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Wesley Snipes is back, and ... does anyone really even care anymore?
All snark aside, it seems that Mr. Snipes is slowly settling into the Steven Seagal-ish phase of his career -- he spends much of his time in Romania these days, getting paid fairly well to churn out generic action thrillers that exist only to give the movie geeks something to chuckle over as they wander through the video store.
I take no delight in reporting the downswing of Mr. Snipes and his movie career; there was a point when I considered myself a huge fan of Wesley's. But let's be fair here: Putting aside any movie that has the word Blade in the title, Wesley's past ten years looks a lot like this: The Fan, Murder at 1600, One Night Stand, U.S. Marshals, Futuresport, The Art of War, Liberty Stands Still, ZigZag, Undisputed, and Unstoppable. And now 7 Seconds, a movie that feels like not much more than a project that Jean-Claude Van Damme passed on because he was feeling lazy that week.
The plot, what little and effortlessly confusing plot there is, centers on an allegedly hard-nosed-yet-charming master thief (and former Special Forces soldier, of course) who inadvertently steals a priceless Van Gogh painting -- and the small handful of car chases that such an accidental theft will inevitably cause in the streets of Romania.
I will say one thing in the defense of 7 Seconds: The first half hour is pretty much swollen with hyper-kinetic and outlandish action -- if you can ignore the fact that you never have a clear indication as to A) who's chasing whom, B) which folks are the good guys, and C) precisely why you should care if Stooge D gets shot while Henchman F gets away clean.
(And someone needs to remind director Simon Fellows that "when in doubt, cut to a different angle every 2.3 seconds" is not a golden rule of filmmaking. And for good reason.)
Immediately following the action-heavy introduction, we're subjected to an interminable series of poorly written plot divergences about who stole what, who's working for whom, how this guy might or might not have double-crossed the other, and why the military police have a stake in all this nonsense.
Frankly none of it makes a lick of sense ... not that you're renting a direct-to-video action flick for the intricate plot threads and well-rounded characterizations. Remove all of the rambling flashbacks, circuitous plot blatherings, and the forced banter between Snipes and Brit babe Tamzin Outhwaite, and you're looking at a move that'd be 34 minutes of choppily edited car chases and a few unconvincing bouts of martial arts mayhem.
If that's the sort of thing that's worthy of your 4-dollar rental expenditure, then feel free to give 7 Seconds a spin. Frankly I'd recommend you just stick with one of the first two Blade movies. But I also miss the action-free Wesley Snipes; the guy who truly impressed me in New Jack City, Jungle Fever, and Major League.
But I assume that guy's not around anymore, and it's pretty disappointing to see the present-day Wesley Snipes as he slowly transforms into the next king of DTV schlock.
Video: Widescreen (1.85:1) anamorphic, which looks considerably better than the movie probably deserves.
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English. Optional English subtitles are available.
Extras: A bunch of trailers for other Sony releases: Full Throttle, Layer Cake, Rescue Me, and xXx: Director's Cut
Based on the applicable movies I've seen thus far, it seems that all you need to make an action movie in Romania is an aging star, a small fistful of cash, and a lot of cars that you're willing to destroy. To the hardcore Wesley Snipes fans out there, I can offer only the slightest recommendation of Rent It -- and my deepest sympathies.