Review: A Good Man

Steven Seagal plays a special ops guy who hides out in Romania after a botched job. Hoping to spend the rest of his days without much disturbance (working as- get this- a handyman!), he reluctantly goes to bat for pretty neighbour Iulia Verdes and her cute daughter when Verdes’ mob-tied brother Victor Webster pisses off both Russian and Chinese (veteran villain Tzi Ma) gangsters.

Hardly the best collaboration between co-writer/director Keoni Waxman and producer-star Steven Seagal (their other films include “The Keeper”, “Maximum Conviction”, and “Force of Execution”), this 2014 crime-drama is extremely mediocre. Definitely one of Seagal’s bloodier films, I just wish I cared about something here. The plot is old hat, and although Tzi Ma and Victor Webster are relatively accomplished actors, they’re not nearly enough to bring this one out of mediocrity. To be honest, it even feels like a slight step back for Seagal, if nowhere near the bottom-of-the-barrel where the likes of “The Foreigner”, “Out for a Kill”, “Attack Force”, and “Flight of Fury” reside.

On the few occasions Seagal (who suddenly adopts a Creole accent 30 odd minutes in out of nowhere) decides to get stabby and nasty with a blade, the film works, and former “Days of Our Lives” actor Victor Webster isn’t half-bad as the almost-bad guy. He’s clearly a more competent actor than most of the presumably Romanian cast, and on the odd occasion proves to be an efficient arse-kicker too (Either that or he’s much more effectively faking it than Seagal). It’s a shame he’s not the lead, because I would’ve liked to have seen more of his character, particularly in action mode. I mean it’s nice to watch Seagal slice arms off with a machete but we all know he’s only doing that because he’s too fat and slow to bust out the aikido moves. Webster could’ve opened up more opportunities story-wise, instead Waxman and co-writer Jason Rainwater (yep, that’s a real name) give us a film where Seagal’s standard special ops guy hides out in Romania and gets involved with shady Webster’s sister and her cute kid who he helps protect from the even worse guys. I mean it sounds like the kind of plot you’d find in the late 80s or early 90s as a first starring effort for whatever the ‘next big thing’ in martial arts/action movies was meant to be. Waxman’s adoption of a few annoying visual tics is straight out of the 2003-era shitty Seagal movie director playbook, however. As for veteran Asian villain Tzi Ma (who indeed did have a role in the late Brandon Lee’s first ‘real’ starring effort “Rapid Fire”), he doesn’t do anything out of the ordinary here but his character is suitably evil and it’s the kind of role he’s well-versed in. As for Seagal, his best scene is when he tortures one of the main villains. His aikido fights are occasionally impactful but mostly look like the other person is beating themselves up. I have zero problem however, believing him threatening a tied-up person and being able to make good on those threats. He may be awfully doughy, but you feel Seagal (or at least his character) at least knows how to hurt someone very, very viciously.

This isn’t good, it’s not even one of Seagal’s better film of recent years. Stock-standard plotting, and not enough room for the clearly talented Victor Webster to shine. Bloody at times, but only enough to keep you awake, and that’s not good enough.

Rating: C+


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