STUDIO: 20th Century Fox
MSRP: $14.98
RUNNING TIME: 94 minutes

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The Pitch

Another lazy direct-to-video release from everyone’s favorite bloated TV sheriff, Steven Seagal.

The Humans

Directed by Keoni Waxman, written by Paul A. Birkett, starring Steven Seagal, Liezl Carstens, Aaron Shiver, and Luce Rains.

The Nutshell

A retired L.A. cop becomes the bodyguard of a wealthy Texas businessman’s daughter only to have heaps of betrayal thrown in has pudgy lap.

The Lowdown

When the protagonist is shot three times in the chest within the first five minutes and survives, I’m not going to worry about him for the rest of the film. He’s cool. He’s got this. Such is the case with The Keeper. Seagal’s Roland Sallinger is a highly-decorated L.A. cop who is forced to retire after his partner shoots him over drug money. Not only does Roland survive this betrayal, he also gets revenge on his partner from his hospital bed! It’s like Hard to Kill, but it doesn’t take him seven years to slaughter everyone. With that story line closed up, it’s on to the next one.

After his hospital stay, a friend offers Roland a gig as a bodyguard to his daughter and her scuzzy boxer boyfriend. The job is in Texas, so Roland buys a giant white cowboy hat to fit in. The hat doesn’t stop the girl (Liezl Carstens, who was also in Seagal’s Urban Justice) from being kidnapped by a business rival of Roland’s friend. This business rival is allegedly a racist. That’s what Roland’s friend says anyway but there’s no evidence of this. But now we know this asshole is a racist and has kidnapped a pretty girl – we hate him and it’s time to kick his head in.

Seagal weaves in and out of action sequences like Frankenstein’s monster in a sweatsuit. My hunch is he’s wearing those black sweats to cover his wobbly bits. He looks tired and terribly out of shape. Most of the action involves shootouts and what aikido action scenes there are in the film are shot terribly close-up with lots of speed ramping so you can’t tell what the hell is going on.

They flake on a potentially awesome showdown at the end with the asshole boyfriend. He’s supposed to be some hotshot boxer, so you’d think Seagal’s going to fight him during the climax. It never happens – blowing a logical shot at a climactic rumble. Instead the climax is over after a few plot twists and a few gunshots. It’s really uninspired, lazy material even for a direct-to-video release.

A lot of Seagal’s contemporaries have managed to stay in shape and revitalize their career by poking fun at it (see: The Expendables, JCVD). He turned down The Expendables 1 & 2 and Stallone is still courting him for the third installment. Him and Van Damme (who basically called him “fat” during press interviews for 2) have beef with each other, so that may prevent his involvement.

But he really can’t continue to stay in DTV purgatory and expect to maintain a fruitful career. He still has some hardcore fans out there and he’s doing them all a disservice with these wimpy DTV movies. Seagal needs to get in shape, swallow his massive pride, and sign up for Expendables 3.

The Package

The Keeper is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and looks decent for a low budget film. I wish this was on Blu so Seagal’s bizarre orange skin tone would really pop.

The dialogue doesn’t sound too great in Dolby Digital 5.1. I can’t imagine the baffling southern twangy rasta accent Seagal demonstrates in The Keeper ever sounding good.

No special features, sorry.


Out of a Possible 5 Stars