How Hard to Kill captures Seagal in fishtail, leather jacket, on top of the action.
In 1990. Steven Seagal was in demand, and his role in Hard to Kill was a common one. It became a commercial success, reaching number one in the US box office and generating significant profits. It was probably one of the best Seagal movies of the era, and if you like action movies, you should have no problem watching this one.
By today’s standards, Hard to Kill still holds up well. If only because the film is action-packed from start to finish and is considered one of Seagal’s most action-packed films. In other words, Hard to Kill suggests something of what it says about the canned item in terms of providing its viewers with non-stop action. It is important to note that this film also featured Seagal’s emblematic ponytail, which became synonymous with his image throughout his career. What’s not to like?
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Revision of section
The story of Hard to Kill is pretty simple: Segal plays Mason Storm, an undercover agent who is discovered… and presumably killed by the gang he has infiltrated. But, as the title suggests, he was literally hard to kill and survived the shot. It’s no surprise that he’s pissed that he got shot and then his wife got killed too, so the rest of the movie is based on his revenge plans against the gang that almost killed him.
Sprinkle whistleblowing on a corrupt senator and you have the story. Interestingly, the role of an undercover law enforcement officer fighting corruption was taken up later in Seagal’s career in the film Exit Wounds (2001). The name Mason’s Storm is reminiscent of a cliché from the 90s, and that’s part of its charm.
What does Hard to Kill add to your reputation? On the one hand, the soundtrack is also very contemporary and has a higher value than electronic music during battle scenes. Whether it’s cheesy or not, it undeniably works well and gets the adrenaline flowing. This is sometimes lacking in modern action films, which tend to overly ornate their score, whereas Hard to Kill’s soundtrack usually does.
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Iconic dialogue and imaginary battle scene
The dialogues are also typical for the time, especially Seagal has some memorable one-liners. At one point, as he hurries along, he says: Come on, guys, let’s go. I’ll skip the Oscars. As you’d expect from most action films of the era, there’s a definite sense of humor that shows he doesn’t take himself too seriously.
Perhaps the best part of the film is the fight scene where Seagal manages to take out over ten bad guys and get away. Here he escaped the hail of machine gun bullets without a scratch on his face or body. The gunfight begins inside, where he demonstrates both the accuracy of his pistol shooting and his hand-to-hand aikido skills. The entire scene lasts only 3.30 seconds, but is explosive and loaded with real ammo. It is accompanied by air cries from dying henchmen and sometimes impressive choreography.
That’s the kind of thing that makes Hard to Kill work. Will it ever be critically acclaimed and considered some kind of gripping masterpiece? But not at all – judging these merits is not fair. Seen from the standpoint of an action-packed novel, it serves its purpose and is certainly not one of the worst films in the genre.
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Problems behind the scenes?
While Seagal’s main career is far from over, there are signs of discontent behind the scenes. For example, his then wife, Kelly Lebrock, played his love. She clearly didn’t want to play the role, but she did it as a favor to Segal. Years later, she titled the film Hard to Watch, which says everything about her opinion of the film.
Seagal himself wasn’t exactly happy with the ending, nor was the singer in his argument with the director. According to Seagal, director Bruce Malmuth botched some fight scenes and excluded Seagal from editing. As has been said over the years, Segal was not always easy to work with, which could cause tensions between him and Malmuth. Craig R. Baxley also declined to direct the film, stating that working with Seagal was the main reason why he didn’t want to work on it.
Steven Seagal is responsible for the proper functioning of the justice system.
Bad reviews, but was it really bad?
As you can see, I’m a big fan of this movie. As you may have noticed, this movie wasn’t perfect either, and that wasn’t just due to internal disagreements between the actors and the director. When the film came out, many professional film critics didn’t like Hard to Kill, some calling it generic and others a panorama of the genre. However, two factors get in the way of this and benefit the film.
First, as we said, it was a commercial success. If this means nothing to the critics, at least it means it was popular and expected at the time. Yes, pitchers as a whole did better in the early 90s. Still, this film had the best three-day premiere when it was released. This means that if it came out in the summer, it could be absolutely massive. Most importantly though, Hard to Kill works and shows that Seagal works in numbers.
The second reason for a good movie is that it leaves a positive legacy when people look back. If you watch online, no one else will be rude or critical of Hard to Kill. Instead, it’s the other way around. Nowadays, most people are very open-minded and like to watch movies. Whether you’re watching the film along the lines of Memory Lane or just want to see something light and not too serious, Hard to Kill is probably for you.
This film was never made for snobby critics, and in that sense it speaks to the common man. Isn’t that the whole point of action movies? Yes, attacking Seagal may be cool and easy – but let’s face it, the truth is he’s in these movies so often for a reason. The reason, simply put, is that he is good at what he does. From his ponytail to his leather jackets to his deep voice, there’s no denying that few actors play this role as well as Seagal…. and that’s why Hard to Kill remains a solid action movie.
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