Bodybuilder-fronted flick needs to work on gains beginning with brains.
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I love action flicks. I really dig the accomplished ones. I often even vibe with the asinine ones. “The Siege” (now available in select theaters and on VOD) is undeniably an unintelligent offering … and not in a fun way. It’s not even as good as the 1998 Edward Zwick-directed three-hander featuring Denzel Washington, Bruce Willis and Annette Bening of the same name … and that movie is thoroughly mediocre.
Norwegian bodybuilder Daniel Stisen (he reads like the love child of Dolph Lundgren and Andew Bryniarski AKA Lattimer from “The Program” … minus those dudes’ charisma) stars as Walker, an international assassin whose cover is blown during a botched hit. His handler sends him to a Reassignment Center in order to gain a new identity. While there, a vicious team of mercenaries storms the compound looking for the lost love of their boss Big Deal (Byron Gibson). She’s Juliet (Yennis Cheung), she’s pregnant and she’s under the protection of fellow hatchet person Elda (Lauren Okadigbo). Walker begrudgingly teams with these ladies to ensure they all leave the facility breathing.
“Assault on Precinct 13” (1976 or 2005) this is not. As directed by Brad Watson (his last outing was the wack-looking Kelsey Grammer vehicle “Miss Willoughby and the Haunted Bookshop”) and scripted by actress-turned-screenwriter Nicole Bartlett, “The Siege” is thin on plot and bereft of both humor and personality. It’s wall-to-wall action, but it’s not particularly well captured (scenes are often grossly underlit to the point of being indecipherable) or staged/performed (it’s cut to shit to obscure stunt inefficiency). In a world where we have “The Raid” and “John Wick” flicks this is inexcusable regardless of budget.
“The Siege” is screaming out for an interesting villain, but we don’t get that from Gibson’s Big Deal nor his lackeys Keates (Samantha Schnitzler), Fisher (Phillip Tommy Ray) nor Reynard (Steven Blades … dope last name though, dude). Bates (Michael Billington) has a cool, creepy look and presence, but he gets dispatched with little to no fanfare … lame!
Subplots such as a burgeoning romance between center employees Smithee (Michael Geary) and Sarah (Megan Lockhurst) are addressed and frustratingly never paid off.
As an actor I’m sure Stisen’s a great bodybuilder. “The Siege” needs to hit the gym and work on its gains starting with brains.