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Into the Sun
In his latest straight to video action movie extravaganza, aging ponytail man Steven Seagal plays Travis Hunter, a master martial artist who just happens to be of Japanese heritage and a man who has a strong understanding of the Yakuza and their mysterious, eccentric, and sinister ways.
When a Japanese federal official is assassinated, the C.I.A. figures that the Yakuza might play a part in the reason for his death, and they call in their man Travis to handle the job to head on over to Tokyo and sort it all out. Hunter won't be alone on his mission though, thankfully the Feds have had the good sense to send a new recruit named Agent Mac (Matthew Davis of Legally Blonde) along with him to learn the ropes (and maybe keep him in line a little bit too).
When the two super cops start their investigation, it doesn't take them long to find out that the Yakuza are undergoing some serious restructuring within their organization. One of the young upstarts has teamed up with a Chinese crime lord and together they're making short work of the competition…
Into The Sun has a little more of a story to it than most of the recent Seagal action films. It also has a lot more of Seagal's own music playing throughout it as well, which is, well, odd. Throw in the seemingly required 'Steve sleeps with a hot young chick' scene and a more or less disposable supporting cast that are there to either have their asses kicked or provide an outlet for some comic relief and you've got yourself a standard Seagal actioner.
While story wise it isn't anything to write home about, the movie does deliver a couple of remarkable action set pieces that lend some credence to the rumor that maybe the man hasn't lost his touch after all. Seagal is moving pretty fast and looking a lot better in this movie than his other recent efforts and the movie does benefit from that. A fantastic fight scene that takes place at a big shopping concourse ends too soon but does a nice job of setting up some of the action to come, and when the big finale finally hits the screen and Seagal pulls out his sword, well, let's just say if you were ever a fan of his earlier films, you won't be disappointed in the way this one finishes up.
Directed by the filmmaker known only as 'Mink' (he also directed Busta Rhymes and Xhibit in last years gangsta rap action fest Full Clip), the film runs at a nice, quick pace and if nothing else it always looks quite slick. The visuals are handled nicely, with some very fluid camera work and the color scheme is quite complimentary to the action.The DVD
The picture is presented in a pretty good-looking 1.85.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. There are some mild compression artifacts present during a couple of the darker scenes, as well as some mild edge enhancement but none of it is overly severe. Colors look pretty bold and robust without coming across as overcooked, and the flesh tones in the film remain life like without turning too pink or too orange. It isn't a perfect transfer with the aforementioned authoring issues, but there isn't any print damage worth complaining about (a few specks more than I'd expected from a new film, but still not too bad) and the grain that is noticeable is only of the very fine variety. The movie looks good.Sound:
The English language Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound track does a great job of handling the action scenes for this film. It's a pretty aggressive mix that differentiates and places the action sound effects across the soundstage as required by the way the film plays out. Plenty of gunshots, bone cracking, sword swinging and cheesy background music swells up behind (not overtop) the dialogue, which lets the talkier bits stay clean and easy to follow. This DVD contains and optional English language closed captioning feature as well.Extras:
The only extras on this DVD are trailers for Dead Birds, Wake Of Death, Control, The Brotherhood Of War, Doing Hard Time and Out Of Reach. There are no other supplements on the disc and surprisingly enough the trailer for the feature attraction is conspicuously absent on this release.Final Thoughts:
Into The Sun is a lot better than most of the recent Seagal outings – but that isn't saying a whole heckuva lot. It's plenty violent, and lots of fun in a mindless action movie kind of way, but don't expect any serious tension or suspense, because it isn't here. If you're able to turn off your brain and just enjoy the ass kickings, then this one comes recommended but if you require a little more substance than that, well… rent it first (and what are you doing reading a review for a Steven Seagal movie in the first place?).
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.