning of the movie, everything else is poorly directed and stolen from better and bigger action movies. He has no style, no eye for the action, although I admit to have seen sparks of quality here and there, just not enough to make his directorial style more than the usual gun-for-hire type of DTV efforts that plague the market.

The cast is NOT bad, not great either, but they do their job properly and don’t mess up the movie, BUT the really bad dialogue that is given to them and the messy plot makes them get lost-in-translation somehow. They are cardboard characters, slightly good ones, but just not good enough.

The SFX are sometimes really bad and sometimes good (see the car chases for the bad and the car explosion at the airport for good). The costumes are ok, the locations are ok, but sometimes they work, sometimes they do not.

See, if those first 20 to 30 minutes from the beginning of the movie had been put together just a little bit better and IF the rest of the movie had been just like that, this would have been a really good movie, but it just isn’t. The worst thing about this movie is that it HAD the potential, the ingredients are there on the screen, but they just form a pile of ingredients instead of one simple to digest yet nourishing meal. This is not tasty or good, it’s passable, AT BEST.

I won’t get into more details, let me just say that I AM a fan of Seagal. Up until and including Exit Wounds he made sold action movies that were entertaining and I really want him to get back to making such movies that is why I keep watching all of his recent movies. BECAUSE I STILL HAVE HOPE.

Into the Sun and the first 30 minutes of Shadow Man fuel that hope, but it just does not seem to grow into anything palpable. The only project that Seagal has in his future that I have hope will be a return to form is Prince of Pistols which he wants to direct himself and will be shot on location in New Orleans. See, I hope that if Dolpf Lundgren could go behind the camera twice and both times with unexpectedly good results, then maybe Steven Seagal could do the same.

Watch Shadow Man to see Seagal at his best since Into the Sun (which was his best since Exit Wounds) and for some nice hand-to-hand combat, but be warned that movie is below average and that the body double is back, only in scenes which have Seagal’s character cross the street, get into a car or running. The fights are 99% done by the man himself. Be aware that very poor voice dubbing is present, but in small amounts and that the plot is messy. Seagal has fun in the movie, the girl playing the part of his daughter is a good actress and that a familiar face from Belly of The Beast is back in a similar role, one in which he is good.

Overall, 4/10 (Wake of Death 8/10, The Defender 7/10. The Mechanik 8/10, Into the Sun 6/10). All of the four points the movie got are for Seagal, since there is nothing else worth watching this movie for).
 

hofmae

New Member
Hey Guys & Girls, i'll have it, my review will follow in about 10 hours, as always detailed and honest :)
 

latinojazz

New Member
SimonLustenberger said:
The Stunt double (DIAN HRISTOV) is the same from OUT FOR A KILL, BELLY OF THE BEAST, OUT OF REACH, INTO THE SUN, SUBMERGED, TODAY YOU DIE, MERCENARY FOR JUSTICE, HARVESTER and ENEMY OF THE UNSEEN. You can check it out on IMDB. He is alway credited as Stunt double lead.

Are there some arm-breaks in the movie kotegashi?

Thanks for the stunt name.I wanted to know who was him.

In Enemy of the Unseen (2007) (filming) is the lead stunt double

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1520855/
 

latinojazz

New Member
Le-Martin said:
Here’s my review of Shadow Man, latest release from Steven Seagal.

The first twenty to thirty minutes of this movie are better than anything Seagal has made since Exit Wounds. Really good stuff that with a little bit more polishing could have been just as good as anything in all of his pre-DTV days. The most annoying thing in these 20-30 minutes is the voice dubbing. This time, I can say, hand-on-heart that it most definitely is NOT Steven’s fault, it just seems that getting a Seagal impersonator to “sound” like Seagal (at least to try to) is cheaper than getting Seagal himself to do ADR work in the sound studio. Other minor issues in this first part of the movie are all down to the director’s ability to…direct. Everything on-screen oozes presence, fun and involvement. Seagal seems happy to be in this movie and actually looks like he cares about the movie, the music is not that bad, the acting overall is ok, the plot seems to start going in an interesting direction, etc. This is a huge step forward when compared to recent Seagal movies like Mercenary for Justice or Black Dawn in which we got a sleepwalking Seagal, bad acting, cheesy overcomplicated unintelligible plots, bad music and crappy editing.

Remember that I said that the first 20 to 30 minutes of Shadow Man are quite good? Well, that is the worst thing about this movie to be honest. See, because the movie starts out so well, you get high hopes about the rest of the movie, and the rest is normal below average stuff same as we have been getting from Seagal in his DTV days. The plot gets lost along the way in what seems to be an interminable cast of characters that the director and the movies itself have no idea what to do with. So many people are looking for the so-called THE ITEM that you get lost in who works for whom, who is double crossing whom, who is good, who is bad, why the characters are doing this or that… To solve this, they just have Seagal kill almost every bad guy in the movie in under 10 minutes that come at the end and which are a relief because with only 3-4 characters left, yow know the movie will make sense, too bad it’s over. See, the plot is simple and not hard to follow, it’s just presented in a messy, agitated and disjointed way. The movie TRIES to force you to pay attention, but it just ends up boring you and making you want to turn it off.

The good thing about this movie is that Seagal seems to want to be in this movie, seems to be having a good time, seems to be trying and I can honestly say that this time I liked the movie BECAUSE Seagal was in it NOT DESPITE that Seagal was in it. He was plenty of hand to hand fights that are almost very good, his character is the same burned-out-retired-undercover type of CIA agent he has been playing since basically Half Past Dead in all of his movies (most of them anyway), but since Seagal is having fun, it actually STARTS to work, it never does, because the script and the director never give it enough time to do so.

Michael Keusch is really awful. The only nice direction in the movie is a car explosion scene at the beginning of the movie, everything else is poorly directed and stolen from better and bigger action movies. He has no style, no eye for the action, although I admit to have seen sparks of quality here and there, just not enough to make his directorial style more than the usual gun-for-hire type of DTV efforts that plague the market.

The cast is NOT bad, not great either, but they do their job properly and don’t mess up the movie, BUT the really bad dialogue that is given to them and the messy plot makes them get lost-in-translation somehow. They are cardboard characters, slightly good ones, but just not good enough.

The SFX are sometimes really bad and sometimes good (see the car chases for the bad and the car explosion at the airport for good). The costumes are ok, the locations are ok, but sometimes they work, sometimes they do not.

Into the Sun and the first 30 minutes of Shadow Man fuel that hope, but it just does not seem to grow into anything palpable. The only project that Seagal has in his future that I have hope will be a return to form is Prince of Pistols which he wants to direct himself and will be shot on location in New Orleans. See, I hope that if Dolpf Lundgren could go behind the camera twice and both times with unexpectedly good results, then maybe Steven Seagal could do the same.

Watch Shadow Man to see Seagal at his best since Into the Sun (which was his best since Exit Wounds) and for some nice hand-to-hand combat, but be warned that movie is below average and that the body double is back, only in scenes which have Seagal’s character cross the street, get into a car or running. The fights are 99% done by the man himself. Be aware that very poor voice dubbing is present, but in small amounts and that the plot is messy. Seagal has fun in the movie, the girl playing the part of his daughter is a good actress and that a familiar face from Belly of The Beast is back in a similar role, one in which he is good.

Overall, 4/10 (Wake of Death 8/10?????(4/10 FOR ME), The Defender 7/10????(3/10 FOR ME). The Mechanik 8/10(YEAH, THIS IS THE BEST DOLPH FILM IN YEARS, VERY BELIEVABLE, BUT 7/10), Into the Sun 6/10). All of the four points the movie got are for Seagal, since there is nothing else worth watching this movie for).

Thanks for the review, Le-Martin & Kotegashi
 

supertom

Disgruntled fan!
I have managed to see this film now, and those who have seen my reviews for the last few Seagal films will know that I rate them harshly, critically, as movies, not simply as how much Seagal does, or doesn’t do, but the plot and the acting etc. So when I saw the first two reviews on this site, which were kinda in the middle, and below, I wasn’t expecting much from the film. However this is perhaps the most outright enjoyable Seagal film in years, probably since the inane but fun Belly Of The Beast. I really did not think I’d enjoy it so much, and I think the diehards will love this, considering how much love MFJ got, which I really didn’t like.

So what works in Shadow Man? First and foremost this is at times, vintage Seagal. Now there are voice dubs, and stand ins but they don’t detract too much. The thing is Seagal clearly is signed to these pictures with the stipulation that he is on set for say 75% of the shoot, cause lets face it Papa is a busy guy. What this means is that the producers must do some filling. In the case of Mercenary and Black Dawn, Seagal doesn’t appear in as much of the film as he should for a leading man. Mercenary for example, Seagal didn’t properly appear until 12 minutes in which is ludicrous, and often he’d disappear for large segments. What we have in Shadow Man is Seagal IN the movie, there with the odd stand in moment for some of his reverse when clearly he wasn’t on set. I’d rather have that than his character just vanishing for 5 minutes. Similarly most of his dub moments are clearly lines needlessly added in after initial ADR work, which are essentially added in to undermine the audience. For example Seagal chases someone, he runs to a car. We know he’s going to get in the car to give chase, but they’ve pointlessly added in a line telling us that, basically to spell out in fine detail what he’s doing. Most of the dubbing is not on important dialogue, that big papa does himself, so on that respect it’s the producers fault. The film did worry me when it started though, because Seagal is introduced teaching aikido to students, and it starts off really cool, with Seagal doing his sensei thing. However he then takes on his students, who one by one try and attack him. It’s a neat little fight but it’s all done by his double. Why? Because the producers probably extended this opening to fill out screen time and didn’t have Seagal during these additional shots. So we see a lot of Seagal’s classic moves performed by a double. Worry not, because from then on the fights are almost all Seagal, if not all him. As I said Seagal has vintage moments. There’s a great fight scene when he takes on some Russian drug dealers which sees him unleash classic style. Seagal smashes someone through a glass table, and another guy through a glass cabinet, and he also unleashes a few kicks. In fact Seagal does quite a lot of kicks in the film, AND he does them! Seagal is also far more engaged here. He’s enjoying himself, as already mentioned. There are several moments that are just cool, classic Seagal. Stevo even has his very own little A-Team moment where he builds a shotgun from household objects, plus the climax is just downright vicious, and worthy of early Seagal. I’ll be honest here the film wasn’t a great piece of cinema, but I kind of loved it!

Also Michael Keusch does a reasonable job. He’s mimicking other directors style more than showing his own, but he has a competence that was lacking in the last few Seagal movies. The film is nicely shot, and the cinematography, aside from a few Apocalypse Now Brando shots for Stevo, is nice. Similarly the score from Barry Taylor is the best in a long time for Seagal, despite being quite heavily influenced by John Powell’s score in the Bourne films. The film has a certain Bourne vibe because of the musical choices and the shot choices.
The script is a problem though. The basic plot revolves around Steven coming into possession of some biological virus, or something or other, without him knowing, but the Romanian police, CIA, and Russian gangsters know he has it. His daughter is kidnapped by a Taxi Driver, and everyone is after Steven for this item. The problem is the plot becomes convoluted. Seagal also goes form destination to destination with little indication as to why he’s there, and usually he’s closely followed by bad guys. Essentially Seagal moves from locale to locale and the narrative doesn’t gel together with much cohesion. However while this was a significant problem in some of the other Seagal films, it’s not as major here, because the film is filled with action. It’s more or less just a constant jump from action scene to action scene. There’s a feeling that maybe the script has been chopped and changed in order that the film fits within the required 90 minute time period for DTV action films. Plus it would seem that with three credited writers (our pal Joe, Steven and also Steve Collin’s who did MFJ) it’s been through the re-write mill one too many times.

The car chases are okay, nothing great, but at least they have a decent length. The gun fights are quite disappointing though with a lack of practical effects, however the last action suddenly sees the effect crew wake up because they eventually remember squibs etc. The fights are pretty good though. They are shot and to the point, like Seagal’s fights have always been. The bad guys can usually only take one or two hits before falling in a crumpled heap. What this means is there is more of an impact, because Seagal really floors his opponents hard and as I mentioned the fight when he takes on Russian gangsters, at the half way mark of the film, is great. It’s longer simply because it’s got more opponents for the big guy. I also thought the locations were very good. It’s always a risk in Eastern Europe, that you will find it tough to find eye catching locations, but the manage it well here. On a location standpoint this is Seagal’s most eye catching film since ITS. The CGI effects, are basically just one moment of pure awfulness, one of the worst effects I have seen, but it’s not a pivotal moment. Also Seagal is helped out by a good supporting cast including as some UK viewers might know, Alex Ferns (Trevor from Eastenders), Eva Pope, and also Imelda Staunton. The girl who plays his daughter is also pretty good, which is quite remarkable for a DTV film when child actors are on the most part awful relatives of the producers.

Overall I think Seagal fans will be more than happy with this. The plotting aside this is decent. Seagal actually delivers here, there’s plenty of bang for the buck and he gives some effort in this. Clearly he has a better relationship with these producers than in some of his previous films. In film terms I’d give this a **½ rating, while for Seagal fans this is perhaps a ****/*****
 

DiDa

Super Moderator
Staff member
Thank you for your review supertom. I have a question. Does Steven have some cool one-liners in Shadow Man? If it is, please tell us one....!!!
 

SimonLustenberger

Well-Known Member
Thanks Supertom. Its cool to hear that Steven is doing his own fighting most the time. But i think I`m gonna close my eyes at the beginning of the movie when his stunt-double (man, I hate this guy) is gonna fight his students. How often we see the stand in during the movie. I hope not too often.
 

latinojazz

New Member
supertom said:
I have managed to see this film now, and those who have seen my reviews for the last few Seagal films will know that I rate them harshly, critically, as movies, not simply as how much Seagal does, or doesn’t do, but the plot and the acting etc. So when I saw the first two reviews on this site, which were kinda in the middle, and below, I wasn’t expecting much from the film. However this is perhaps the most outright enjoyable Seagal film in years, probably since the inane but fun Belly Of The Beast. I really did not think I’d enjoy it so much, and I think the diehards will love this, considering how much love MFJ got, which I really didn’t like.

So what works in Shadow Man? First and foremost this is at times, vintage Seagal. Now there are voice dubs, and stand ins but they don’t detract too much. The thing is Seagal clearly is signed to these pictures with the stipulation that he is on set for say 75% of the shoot, cause lets face it Papa is a busy guy. What this means is that the producers must do some filling. In the case of Mercenary and Black Dawn, Seagal doesn’t appear in as much of the film as he should for a leading man. Mercenary for example, Seagal didn’t properly appear until 12 minutes in which is ludicrous, and often he’d disappear for large segments. What we have in Shadow Man is Seagal IN the movie, there with the odd stand in moment for some of his reverse when clearly he wasn’t on set. I’d rather have that than his character just vanishing for 5 minutes. Similarly most of his dub moments are clearly lines needlessly added in after initial ADR work, which are essentially added in to undermine the audience. For example Seagal chases someone, he runs to a car. We know he’s going to get in the car to give chase, but they’ve pointlessly added in a line telling us that, basically to spell out in fine detail what he’s doing. Most of the dubbing is not on important dialogue, that big papa does himself, so on that respect it’s the producers fault. The film did worry me when it started though, because Seagal is introduced teaching aikido to students, and it starts off really cool, with Seagal doing his sensei thing. However he then takes on his students, who one by one try and attack him. It’s a neat little fight but it’s all done by his double. Why? Because the producers probably extended this opening to fill out screen time and didn’t have Seagal during these additional shots. So we see a lot of Seagal’s classic moves performed by a double. Worry not, because from then on the fights are almost all Seagal, if not all him. As I said Seagal has vintage moments. There’s a great fight scene when he takes on some Russian drug dealers which sees him unleash classic style. Seagal smashes someone through a glass table, and another guy through a glass cabinet, and he also unleashes a few kicks. In fact Seagal does quite a lot of kicks in the film, AND he does them! Seagal is also far more engaged here. He’s enjoying himself, as already mentioned. There are several moments that are just cool, classic Seagal. Stevo even has his very own little A-Team moment where he builds a shotgun from household objects, plus the climax is just downright vicious, and worthy of early Seagal. I’ll be honest here the film wasn’t a great piece of cinema, but I kind of loved it!

Also Michael Keusch does a reasonable job. He’s mimicking other directors style more than showing his own, but he has a competence that was lacking in the last few Seagal movies. The film is nicely shot, and the cinematography, aside from a few Apocalypse Now Brando shots for Stevo, is nice. Similarly the score from Barry Taylor is the best in a long time for Seagal, despite being quite heavily influenced by John Powell’s score in the Bourne films. The film has a certain Bourne vibe because of the musical choices and the shot choices.
The script is a problem though. The basic plot revolves around Steven coming into possession of some biological virus, or something or other, without him knowing, but the Romanian police, CIA, and Russian gangsters know he has it. His daughter is kidnapped by a Taxi Driver, and everyone is after Steven for this item. The problem is the plot becomes convoluted. Seagal also goes form destination to destination with little indication as to why he’s there, and usually he’s closely followed by bad guys. Essentially Seagal moves from locale to locale and the narrative doesn’t gel together with much cohesion. However while this was a significant problem in some of the other Seagal films, it’s not as major here, because the film is filled with action. It’s more or less just a constant jump from action scene to action scene. There’s a feeling that maybe the script has been chopped and changed in order that the film fits within the required 90 minute time period for DTV action films. Plus it would seem that with three credited writers (our pal Joe, Steven and also Steve Collin’s who did MFJ) it’s been through the re-write mill one too many times.

The car chases are okay, nothing great, but at least they have a decent length. The gun fights are quite disappointing though with a lack of practical effects, however the last action suddenly sees the effect crew wake up because they eventually remember squibs etc. The fights are pretty good though. They are shot and to the point, like Seagal’s fights have always been. The bad guys can usually only take one or two hits before falling in a crumpled heap. What this means is there is more of an impact, because Seagal really floors his opponents hard and as I mentioned the fight when he takes on Russian gangsters, at the half way mark of the film, is great. It’s longer simply because it’s got more opponents for the big guy. I also thought the locations were very good. It’s always a risk in Eastern Europe, that you will find it tough to find eye catching locations, but the manage it well here. On a location standpoint this is Seagal’s most eye catching film since ITS. The CGI effects, are basically just one moment of pure awfulness, one of the worst effects I have seen, but it’s not a pivotal moment. Also Seagal is helped out by a good supporting cast including as some UK viewers might know, Alex Ferns (Trevor from Eastenders), Eva Pope, and also Imelda Staunton. The girl who plays his daughter is also pretty good, which is quite remarkable for a DTV film when child actors are on the most part awful relatives of the producers.

Overall I think Seagal fans will be more than happy with this. The plotting aside this is decent. Seagal actually delivers here, there’s plenty of bang for the buck and he gives some effort in this. Clearly he has a better relationship with these producers than in some of his previous films. In film terms I’d give this a **½ rating, while for Seagal fans this is perhaps a ****/*****

Well, I think that everybody in this site knows without any doubt that your action-man is Dolph Lundren(By the way, I saw The Mechanik a couple of days ago and I like a lot, I really enjoy with the movie and him, the flic is much better than the crap of The Patrol and the semi-crap of The Defender, and Ben Cross have a nice alcoholic role, very much better than in Undisputed 2).

But the real deal was, is, and will be Seagal

However, thanks for your arrogants points of view

See you
 

marky96

Active Member
It seems the reviews of this film are coming out as average or above average, which is a good sign, especially given that this is the first of a three picture deal (continuing with Harvester (2006) and Enemy of the Unseen (2007)), all directed by Michael Keusch.
 

hofmae

New Member
Shadow Man - My detailed review

First Words:
Ok, so first, it is again not as good as i expected, but better than Mercenary for Justice and the last few dtvs...

Story:
Ok, the story is better than in mercenary. I liked the story overall. But unfortunately its again too weird. (Why they always put 5 substories in one... I don't get it...) I really, really hope they come back to the simple stories like as example: Belly of the Beast (Or as example: Out of Reach, not a good movie but an easy to follow story). Why did they not only make a story about the kidnapping? No, everyone betrayed everyone, and all this weird twists, i didn't like that in Mercenary, i didn't liked that in Black Dawn and i didn't like it here... But overall the story was ok, and better than the last few dtv's, but please, please come back to the straight forwarded stories like in Belly of the Beast, Exit Wounds, Out of Reach, or even Today you die had the better story....

3/5

Action:
The Action is made very well. So the shootouts had the same quality like in Today you die i think, thei're not made so cool like in Mercenary but overall they were ok. Nothing special, but ok. I liked the car-chase scene. It was really old-school and not spectacular, but easy to follow and very well done. The amount of action for the whole movie was good. I would liked it if the're were more fights but it was ok.

3/5

Fights:
So the most important thing :) The movie has i think the same amount of fightscenes than Mercenary for Justice. I really liked the fightscenes. They were made cool, but not as cool as in Mercenary for Justice but a lot better than in the last few dtv's. Steven has very cool moves and he also kicks some bad guys :) But i think they can make some more fightscenes in the next movie, not enough for me :)

3.5/5

Dubbing:
There is some really bad voicedubbing in the beginning... Nothing more to say :)

3/5

Stunt Doubles:
There are stunt-doubles, but its not that bad, and not that often... but no guarantee on that...

4/5

Acting:
Steven's Action was cool, i liked it better than in Mercenary for Justice, i really believed what he said and i think he acts cool in this movie!

4/5

Humor:
There isn't much humor. I also didn't heard any one-liners :( So there is not much humor in this movie...

1/5

CGI_Effects:
I only saw one CGI-Shot (an exploding Helicopter) and it was unbelievable bad... I didn't saw such bad explosion in the last few years... Really, really, really bad, like in a computer game from 1995 :)

1/5

Cinematography:
Was ok... Not as good as in Mercenary but a quite better than in the last dtv's.

2.5/5

Music:
Wow, best music in a seagal flick since Exit Wounds for me... Great orchestral score, great!

4/5

Overall Rating:
So here we are again. The movie as a whole thing is better than Mercenary and better than the last few dtv's... The story isn't that weird, but for me too weird... But i already said that :)
The action was ok, but nothing special... The fights were cool, the amount of fightscenes was ok, but next time, please more of them :)
Unfortunately the quality of the movie (Camera, Cinematography, ...) isn't that good than in Mercenary, but it has a really good score, and Steven's acts cool... So overall, its a small step forward, but i thin Keusch has potential... A more forwarded, straight story without unnecessary twists and everyone-betrays-everyone-ideas and we can really look forward!!! So, im ready for Harvester, lets do it :)

Ill give it 3.5/5.
 
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