An action-packed thriller starring Steven Seagal about an ex-CIA agent?s quest to find his kidnapped daughter that leads him down a trail of intrigue, corruption, danger and betrayal. Two girls are kidnapped by a group of... more » Islamic fundamentalists known as the Abu Karaf. One girl is a senator?s daughter, who will be used as a political pawn. The other girl, Jessica, is seemingly inconsequential ? just in the wrong place at the wrong time. But what the Abu Karaf could not possibly know that they picked the wrong girl. Jessica?s father, Jake Hopper, is ex-CIA and will and will stop at nothing to get his daughter back.« less
"First of all, let me explain my 3-star rating. For Seagal flicks, I rate this one 3.5/5. For over-all action movies in this genre, I rate it about 2.75-3/5. As well all know the last half dozen or so Seagal flicks have lacked the penache his original outings did, but this one as is, is not bad. If this one would have been made earlier in Seagal's career, it may have been one of the top ones next to greats like Out for Justice, Marked for Death, or even one or both of the Under Siege movies.
This movie has it all for a Seagal flick. Gun play, martial arts, and wire-fu with slo-mo effects. Well, I normally write longer, more in-depth reviews, but I'm leaving this one short and sweet. But if you're debating on whether or not to pull the trigger on this Seagal flick, don't hesitate. It's a fairly good one for a change."
Bashful's DVD Summary #006
Brian Hiel | Kaiser, MO United States | 01/04/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Best:1) Steven Seagal gets back to his eastern martial arts roots.
2) The shoot-'em-up scenes were sweeping and included lots of people.
3) The girls held hostage weren't just whimpering kittens waiting to be rescued.
4) The acting, dialogue and editing was smoothly done.Worst:1) The hero characters seem to have supernatural abilities when it's cool to watch, then lose it whenever the filmmakers choose.
2) Seagal relied heavily on a stunt double for many of the fight scenes.
3) There are no special features on the disk.Recommendation:If you're a big action and/or martial arts fan, you'll definitely want to see this one at least once. If you often rewatch movies like this, you'll want to buy it. The lack of any special features, however, is a big factor in deciding that the going price may be too high for some people."
A good review for a change
N. Byers | Hattiesburg, MS USA | 07/15/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I have read reviews about Seagal and his movies and I don't see anything good mentioned. His movies never claimed to be "high art" or have a lot a lot of special effects. You get plain, solid action. I really like Belly of the Beast. Steven was very good.In the belly of the beast he is unrelenting in getting his daughter back. Review of his movies talk about Seagal's bad acting and that is not the case in this movie. The girl who is his daughter might be guilty of bad acting but not Seagal. Judging but his reviews everyone thinks he sucks. If he does why do you keep going back and watching the movies? I say if you can't write a decent, fair review of Seagal and his movies then just dont' bother to rent or buy them. As for me I really like them and I hope he contines to make more even if they are "straight to dvd"."
King Of The Pudge
Arthur Kicker | Your Mom's House | 01/28/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Nowadays, Steven Seagal seems to be eating a lot and doesn't seem to be working out much but still sees fit to make movies. At least this time, Lord Steven hooked up with a killer director, Hong Kong's own Ching Siu Tung('Naked Weapon', 'Duel To The Death'), and together they've made a pretty good little action movie.When I say that its good, you have to get by the fact that Stevie is completely out of shape, talks in a different voice during every scene, and at one point in the movie rummages through a refrigerator. Ching Siu Tung's action is beautifully done(if you can suspend disbelief as Stevie does a few spinning jump kicks high in the air when we all know that the man can't get more than two inches off the ground these days)and the special effects are practically seamless and amazingly done for lower budget picture such as this. There is some cool stuff done with bullets and arrows, you'll know what I mean when you see it.Top-notch action from one of the world's best action directors, a decent if generic plot, and a whole lot of killing make for a nice little gem of a straight-to-dvd movie, despite Seagal's attempts to sabotage the proceedings."
Not bad for later stage Seagal
Jeffrey Leach | Omaha, NE USA | 10/04/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In the late 1980s and early 1990's, it looked as though Seagal would join the ranks of Hollywood's top action stars. You would hear his name in the same sentence with Arnie and Stallone, no small feat indeed. And to a large degree, Seagal's films deserved the comparison. "Under Siege" was a winner, as were "Hard to Kill" and "Above the Law." The actor's greatest appeal isn't hard to fathom; Seagal embraced a brutal form of martial arts that, at least onscreen, allowed him to slap down thugs, break bones, and wreak massive havoc without batting an eye. Literally, Seagal would stand in place and put down one goon after the other with an ease that looked not only natural but also realistic. I still enjoy watching that pool room scene where Seagal's character used pool cues, billiard balls, and whatever else he could lay his hands on to put out the trash. Alas, how the mighty have fallen. The early 1990s may as well be ancient history as far as Steven Seagal is concerned. Although he's still capable of making a few moderately entertaining films, which "Belly of the Beast" ultimately is, far too often we're seeing movies like "The Foreigner" and "Ticker."
Seagal plays international man of mystery Jake Hopper, a guy who used to work for the CIA, the DEA, the FBI, or a dozen other intelligence gathering agencies--take your pick. As the movie opens, we see Hopper and his partner Sunti (Byron Mann) setting up a bunch of drug dealers in Thailand. Something goes wrong, probably a double cross, and the two agents must fight their way out of the building. In the process, Sunti accidentally kills a mother holding her infant child. He's so torn up over the incident that he goes off to join a Buddhist order, presumably leaving Hopper partnerless and a little lonely. Flash forward ten or so years. Hopper now works as a freelance operative, the sort of guy the agencies come to when they need a safe broken into. The only thing that matters to our hero is his lovely daughter Jessica (Sarah Lane), but tranquility shatters when a radical Islamic terrorist cell called the Abu Karaf abducts Jessica and a Senator's daughter. Abu Karaf sends a videotape of the two girls to the government, threatening to kill them if the authorities refuse to release a few prisoners. Predictably, Jake Hopper vows revenge for this horrible injustice. He goes on a series of rampages throughout the Far East in an effort to find his daughter.
Hopper suspects that someone other than the Abu Karaf is behind the kidnapping of his daughter, so he brings back Sunti from the Buddhist sabbatical for back up. The two men run into all sorts of problems. On a mission to track the whereabouts of the Abu Karaf, Hopper and Sunti touch off a gang war during an arms deal turned suddenly bad. Then there is a serious sword fight with a bunch of ninja type thugs in a warehouse. Hopper learns that General Jantapan (Tom Wu) and a cross dressing martial arts expert are the ones responsible for his current troubles, so he heads after them with guns blazing. All the while, Jake Hopper presents the American authorities with a dilemma. Our government is running an operation to free the girls, but Hopper keeps getting in the way. The conclusion to the film looks like it came right out of "The Matrix," as Seagal's character battles for his daughter's life. There are super slow motion arrows and bullets whizzing through the air, bodies suspended in mid jump, millions of rounds of ammunition expended, and even shell casings clattering on the pavement. We even get some sort of super magic fight between a group of Buddhist monks and some Hindu witchdoctor. Sure it sounds ridiculous, but it is entertaining.
Compared to Seagal's dreckfest "The Foreigner," "Belly for the Beast" is an Oscar candidate. The performances aren't terrible, the action is steady and decently choreographed throughout, and the settings look authentic. Still, I couldn't help but notice a few problems. One concerned the rapidly expanding bulk of Steven Seagal. Fans of the man have long commented on his deteriorating physique, and this problem is fully apparent in the movie. At one point, Seagal's character slides along the floor in order to stay out of sight during a burglary. I laughed heartily at both the expression on his face and the sneaking suspicion that someone just off frame was pulling him on a wire. And that scene where he takes a bottle of water out of the refrigerator! Oh brother! Seagal looked like a television repairman lumbering around the house. Another problem centers on some of the illogical plot problems. For instance, why did the CIA guy help Hopper get out of jail? His orders were to keep Seagal's character out of the way, which a short stint in the stir would have accomplished. But there's the CIA guy watching him walk off. It probably has something to do with Hopper being too cool to keep under lock and key because he's SEAGAL. Hear him roar!
If you're interested, the extras on the disc consist of a bunch of trailers for films like "Returner," "The Foreigner," "Belly of the Beast," and "Out for a Kill." While this film cannot compare to early Steven Seagal actioners, it does stand on its own as a rather decent flick. It's derivative, full of action film cliches, and tries to pass off an overweight fifty year old as a spry intelligence operative full of take no prisoners bravado, but what else were you expecting? By the way, did you hear they are thinking about making "Under Siege 3"? Hopefully, Seagal will shed some pounds before starring in that one.