Review : Shadow Man


Disgruntled fan!
I kind of hate that I enjoyed this more than most of the others so far, I'm supposed to be one of the more pessimistic reviews of Seagal's work. Of course I mainly liked it for the spatterings of nostalgic moments.


seagalfan128 said:
As you may have read, one of Seagal's upcoming projects will be released in theaters. So, all I have to say is, if his theatrical release is anything like Shadow Man, his career is over.

Shadow Man was another let down. This one didn't have as much hype as Black Dawn or Today You Die, and my expectations were at an all time low. But, that doesn't excuse this movie from being horrible.

The editing on this film was terrible. Pure amature editing. The gun shot sound effects didn't even sinc in with the actual shooting half the time. This film was poorly cut and the special effects weren't special at all.

The film quality on this was pretty good, and I enjoyed looking at a lot of the settings. Michael Keusch did a pretty decent job at keeping some of the shots interesting while the movie was continuously boring.

The plot was awful. Just like all Seagal's DTV movies, this plot is complicated and, in the end, very very stupid, as well as dragging.

The action was good and there was a lot of it. I did enjoy watching Steven return to his signature "beating up 4 people at the same time" scenes. I'd say from start to finish there was at least 5 quality fight scenes with a lot of aikido. This was a HUGE plus. There was a lot of gun fighting as well but the gun fights were pure mediocrity and worth as much as the word "decent" is in today's society. The car chases are crap and again, poorly edited. But then again, the cinematography was so outdated for a car chase it's rediculous.

Overall this was probably the WORST screenplay ever written by man. The dialogue is so cliche and horrible. So is the dubbing. The plot sucks, the acting is sub par. But at least Steven does his own stunts, which is pathetic that I even have to get excited about it.

*There are numerous scenes where Seagal fights multiple people and with the use of aikido...So I guess that's enough to sell you guys.

Feel free to ask me questions.

I don't quite understand why you think that if you don't like a plot and an editing technique then it is "crap", "sub par", and "outdated".

I think we may call something "crap" when it "violates" the rules of the industry, let that industry be the editing, scrpitwriting industry or whatever. There were previous films where we might say that this happened, bit in this case, I think that this movie was made professionally. Maybe we are not on the same opinion regarding artistic decisions, but I think we should see and understand the difference between the artistic and the professional dimension, and if we have artistic problems, we shouldn't question the professionalism, and vice versa.


New Member
Kcs said:
I don't quite understand why you think that if you don't like a plot and an editing technique then it is "crap", "sub par", and "outdated".

I don't understand what you are confused with. The plot was crap, and the editing was terrible. The camera movements were outdated (concerning the car chase towards the beginning of the film) and the acting was sub par. These of course, are just my opinions. I'm just participating on the forums by providing a review for the film for everyone to read.


Active Member
This movie is a stepf orward, but a stept into DTV, in this way he'll never get another theatrical release.


Well-Known Member
i am not gonna wrtie a long review for this just some ratings

fights 7/10-best fights for some time just not enough

acting 5/10-support cast ok but seagal looks bored

plot 5/10-too confusing and too many characters with different agenda means you have to watch real carefully

director 7/10-did a good job with a small budget aprt from bad cgi helicopter explosion...but that was done in post pro so was not his fault really

overall 7/10-not as good as into the sun or belly of beast but better then all the other dtv films


Above The Law
My Shadow Man Reveiw!!

You know it's been a couple monthes since Mercenary For Justice has been released and with Mercenary For Justice I was very pleased. Mercenary For Justice has been my most satisfying DTV release along with Into The Sun. After MFJ his DTV releases could only get better from there one. I have been impressed none the less that the quality of his recent DTV releases have been improving. If you compare Mercenary For Justice and Shadow Man to his most recent DTV releases such as Black Dawn, Today You Die, and Submerged, MFJ and Shadow Man are huge steps forward and a definant positive step towards Seagal's lackluster DTV release career. I believe the quality of these recent DTV releases have been pleasing and EVERYONE should acknowledge that. As for Shadow Man. At first I really wasn't excited about this movie, when I first saw the DVD cover posted here I got a little more excited, then I start seeing the pictures and I become even more excited because I see Seagal has his poneytail back, he is looking better phsyically then he was in Mercenary For Justice and Black Dawn, his classic black leather jacket is back, his classic Fire Down below light biege jacket is back, his hair looks healthier, Seagal was looking great in Shadow Man. Then I see the fan made trailer made by Kotegashi and I was blown away. I was more anxious for this DTV release then I have been since Into The Sun, but honestly I was more excited about this one. The trailer blew my mind and thought that this would be the best DTV release of all time. The key word was thought. Well so I watched the DTV 4 times to finally come to a conclusion and here it is...

Well this films plot was, Seagal as Jack Foster, or maybe Jack Slone as pronounced on the official Shadow Man trailer, plays an ex- C.I.A. operative who must unravel a lethal web of international espionage to save his daughter and stop a deadly virus from falling into the enemy hands. Seagal being the courier, they kidnap his daughter and Seagal is forced on a mission to regain his daughter and stop this virus from getting into the wrong hands.
Well.... the plot, I was not that impressed with the plot, if you put The Patriot and The Foriegner in a blender, mixed it up all together you would come up with Shadow Man. Like I sad, I did not like the plot, first it was kind of confusing to know who was on the good side and who was on the bad side, but the plot honestly was kind of too cliche for me. I just didn't buy it and it was almost kind of stupid for my likeing. Personally I was not too impressed with the plot and the plot really made portions of this film a little boring, being on a chase for an object for the whole time of the film just brings down the whole intensity and energy level for the film. The film had a very dark European vibe to this movie reminding me of The Foreigner and Out For A Kill. I really digged the music in this film, the music was some of the best I have heard for a DTV release.
So overall I was not pleased with this plot, the plot did nothing for the movie except make it a little dull.

The acting of this film in my opinion by the characters showed more of a professional performance then that of Mercenary For Justice. Personally I think the acting was not bad at all by the other actors in the film. Personally I feel the best acting in the movie was by the head of the U.S. embassy played by the female, she was a very impressive and believable actor. But like I said before the actors in this film was a higher notch then it has been in all his other DTV release films. As for Seagal we missed that trademark character we have seen in all his other films. There were some moments when you could say the phrase, that's Seagal for you, like when he slapped the bartender in the European night club, and when he was saying he would kill the lady, and what not, but we missed any good one liners. We had some one liners but very corny and cliche. We did not hear any great one liners from Seagal like we heard in Mercenary For Justice, Into The Sun, Belly Of The Beast,etc... Personally I did not feel the same energy in Seagal like I felt in Into The Sun, or Mercenary For Justice. I feel Seagal was one of the main reasons why this film lost its momentuem as the film went on. So I think by the characters this is by far the most professional acting done in a DTV release but as far as for Seagal, I missed his attitude and persona, I didn't really see it as a whole in this film, I feel Seagal had his better attitude persona which is why people are attracted to him. In my opinion he did a better performance in Mercenary For Jusitce.

Man when I saw the trailer I was in awe, I was like damn there is alot of action in the movie, but like always the trailer can be deceiving and at the end a let down. As far as the action in this film it was quantity over quality, something that basically is just a time filler needed for an action movie. Yes there was alot of action in this film but at the end of the day you have to ask yourself as a Seagal fan were the fight scenes pleasing or did they live up to a Seagal's film expectation. Well in Mercary For Jusitce there was not as many fight scenes as there was in Shadow Man. There probably were 3 or 4 small fight scenes in MFJ while as for this film there were a couple more. Well in Mercenary For Justice I feel the fight scenes were fantastic. Seagal really performed some amazing hand to hand combat fights. In the bathroom scene that was just incredible, did you see how fast his hands were. But in Shadow Man the fight scenes had no originality. The fight scene in the drug dealers hangouts that was not bad to be honest, but we have all seen those same moves before. In MFJ he created new moves we haven't seen as well as mixing it with his classic Aikido moves. I did however was pleased to see Seagal kick again but the fight scenes in this film were just not original. The opening dim mak scene was just silly. Personally I do not believe in dim mak and prove me wrong by using dim mak in a UFC or Pride FC match then I will believe in dim mak. So the dim mak scene was silly and did nothing for me, it was just movie martial arts that had no impact in Seagal's own word, when he stated he wants to make his martial arts and action as real as possible, pushing someone into a wall and killing him just doesn't do it for me. So in the end I was expecting much more with the fight scenes in this film, there was more fight scenes but the quality was no where as near the originality as it was with MFJ. In addition the special effects were not as good as MFJ either, that cheesy helicopter explosion was lame, and the car chase was a joke as you could see when they zoomed in the car you could obviously know they were driving behind a green screen and the car was stationary, so the special effects were not good at all compared to the amazing war scene as in MFJ. So in the end the action like I said before I was dissapointed and I was expecting much much more. The action was just quantity over quality.

Man if anything was good about this film it was the way Seagal looked. Funny to say since everyone has complained his weight, I think in this film his wardrobe, make up, and hair style looked much better then it was since hmm since The Forienger. Seagal looked good, the makeup made him look not as big or overweight then he looked in Today You Die. I loved the wardrobe, the classic black leather jacket and his brown leather jacket, he looked really good in it. I loved the Fire Down below style jacket that was pleasing to watch. But his hair his poneytail I was pleased to see again. His hair looked much healthier then it has been in all of his DTV releases. What I mean his hair didn't look as dry and frizzled as it did in all his other releases. So the most pleasing thing I got was the way Seagal looked in this movie, I did enjoy his appearence indeed but Seagal's look does not make a good film, just helps, a litttle.

The dubbing really was not an issue. Ok there were only a couple very small dubbings but the dubbing in Seagal dtv releases is much better. From MFJ to Shadow Man the dubbing has not been a big issue as it was in SUbmerged and Today You Die. So I was pleased that the dubbing had no effect on the film overall.

There was NO stunt doubles for any of the Seagal fight scenes which I like to see, that was the same way with MFJ. In the begining dim mak scene some members say it was a double, trust me it was not, I have analyzed it and watched it very carefully. I think there has been so many times were doubles have been fighting for Seagal, most horribly Belly Of The Beast and Today You Die, that the fans have gotten accustom to who really is dubbling for Seagal in the fights versus Seagal doing his own fight scenes. However almost every shot where Seagal was walking or a back profiled shot there was a double, that was very displeasing. So there was alot of doubles for Seagal jut walking which I was very dissapointed. In MFJ there was only one double that I spotted but you wouldn't be able to spot it if you were just casually watching the film. So I was pleased no doubles for the fight scenes but very dissapionted for the amount of doubles for Seagal just walking, that was very unpleasing to see.

Film Production:
I was not impressed with the screen play, editing of the film at all. I don't think the screen play was good because the dialouge was very poor in this film and like I said it didn't capture Seagal's true character, there were no good Seagal lines in the film. I did not like the flow of the film, things just happened way too fast in the beginning and the transistions were very confusing and some scenes were just not necessary in the film.

Overall I was hoping for so much more. I was not that impressed with Shadow Man. It had alot more potentional and believe many of the fans have overated this film since they see more action but the quality of the action was no where as near as good then Into The Sun or Mercenary For Justice. I was dissapointed to say the least because the trailer looked so good and I had alot of hope for this film. I simply got my hopes up. However weirdly this is a step forward still for Seagal. The reason I say so MFJ and Shadow Man have been so much better then Submerged, Today You Die, and Black Dawn, those were 3 bad movies in a row. And so far Seagal has put 2 good ones compared to those. So it only can get better from here. Anyway like I was saying, I had far much higher hopes for this film and just didn't see it in this film. I could watch this film again you could say because it was good, it wasn't terrible like Submerged and Out Of Reach, but it wasn't as good as MFJ and that I had hoped it to be. I think Mercenary For Justice and Into The Sun are better. Personally I think Shadow Man is better then Belly Of The Beast and all his other DTV releases making it in my opinion his 3rd best DTV release behind Into The Sun and Mercenary For Justice. So in conclusion I give it a mild
3.5 out of 5 stars!


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Above The Law
seagalfan128 said:
You weren't impressed with Shadow Man but you gave it 3.5 out of 5 stars? That's very nice of you.

That's correct and I explained why in my review if you read all of it.

lee nicholson

Well-Known Member
As others have stated, Shadow Man is a welcome return to form for Steven Seagal (who seems to be putting more effort into recent movies) but as usual with (most) d-t-v releases, it does have a rather jumbled plot, that detracts from what the big guy does best. Seagal plays (surprise, surprise) an ex C.I.A agent, who whilst on vacation with his young daughter, gets tied up in a plot to smuggle a deadly chemical agent (capable of doing serious damage to the human race) and in the carnage, his father in law is killed(?) and his daughter kidnapped......Which anyone will tell you, is the wrong thing to do to Seagal! The action moves fast and frantic (and the movie looks well, for it's modest budget) but as usual, there seems to have been post-production tampering. At the movies start, it shows Seagal teaching a martial arts class, and showing them the 'spiritual' side to the combat. Then (in a terribly doubled after-thought) Seagal (or his double) is then seen to start brutally going one to one with the class (dubbing is evident, at this point as well) so i chalk this up to the film-makers wanting extra fights (strange, given that Seagal performs all the other stuff himself?) Some ropey C.G.I and obvious body doubles asside (although Seagal is never around on set enough, to make an entire movie, given that he puts out 3-4 of these movies a year) the movie is a good solid little action flick (the people behind Van Dammes 'Second In Command'...take note!)

What Seagal now needs is to work with a decent director. One that cares little about scenes lasting longer than 2 seconds before an edit. It's good to see him kicking ass again, but the surrounding material is beneath him, and regardless of his good work, these annoying tactics only serve to make Seagal 'the star' look bad.

U.K fans will be keen to spot ex-soap regulars Eva Pope (Coronation Street) and Alex Ferris (Eastenders)......and remarkably (oscar nominated) Immelda Staunton(?)

The bottom line is this, Shadow Man has all the good quality fight scenes that Seagal is famous for, but suffers from this inexplicable 'filler-syndrome' that infests most d-t-v's. 'Mercenary For Justice' had the same problems (yet that movie, also grows on the viewer) Once Seagal can work with a plot without these distractions, and a director that can shoot action in a fluid style, that suits his beautiful Aikido skills, then expect to see the 'Stout Sensei' on the big screen soon enough?

Big Lee gives this (not quite) perfect action flick 9 out of 10


Hey all, I've read several times in this forum that at the beginning of Shadow Man when Seagal is teaching aikido to students, that he is doubled. He actually isn't. His face is in shadow most of the time, but if you zoom in on it you can clearly see that it is Seagal's face and not a stuntman's.

lee nicholson

Well-Known Member
charles said:
Hey all, I've read several times in this forum that at the beginning of Shadow Man when Seagal is teaching aikido to students, that he is doubled. He actually isn't. His face is in shadow most of the time, but if you zoom in on it you can clearly see that it is Seagal's face and not a stuntman's.

Sorry to disagree, but there's no way that's SEAGAL. Unless of course, he lost weight just for THAT sequence. You can tell it's been added on, it doesn't even fit in with the scene (why would he start fighting all his students?)
Believe me, after he hits the guy into the wall, in comes all the badly shot stuff, with the head out of frame....meaning it's not SEAGAL.


Staff member
Finally I watched "Shadow Man" and my review is here..
It is not very long...

Steven Seagal : He was really awesome, his costumes and his hair ( I have a little problem sometimes) was excellent !!! He was great and spectacular all his scenes including fight scenes.. From time to time I remembered his old movies..
Especially I enjoyed alot of his dojo scenes.. I really liked to watch Steven Seagal Sensei in film... 10/9 - (he used stund double and I broke his point :D)

Script: I always liked all Joe Halpin's movies when he writes with Steven..

Director: He was the worst director for me after Albert Pyun (Ticker) and Michael Oblowitz(Out for a kill) - Reason for me he couldn't hide Steven's was really bad.. too bad....10/2 :mad:

Visual Effects: The worst (Helicopter scene was incredibly bad..) 10/1

Other crew: Good 10/8

Finally my point about for this movie 10/7

This point is for Steven and for Joe Halpin


oh one more thing I didn't understand when Steven changed his costumes and he weared long trenchcoat and red shirt.. Where did he find these ? Really I missed here.. Because his baggage exploded in airport and his little bag was together his daughter !!! ::rolleyes: Can you explain ??



Above The Law
lee nicholson said:
Sorry to disagree, but there's no way that's SEAGAL. Unless of course, he lost weight just for THAT sequence. You can tell it's been added on, it doesn't even fit in with the scene (why would he start fighting all his students?)
Believe me, after he hits the guy into the wall, in comes all the badly shot stuff, with the head out of frame....meaning it's not SEAGAL.

Lee you need to look again Seagal was doing the Dim Mak scenes in the opening of the movie.


New Member
suziwong said:
oh one more thing I didn't understand when Steven changed his costumes and he weared long trenchcoat and red shirt.. Where did he find these ? Really I missed here.. Because his baggage exploded in airport and his little bag was together his daughter !!! ::rolleyes: Can you explain ??


It's just a continuity error. Of course you can always assume otherwise, but in movies, you can't assume therefor that is just a small continuity error.