the problem with reading movie books is that some of them are so well written that it makes you want to see the movies. it’s especially bad when it’s a book on bad movies, or movies that you didn’t know you wanted to see. after reading vern’s seagalogy, which is a thoroughly entertaining book, i decided to delve deeper into, well, seagalogy, and today you die happens to be both in the book and on netflix instant. the last seagal movie i saw, like most people, was probably under siege 2: dark territory.
today you die came out in 2005, one of seagal’s 4 direct-to-video movies that year. he plays harlan banks, a cat burglar trying to go straight, framed, incarcerated, makes some black friends, and gets his revenge. but before all that, his (african-american) girlfriend has bad dreams and the opening credit is set to images of tarot card reading while bluesy lethal weapon-esque music plays. a comfort to every late 80s early 90s action fan. the movie itself is a throwback to that period.
if you’re wondering how catlike seagal is, don’t worry. apparently, that handgliding scene in the beginning of the movie is actually from a jean claude van damme direct-to-video movie called the order, and was probably jcvd’s stunt double. but once inside the surprisingly low ceiling penthhouse, seagal kicks some ass, with swords on hand. people make fun of his ponytail but i have to say, it never works against a movie, until now. his hair in this scene make it seems like he’s using cameron diaz’s hairgel from there’s something about mary. or maybe it’s foreshadowing of his prison sentence.
his first straight job is security guard for a brink type service in vegas. on the way there, he drove by a children hospital that’s “GOING OUT OF BUSINESS.” first day on the job, we know something’s going to go wrong because he’s wearing whatever seagal’s wearing that day and everyone else on the job is wearing uniforms. oh, and the guy who hired him is the bad guy in the movie. this plan-gone-wrong scene blew some shit up pretty good. it is also footages from another movie. seagal is only the driver. the movie’s kinda confusing in regard to the money and the truck.
he refuses to talk, gets thrown in prison, makes black friend named ice cool(treach from naughty by nature, who’s definitely down with o.p.p., especially if said p. is cash). being half past dead with exit wounds, he gets revenge on the above mentioned bad guy who framed him in the first place.
the prison scenes in the movie also contains footages from another movie: undisputed.
having not seen any seagal movies since under siege 2: dark territory, i have to say, despite all of the above, it’s pretty entertaining. the tarot/bad dreams stuff were never explained. there seems to be some supernatural elements and subplots that were edited out. there were definitely some unintentionally funny stuff in it (especially when seagal talks “urban”). but at the same time, there are scenes of seagal kicking ass, and actually intentionally funny stuff. the setup and prison scenes were pretty slow and boring, but once seagal and treach, who are less grating than most rapper/action star combo, got together, it’s actually a pretty entertaining buddy movie. the worst thing about it is actually the title, not only does it makes sound like all other seagal three words movie title, it also commits the sin of having someone saying the title out loud. worse even, the words aren’t even spoken by seagal in the movie. also, despite what plot summaries and dvd tagline would have you believe, only parts of the movie seems to take place in vegas. there’s no heist scenes, and the damages done to vegas doesn’t seem to be that major.
p.s. that girl from kick-ass plays a patient from the “GOING OUT OF BUSINESS” children hospital. she seems to have some sort of importance judging from the ending scenes, but the movie doesn’t seem to care to tell us who she is or what she means.