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Attack Force

Sony Pictures // R // December 5, 2006
List Price: $24.96 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Ian Jane | posted November 21, 2006 | E-mail the Author
The Movie:

The second collaboration between action star Steven Seagal and German director Michael Keusch (they previously worked together on the surprisingly entertaining Shadow Man) sounded like it could have been interesting when it was first announced. The story was supposed to pit Seagal against some aliens – a goofy idea, maybe, but one that had some potential entertainment value nonetheless. Instead, sometime during production or possibly post-production, it was decided that the antagonists in the film wouldn't be aliens but would instead by members of the Eastern European mafia and the government itself – the problem is, a lot (if not all) of the footage was already shot and the producers decided to just work with what they had.

When the film begins, Marshall Lawson (Steven Seagal) and his crew are hanging out somewhere in Eastern Europe getting ready for a big mission. Lawson's boys want to go out for one last night on the town before getting down to business and so they head to a local nudie bar where none of the strippers take off their clothes. There, the three men pick up a mysterious looking girl who tells them that if they want to party with her they need to talk to Aroon (Adam Croasdell). He agrees to let the guys take her back to their hotel room and says that he'll send someone to collect later on.

Our three randy special operatives head back with lady-friend in tow and soon enough it looks like things are going to really start swinging when all of a sudden the girl busts out a strange, clear blade and slaughters each and every one of them. When Lawson and his right hand man, Dwayne (David Kennedy), go to the scene of the crime to investigate they find a vial of a strange narcotic. One thing leads to another and they bring Aroon in on charges. He tells Dwayne that the drug he's found is called CTX and that it's super addictive and does strange things to people. He also tells him that he and his fellow bad guys are doing to dump a bunch of it into the water supply. Lawson heads back to Majestic, the military base he's been working out of, only to find that his special access privileges have been revoked. It's almost as if someone with ties to the government itself is in on this CTX thing, so Lawson takes it upon himself to uncover who is responsible for what and to stop them before it's too late.

The rumor around this film is that the producers yanked it from Seagal and Keusch and changed the storyline quite drastically, going in and re-dubbing parts of the movie and adding material shot without their involvement. The end result is that this movie is a complete and total mess. It starts off interestingly enough and the opening kill scene in which the lady slaughters the three soldiers is well done and builds suspense early on but it's all down hill from there. Surprisingly enough, Seagal looks better here than he has in some time. We actually see him from the waste up more than once and he isn't hiding in the shadows all the time trying to hide his gut. It's hard to say who recommended that he take out the ponytail and rock the frizzy mullet that sits atop his mighty head in this movie but at least you can get some unintentional comedic value from that aspect of the movie. The real problem with the film has nothing to do with Seagal (who is as good as you'd expect him to be in the picture) but with the script and the editing. The film jumps around, it drops hints that the villains are supernatural or not of this earth (the CTX uses have strange eyes that flicker – probably a left over effect or idea from the original 'aliens' storyline) but then never goes anywhere with the ideas. By the half-way point if you're not confused by all of this you've probably stopped caring which is a shame as there are a few decent action scenes in here in the last third of the movie. It's just that getting through the middle part and making sense out of this mess is a real chore.


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 and some really, really mild macro blocking around smoky images like in the night club 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.


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 optional subtitles in English, Chinese and Korean.


The only extras on this DVD are trailers for other Sony straight to video action movies. Oddly enough, there is no trailer for the feature itself included here, which is rather annoying. If you consider static menus and chapter selection extra features, well, you get those too.

Final Thoughts:

Attack Force feels like its trying to go in two different directions at the same time but fails to really recognize either of them. The story is completely disjointed and as such, hard to get into. The action scenes aren't bad and Seagal fans will enjoy seeing the man kicking a bit of ass towards the end of the film but even by straight to video Seagal movie standards this one is still tough to get through despite an abundance of bloody fighting in the last twenty-minutes or so. Rent it.

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.

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