Born to Raise Hell DVD Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Feature 7.0
Video 9.0
Audio 7.0
Special Features   0.0
Total 6.5
Distributor: Sony
Running Time: 91
Classification:
MA15+
Reviewer: Simon Black

6.5


Born to Raise Hell
(2011)

Bobby Samuels (the always-expanding Steven Seagal) is an Interpol agent posted in Romania as part of the ‘International Drug Task Force,’ targeting those who traffic guns and narcotics throughout Europe.  Via a series of informants and bloody operations Samuels learns of a brutal street war being fought between the local Gypsy and Russian crime syndicates, and he must navigate a morass of corruption, duplicity and violence in his efforts to bring down the main players.

Born to Raise Hell manages to pack more gunplay into its 90 minute runtime than would seem humanly possible and barely five minutes is allowed to elapse between any sort of physical mayhem; by this point Seagal knows what his fans want, and he knows how to deliver it.  The script was also penned by Seagal, and in addition to the usual snippets of dimestore psychology (‘evil resides in every man’) features some fairly profane, straight to the point and unintentionally funny rejoinders, as in this early exchange: 

Bad guy: Where’s your warrant?

Seagal: (pointing to his shotgun) Here’s my warrant, bitch. 

Perhaps because he wrote it himself and isn’t attempting a Russian accent Seagal actually seems quite at home with his dialogue for once, though he still sounds strangely like a cross between a tired redneck and a 1970s pimp.  When his wife dares to complain that he hasn’t called her for two weeks, Seagal hangs up in disgust and mutters ‘Belie dat shit?’ to no one in particular.  More pleasingly, not to say shockingly, the film is actually intentionally funny on a number of occasions, as when a criminal attempts a quick psychoanalysis of Samuels’ fellow officers or informs his partner he won’t make it through the next drug bust, as the sidekick is always killed.  The reply: ‘You watch too many American movies.’  

The film won’t win any praise from the lucrative ‘staunch feminist’ demographic; the women in Born to Raise Hell are mostly nags, strippers, gangsters molls or rape victims, or occasionally all four.  At one point the immortal phrase ‘bend over and turn around, bitch’ is uttered before a whimpering hottie receives a sound slap to the face.  Then again I don’t think Seagal writes these sort of movies for Gloria Steinem and her ilk, he writes them for men, real men like you and I, who know that every so often a dame steps out of line and needs to be put back in her place.  In this and in every other relevant regard his latest outing is an unqualified success; it’s violent, bombastic, highly unrealistic, sexist and wildly entertaining, everything a Seagal film should be. 

Audio & Video

Aside from the odd awkward cutaway and the like the cinematography is excellent.  Every shot is imbued with plenty of movement and energy, the fight sequences are frenetic and expertly choreographed (unsurprising as Director Lauro Chartrand is a former stuntman of some renown) and even the opening title sequences feature a deceptively poetic montage of a money counter operating at various speeds.  It’s rare for a Seagal film to feature such attention to detail, and between them Chartrand and Director of Photography Eric Goldstein make the film appear many times more expensive than its modest $10 million budget would suggest.  The anamorphic 16:9 widescreen transfer is impeccable and the 5.1 surround soundtrack is also fairly robust, though the music borders on the generic, the accents throughout (much like the acting) are variable, and as ever you have to cup a hand around your ear to hear some of Seagal’s more sotto voce exchanges. 

Special Features

None, the local release is bare bones and doesn’t even feature the usual theatrical trailer.






 
 



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