"September 13th 2005 heralded the release of 'Today You Die', Lord Steven Seagal's latest offering to his mass of devout followers. The movie, before its release, got a bit of a reputation due to the fact that the Lord was consistently late to set, usually left early, constantly changed the script, actors, etc. I also believe that Seagal is actually getting sued for his Lordly antics.
'Today You Die' has an inconceivable plot, but I will do my best: The Lordage is an ex-thief trying to go straight so he picks up a job as an armored car driver, only he's setup by some criminal mastermind named Max to take the fall for the robbery of the armored car. But somehow or other(its never really explained), the Lord does what the Lord does and ends up with the $20 million that Max was supposed to have stolen. The Lord is captured by the police and sent to prison(with no trial mind you). There he meets his apparently new best friend Ice(former Naughty By Nature rapper Treach in a truly Oscar-caliber performance). Well, the Lord and his new bosom buddy break out of prison. Of course the evil gangsters want the money that the Lord stole from them back. But Seagal can't let that happen. Its not really about the money, but more of a moral principle-type issue for him.
Now that is a much more coherent outline of what actually happens in 'Today You Die'. There's actually a whole lot more that I left out: Seagal's girlfriend's psychic visions which mean absolutely nothing to the film, the PMSing female cop who puts him in prison and then becomes his best buddy for no apparent reason once he breaks out, the second bad guy in the film that has nothing to do with the evil Max, and the little girl at the end of the movie who nevers appears or is even mentioned in the entire film but to Seagal apparently has some important connection . This movie makes no sense at all. None.
Now, onto the Lordage: he actually looks as if he's slimmed down a bit(maybe dropping from 350 pounds to around 320). His hair is disguistingly nappy and he doesn't even bother ponytailing it; it just hangs limply over his collar in total mullet fashion. There are a couple bright spots here though: #1) there's minimal dubbing of the Lord's voice by someone else(see 'Out Of Reach' or 'Submerged' for some examples of how not to dub someone's voice)and #2) Seagal rocks a totally sweet brown pleather coat for about half the film.
With the film's excessive use of stock footage from other direct-to-DVD films, overly obvious use of a stunt double for Seagal(even in situations where no stunts are involved), horrible editing, and a completely nonsensical and confusing plot 'Today You Die' is easily Seagal's laziest film to date.
I'd tell you to save your time and skip it, but every other Seagal fan out there like me will go buy 'Today You Die' and watch it anyway. So if you must watch it, there are only three amusing things to look for: Seagal's sweet pleather jacket, the Lord talking Jive to his new black buddy, and Seagal swinging on a chandolier. Hilarious.
I love the Lord and would give him my first born, but why does he torture me with filth like this so often?"
I enjoyed this movie
Bonnie L. Pitts | 10/20/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This movie was good all the way through, from the start to the end. The plot was easy to follow. I do not rent or buy movies to sit back and try to be a movie critic. This movie is well done. Just sit back and enjoy. By the way the little girl that you see at the end of the movie also appear at the start of the movie."
Seagal Fans Treat
Michael D. Blatt | HAMMONDSPORT, NY USA | 07/10/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"OK so he always wears an overcoat or jacket (and probably a girdle underneath) but for fans this movie is fun.
That's all I have to say - it gets your attention and the Aikido is passable."
A Good Day Nonetheless
Mike Schorn | APO, AE United States | 05/18/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Ironic: About twelve minutes into the film, Steven Seagal asks one of the film's villains "Do I look sleepy?" Not a minute later, his girlfriend asks him "Why are you whispering?" Feel free to chuckle.
Seagal's 22nd action feature stars him as a virtuous thief who steals from rich criminals to give to the poor. Upon the urging of his pseudo-psychic girlfriend (Mari Morrow, Nikita Blues), he tries to go clean and takes a truck-driving job from a shady fellow (Kevin Tighe, What's Eating Gilbert Grape) but is double-crossed when it turns out that the job is a heist. Sent to prison, he quickly buddies up with inmate Ice Kool (Anthony "Treach" Criss, Love and a Bullet), breaks out, and pursues his turncoat-of-a-boss amidst a scene of police corruption.
As bad as Steven Seagal's DTV outings have been, "Today You Die" is a surprisingly decent bit of action that, at times, reminded me of the fun-yet-brainless '80s-'90s action flicks of yesterday. Of course, there is no way to turn back the hands of time and yes, Seagal still looks overweight, there is some dubbing of his voice, and the extended storyline - with its truly useless ghost-story tangents and plotholes - are silly enough to kill off a few brain cells. But while "Today" doesn't match Urban Justice for style, it's better than the likes of The Foreigneror Attack Forceby leaps and bounds for choosing to focus on fun rather than pretending to be intelligent. The best example of this is probably the car chase near the beginning of the film: though it steals footage from Top of the World, it's fast-paced, exciting, well-shot, and has a few one-liners thrown in for good measure to make it one of the best classical adrenaline scenes Seagal had been involved in for a while. In addition, the handful of fight scenes and shootouts are satisfactory as well. Seagal vs. bodyguards near the beginning of the movie and the gang confrontation close to the end are particularly attention-worthy.
The supporting cast also works well: the aforementioned names are alert and add to the plot, with Treach being my personal favorite of the rappers-turned-costars Seagal has had. Sarah Buxton (Devil's Highway) and Nick Mancuso (returning from both Under Siege movies) also do well as respective good & bad cops. Again, the messiness of some of the subplots have real potential to drag the movie down for untolerant fans: few examples better showcase the convoluted writing process of Seagal's DTV pictures as the inclusion of this movie's spiritual/magic concept that has absolutely no relevance to the story and goes absolutely nowhere...but if you're willing to take the overall decency of this picture with a grain of salt, it can be an interesting addition rather than a maddening distraction. Fans thirsty enough for something halfway serviceable from the man's DTV career should find "Today You Die" a passably enjoyable bit of violent fluff."
One of Seagal's Best DTV Movies
Nico Toscani | Virginia Beach, VA | 04/28/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of Seagal's better DTV titles. It features some cool action sequences and tons of classic Steven Seagal charm. He and Treach make for a particularly fun pairing and play off each other nicely. Unlike many of Seagal's earlier DTV movies, this one gives him plenty of nice character moments. The tone of the movie is much more fun and in keeping with some of his best movies like Hard to Kill and Out for Justice. If you are a fan of Steven Seagal as a personality, then you will really enjoy this movie. I give a lot of credit to the director Don E. Fauntleroy. He also directed Seagal's very best DTV movie, Urban Justice. He knows how to stage a nice action sequence and use Seagal correctly. I hope they make more movies together in the future!"