Throwback Thursday Review: “Under Siege” (1992)



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Posted May 19, 2016 by

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I wasn’t allowed to watch many R rated movies, as a kid. Once in a while, my parents would fold and let me bask in the glow of an R rated feature, as long as they had already seen it. Their only criteria (mostly my Mom’s criteria… my Dad didn’t really care what I watched) was that there wasn’t a crazy amount of swearing and that the film in question contained absolutely NO SEX! That being the case, my best shot at watching a true blue rated R flick was usually something along the lines of innocently asking to stay the night at an aunt or uncle’s place, under the guise of playing with my cousins, and convincing said aunt or uncle to rent a forbidden film for me. This happened on a decent number of occasions, until the fateful night I risked everything and decided on letting my brother Steven watch an R rated movie (True Lies) with me at our aunt Lisa’s place. He, of course, immediately told my mother what I had done, and I was never allowed to stay the night at aunt Lisa’s again.

under siege 3Before that awful night, though, was another night. A magical night. A night when my uncle John let me watch “Under Siege” with him. We popped some popcorn, settled in to our sides of the couch, and pressed play on the most successful film of Steven Seagal’s $5 DVD bargain bin filled career. Now… 11 year old me was blown away by “Under Siege”! It was a movie about Tommy Lee Jones and a cross-dressing Gary Busey (and about 30 trained soldiers) taking over the USS Missouri and attempting to sell it’s missile cache to… someone. We never quite know who, but it doesn’t matter. What mattered to me was watching Steven Seagal, as the ships cook/ ex-Navy seal kick ass! He tears though bad guy after bad guy, breaking bones, ripping out throats, and gouging out eyes with absolutely no sign of hesitation or remorse. Suddenly I didn’t give a flying fart about “Karate Kid” or “3 Ninjas” (which had come out earlier that same year). I wanted more of THIS kind of action. What else had I been deprived of, by my parents’ tyrannical rules? And, just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, there was Erika Eleniak… topless! That’s right! For about five seconds, my eleven year old, innocent eyes beheld the first (at least to my recognition) female breasts I had ever seen! I was a changed man, a more manly man. After that, the rest of the movie was pretty much a blank. I was more concerned with figuring out ways to get my uncle to rewind it to the birthday cake scene, than I was with the rest of the action scenes (which feature a hilariously bad fight between Jones and Seagal, that resembles a slap happy girl fight). Sadly, though, I didn’t get to see that glorious scene again.

under siege mainIn fact, I never watched “Under Siege” again, until today. Partly because watching Miss Eleniak dance out of that cake again would be like awkwardly catching up with an old girlfriend. Also, because I knew it was nowhere near as good as 11 year old me thought it was. I was right. It’s not, but that is okay. I still had fun watching skinny Seagal go John McClain on leathered out, over the top Tommy Lee Jones and his thugs.I even still admired Erika Eleniak’s physique (although her acting leaves something to be desired). 35 year old me would tell my younger self that, although “Under Siege”” is fun in it’s own, silly ripoff of “Die Hard” meets “Home Alone” way, there would be much MUCH better action films in the future. There would be things like “Run, Lola, Run”, and “The Raid”.

For what it is though, and what it meant to me as a young man, I have a soft spot for “Under Siege”. It is far from perfect, but damn it, it is entertaining to this day. Think I’m crazy? Watch it and tell me I’m wrong!




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