Friday Fisticuffs: Marked For Death (1990)

I don’t know why but I was hoping Steven Seagal’s Marked For Death would be, if not good, at least fun. It wasn’t really either unfortunately. But, hey, I spent the day watching Time Rider, Gremlins 2 and too much of The Pelican Brief, not leaving a whole lot of time to switch gears. The idea here is that Seagal was a pretty bad ass undercover cop who would do whatever it took to get his man, whether that meant doing drugs or killing people, but now he’s found God or something, quits and moves back to wherever he’s from which just so happens to be overrun by Jamaican thugs (what was it with 90s movies and Jamaican thugs, weren’t they they main human bad guys in Predator 2 and a ton of other flicks?). Anyway, as Seagal explains to his buddy Keith David, he feels like it’s more important to go home and, if something bad happens, to fight it. Notice, he’s not being proactive necessarily and in fact, isn’t proactive throughout most of the movie as he only gets involved when his niece (played by Daniel Harris of latter day Halloween fame) is hurt.

The problem with this whole setup is that it hints at a much more interesting and ass kicking story early on when Seagal talks about how much of a bad ass he was. What do we get instead? A movie with him spending way too much time wearing a ridiculous shirt with dragons and tigers on it and not nearly enough ass kicking.

Even the fight scenes aren’t all that impressive which is ridiculous because this is Seagal in his prime. He should have been kicking wall to wall ass. Instead you get one kind of interesting fight at the end with the main bad guy who’s wielding a sword. That fight does include a pretty gross double eye gouge and a backbreaking move, but it doesn’t do much to save the flick. The problem with movies by guys like Seagal and Jean Claude Van Damme, though, is that their movies have such innocuous and interchangeable titles that I can never remember which ones I’ve seen. Hopefully this blog post will help me make sure never to watch Marked For Death again. If you’re even remotely interested in this movie, just watch the above clip and then Death Wish and you’ll pretty much have the whole idea, plus you’ll have seen a movie that doesn’t suck ass.

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