'Code of Honor': Film Review

Courtesy of Lionsgate
Action, AARP style.
5/6/2016

Steven Seagal stars, but just barely, in his latest action vehicle.

It's hard to imagine that there are still enough Steven Seagal fans out there to make his movies profitable, but then again, action movie fans aren't very picky about their late night VOD fare while binging on booze and pizza. The latest effort from the bloated, aging star is Michael Winnick's thriller as bland as its title. Be warned, though, that like so many recent Bruce Willis vehicles, the presumed leading man of Code of Honor is more of a supporting player, with the less marketable Craig Sheffer receiving the lion's share of screen time.

Demonstrating his character's badass credentials by mowing down a dozen bad guys in the opening scene alone, Seagal plays Robert Sikes, a former special-ops operative (natch) who has become a crime-fighting vigilante after being emotionally traumatized by the random drive-by killing of his wife and son. Of course, we don't actually get to see that horrific event or his reaction to it, because that would require, you know, acting.

The cops don't seem terribly upset about Sikes' killing spree, with one commenting, "Are we looking for someone to arrest or thank?" The sole exception is the weathered Detective Peterson (Louis Mandylor), whose perpetual hangdog expression signifies he's been on the job for way too long.

Also pursuing Sikes is his former protege William Porter (Sheffer), who warns Peterson and his colleagues about the incredibly formidable figure they're up against.

"He's trained to blend into any city, any terrain," Porter ominously informs them, although the massive, goateed Seagal, his jet black hair resembling Astroturf, doesn't exactly register as inconspicuous. Speaking his mercifully few lines in an indeterminate accent apparently meant to sound Southern, he looks like he can barely move. In his one hand-to-hand combat scene, he mostly flails his arms about wildly, with a considerably more lithe body double taking his place in silhouette.

There's nary a single B-action movie cliche missed, from the obligatory strip club scene to the star walking away from an explosion in slow-motion to the single mom stripper (Helena Mattsson) and her adorable tyke to the vicious mob boss (James Russo) who takes matters into his own hands. There's even a television news reporter so smarmy he wears sunglasses while filing his dispatches (no points for guessing correctly how he ends up). And the major plot twist at the end is as derivative as it is ridiculous.

Production: Premiere Entertainment Group, Steamroller Productions

Distributor: Lionsgate

Cast: Steven Seagal, Craig Sheffer, Louis Mandylor, Helena Mattsson, James Russo, Griff Furst, Rafael Petardi, Michael Flynn, R.D. Call

Director/screenwriter: Michael Winnick

Producer: Ryan Noto

Executive producers: Steven Seagal, Elias Axume, Jack Campbell, Ryan Noto, Tony Piantedosi, Ron Gell, Robert Ferretti

Director of photography: Anthony J. Rickert-Epstein

Production designer: Diane Millett

Editor: Robert A. Ferretti

Composer: Michael John Mollo

Casting: Mary Jo Slater, Jeff Johnson

Rated R, 106 minutes

 

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