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Under Siege 2: Dark Territory(1995)
Maniacal techno-expert Travis Dane hijacks a train and converts it into a command center. He seizes control of a satellite super-weapon and threatens to destroy Washington, D.C., unless his one-billion dollar demand is met. Unfortunately for him, however, Casey Ryback (Steven Seagal) happens to be on board, travelling with his niece, Sarah, and is the only man between Dane and the obliteration of three million people.
For more about Under Siege 2: Dark Territory and the Under Siege 2: Dark Territory Blu-ray release, see Under Siege 2: Dark Territory Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on October 10, 2008 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.0 out of 5.
Starring: Steven Seagal, Eric Bogosian, Katherine Heigl, Everett McGill, Morris Chestnut, Nick Mancuso
Director: Geoff Murphy
» See full cast & crew
Under Siege 2: Dark Territory Blu-ray Review
This 90s action fare falls right into the middle of the pack.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, October 10, 2008
This I'm trained for.
Under Siege 2: Dark Territory is about as basic an action movie as you'll ever see, the genre at its absolute middle point. A far cry from the best of the best (Die Hard, Predator), yet nowhere near as inconsequential as something like 7 Seconds, Under Siege 2 neither excites the senses nor lulls viewers into a state of outright depression at the state of modern cinema, but rather creates in the casual viewer a feeling of indifference. It's just good enough to hold your interest until the next action sequence, but forgettable enough to soon thereafter be lost to the deepest, darkest, chasms of the mind, that oft forgotten corner I like to call "Dark Territory." It's fitting then, and very ironic, don't you agree, that this sequel to the 1992 hit Under Siege has been given the subtitle Dark Territory. The memories of this film gracefully fade into the abyss and never offends the sensibilities while it is playing and fresh on the brain.
Top chef and former Navy SEAL Casey Ryback (Steven Seagal, Half Past Dead) and his rebellious niece Sarah (Katherine Heigl, 27 Dresses) board a train bound for California. Soon after departure, the train is hijacked by a team of terrorists, led by the brilliant Travis Dane (Eric Bogosian), a former government employee who built "Grazer One," a satellite capable of creating artificial earthquakes at a specific target. Dane uses the train as a mobile command center, taking advantage of its passage through "dark territory," a lengthy stretch of track where the train cannot be detected. Dane hacks into the satellite via a remote computer setup and demonstrates its capabilities by laying waste to a secret Chinese facility. He then offers to destroy Washington should his demand for $1,000,000,000 be met in time. It's up to Ryback, who escapes detection, and one of the train's porters, Bobby (Morris Chestnut, The Game Plan) to foil the terrorist's plot. Under Siege 2: Dark Territory also features performances by Kurtwood Smith (RoboCop) and Hollywood's military advisor, Dale Dye (Starship Troopers).
Under Siege 2: Dark Territory arrived while Steven Seagal still enjoyed some relevance in Hollywood. He would have only a minor role in one more bona-fide hit (Executive Decision) and a couple of more decent outings (The Patriot, Fire Down Below) before his stock plummeted and the once-famed martial artist became a staple of the direct to video market. Dark Territory is still vintage Seagal, with a corny hero's entrance replete with the swelling heroic and uplifting score, over-the-top stunts, witty dialogue, knife fights, gunplay, and several broken bones. The action is acceptable, but not too exciting, and certainly nothing that hasn't been seen before in other Seagal vehicles and elsewhere. The special effects are rather shoddy, and the film's various outer space scenes feature effects that look and feel 10 years out of date; no doubt such effects looked just as good in something like Superman IV: The Quest For Peace. The film's villain is fresh, mean, and comically devious. His dialogue is goofy but fun, adding to the diabolical nature of the character. He's a good villain in a mediocre movie, and often steals the spotlight from star Seagal. Under Siege 2: Dark Territory also serves as one of the first major roles for current Hollywood starlet Katherine Heigl.
Under Siege 2: Dark Territory Blu-ray, Video Quality
Under Siege 2: Dark Territory speeds onto Blu-ray with an satisfactory 1080p high definition transfer. The image is clear, appearing a bit smooth in places and lacking in depth. It's still nicely detailed with solid color reproduction. Various images appear more robust and lifelike than others. A close-up shot of a helicopter rotor, for example, shows the wear and tear on the equipment, and numerous shots of the interior of the train reveal some fine detail. None of it is mind-boggling or in the same league as the best transfers, but much of what we see is certainly acceptable for a high definition catalogue release. Flesh tones are consistently good throughout. The image is sometimes soft, even in close-up shots of characters. Black levels are moderately good, with a slight bit of crushing in a few scenes, and the heaviest grain is seen against the darker segments of the film. Under Siege 2: Dark Territory is very basic stuff, and the transfer is nothing to become excited about. It's passable, just like the movie, and very forgettable without offending.
Under Siege 2: Dark Territory Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Boasting a Dolby Digital 5.1 lossy soundtrack, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory offers a loud, boisterous soundtrack but lacks definition. A space shuttle launch to open the movie is ridiculously loud, and it will have listeners scrambling for their remotes to find a more sensible volume. The score definitely lacks that clear fidelity associated with lossless, and doesn't sound quite as full as it could, relying more on volume than clarity. The train departing from the station provides some deep rumbles, but again seems to emphasize volume rather than precision to advance the soundtrack. Likewise, various gunfire heard throughout the film is loud and muffled with little clarity or attention to detail. It's a jumble of sound with no real flow. This deluge of sound is spread all over the soundstage, with plenty of information in the rear channels. Dialogue is well prioritized and focused in the center, and is the finest aspect of the track, a shame for an action movie. Listeners only searching for volume and activity on the rear speakers will be impressed with Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, but those more attuned to the finer nuances and precision of the best lossless tracks will be sorely disappointed.
Under Siege 2: Dark Territory Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The only extras to be found on this disc are a series of 480p trailers for several Seagal films, including Under Siege, Under Siege 2, Fire Down Below, The Glimmer Man, Hard to Kill, On Deadly Ground, and Out For Justice.
Under Siege 2: Dark Territory Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Under Siege 2: Dark Territory is solid entertainment, nothing more, and nothing less. It's the prototypical action movie with plenty of clichéd characters and scenes, but it all comes together to make a film action lovers will enjoy every now and again, once the film has faded from memory. It's a worthy sequel to a fine first effort. It doesn't surpass its predecessor in any way, but that's alright. Casey Ryback borders on being a memorable action icon, and one more solid Under Siege film may have solidified him as one of the more recognizable and marketable characters of the 1990s. Unfortunately, Seagal's career soon took a turn for the worse and to date, no further Under Siege films are available. Warner Brothers' Blu-ray release of Under Siege 2: Dark Territory is a minor disappointment. Offering decent picture quality and a loud, aggressive, but jumbled soundtrack lacking any polish, and a handful of trailers as the only bonus materials, this disc is for hardcore Seagal fans only.
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