Unconvincing political fear
Jacques COULARDEAU | OLLIERGUES France | 02/02/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A small British-Polish thriller that exploits the common fear that lives and thrives in Europe. It is based on two associated lines of menace. On one side the problem of the numerous orphans in Eastern European countries and there illegal immigration into Europe. These orphans are little by little coming out but not through the normal official gate and highway but through some illegal procedure that transforms them into some kind of slaves. The second line is that of prostitution. In this case only girls are concerned, hence only female prostitution is considered. These two lines associate the fear of illegal immigrants, of national identity and its erosion in front of European integration and the moral fear or disgust at prostitution in general and at turning young teenage girls into prostitutes in particular. Then the involvement of some Turkish nationals is neither clear nor necessary but it corresponds to the desire to add an anti-Moslem touch and to fight against a possible integration of Turkey into Europe, a perspective many in Europe are against, though without any convincing arguments. In other words this film is more governed by European interest than anything else, and I mean political interests in this case. That is a real handicap because then the thrill is a lot less powerful and the story is a lot less convincing. The final escape of the two concerned children (what about all the others involved in the traffic in the film?) to the USA is even more surprising. What do Americans have to do with European prostitution?
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris Dauphine, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne & University Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines
Worth Reaching For
Mike Schorn | APO, AE United States | 07/08/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I just finished watching "Out Of Reach", and unlike the easily-definable DTV hits and misses like Urban Justice and Submerged, I'm thoroughly undecided about whether or not I like the movie or not. Sure, it's nowhere near the quality of Steven Seagal's theatrical work, but it fails to suck a'la Out for a Kill. It's got plenty of unlikable attributes that would ruin any other film, but the question that must be considered for all Seagal-starring flicks is whether or not its plusses outweigh its negatives. Let's look at it in an orderly fashion; maybe coming to a conclusion that way will be easier.
Story: Seagal is a reclusive ex-agent spending his time tending to injured woodland animals and writing to his pen-pal, 13-year-old Polish orphan Irena (Ida Nowakowska). When the girl is kidnapped by an international human trafficking ring, Seagal kicks butt to get her back.
Now that Liam Neeson's "Taken" has been released, the story will be considered old-hat but nonetheless proves serviceable. While some of the chance happenings border on the ludicrous, the plot's not bogged down by endless sub-tangents and convolution. Straight-arrow is good for Seagal, even if you have to bend reality to keep it that way.
Acting: Fans know not to expect a lot from Seagal and they shouldn't change this prejudice for this one. Steven's his same old mumbly self but bad-guy Matt Schulze (The Transporter) bests him for over-the-top hamminess...in a bad way. The rest of the cast is pretty acceptable, though: hero cop Agnieszka Wagner ("Thomas the Falconer") and baddie agent Robbie Gee ("Underworld") don't discredit themselves, and young Ida Nowakowska is pretty good for a Polish girl reading and English script (her friend Jan Plazalski, on the other hand, could be the best child actor in the world but it wouldn't show through the completely weirdo role that was written for him).
Action: Most of the hand-to-hand action is quick and one-sided, but the choreography is fine and Seagal didn't call in too many stunt doubles this time around. A couple of solid gunfights distract from the lack of car chases. As a treat, the final showdown between Seagal and Schulze is a swordfight in a courtyard: it's nowhere near as fast-paced, lengthy, or exciting as the ones in Marked for Death and Into the Sun, but is undeniably styled like a John Woo scene and therefore art-y enough to be appreciated.
Production: The editing is solid and without obvious glitches, though a few too many scenes feature off-screen voiceovers. Even worse, about a third of Seagal's dialogue is dubbed by another actor - one that sounds absolutely nothing like him - as well as a few of Matt Schulze's lines.
I think I'm warming up to the movie, but purely because it's a Seagalian feature. Non-fans of his don't even need to think about checking this one out. The use of the very real crime of human trafficking as a plot device is realistic without being exploitive and is generally handled very well by director Po-Chih Leong (Immortality). Seagal's more likeable in this film than he had been recently, by way of his connection to the young girl via secret codes he taught her. The lengthy dubbing really gets on your nerves before long, though, and is probably the major reason why many perople don't approve of this one. In short, there are most definitely better DTV titles that our hero has done, but even if it's at the bottom of the "acceptable" rung, "Out Of Reach" fails to fall into the category of Seagal's bad movies. Fans will no doubt remain divided in opinion, but for what it's worth, it's staying on my shelf."
Out of sight, out of mind
Master Killer | Island of Misfit Toys, USA | 03/05/2010
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of two Steven Seagal movies, from around the same time, that I missed seeing when they first came out, I don't know if there were too many Seagal movies to keep track of at the time, or did they just all sound so familar that I thought I had seen them. Also, at this time Steve was making some of the worst crap of his once glorious career, so I wasn't always first in line to see his new flick, in fact I was becomming somewhat embarressed by the great one, and didn't want to see him in such failures. Well, no mater what the cause, six years later I got a hold of Out of Reach, slaped in the DVD and prepared for the worst. Luckily, it's not his worst, nor anything even close to being good, but as the saying might go, it's not half bad, well actually, a little more than half bad.
Seagal stars as a, well I'm not sure, we'll call him a mystery man. He lives in the forest, loves the wildlife, and correspondes with a 13 year-old ploish orphan girl. When she turns 14, she will be carted away from the orphanage, in the care of human traffickers, Seagal gets wind of this, though I'm not sure how, and hops the next plane out. Once in Poland, he must crack skulls, bust limbs, make friends with an orphan pickpocket boy, hook up with a hot Polish policewoman, and duel to the death (with swords) with the bad guy. All in ninety minutes work for Seagal.
The action is plentiful enough to keep the movie exiting and the viewer watching. The final battle with villian Matt Schulze, this is the swordfight, is actually fairly awesome. For Seagal die hards, but not necessarily anyone else. It should be noted that this is the first of Seagal's films where a large share of his dialogue has been dubbed by another actor, I don't know if it's just that nobody can due an impression of Seagal, or Sony Home Entertainment just didn't give a flying monkey pooh about it, but these "actors" never sound even remotley like Steve."