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Tough Talk: Steven Seagal’s The Perfect Weapon

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Apparently Big Steve Seagal is not content with ripping off his own titles with Out for a Kill, Contract to Kill, Urban Justice, and Mercenary for Justice. He has to steal the title off Jeff Speakman’s single claim to fame, Perfect Weapon.  This is a dystopic future, not so thrilling action thriller on a shoestring budget featuring a minimal Seagal effort with maximum silliness.  It’s got Big Steve as the villain with an evil goatee, so you know you want to check it out, right?


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The Perfect Weapon (2016)

In the year 2022, 2023, or 2029, the future has gone to hell.  I’m not sure what year it’s supposed to be honestly, because the futuristic font is so awful.  Man, you know your movie is incompetent when you can’t even read the subtitles.  The apocalypse happens through stock footage, satellite cameras, and giant heads on billboards, and the world is run by an Evil Corporation.  There’s some sort of resistance, and Big Steve Seagal is the Director of the evil corporation.

We start the nonsensical plot off as two guys with terrible hair are downloading some money on a crystal ball.  They are both killed by a silhouette on one of those Asian paper screens that are the bread and butter of low-budget movie sets.  Then in a plot twist, the titular The Perfect Weapon turns out to be some bad acting bald dude who’s a knockoff Jean-Claude Van Damme who spends the movie wordlessly killing people.  And he’s the HERO.  His code name is Condor and he’s haunted by flashbacks of his murdered blonde wife.

We’re now five minutes into the movie and it has already ripped off Blade Runner, Hitman, and The Matrix, what with the talking billboards on the sides of buildings, the bald, suit and tie look of the hitman, and slow motion shooting people.  Then the hitman kills a corrupt politician and the plot slows down a bit.

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Richard Tyson from B-Movie fame shows up as The Controller, slowly smoking a cigarette.  He’s mostly known for being the bad guy in Kindergarten Cop and over 100 of these direct to video actioners.  There’s a lot of plot discussion with plenty of  high-falluting jargon.  Condor doesn’t kill a prostitute because she looked like his dead wife, which means he disobeys orders and now he’s gone rogue from whatever secret hitman organization he belongs to.  He sort of gets captured, sort of escapes, then is knock-out darted by a mysterious blonde assassin.

Steven Seagal shows up as The Director to give Richard Tyson grief for The Condor not killing the hooker, I think.  They did re-capture him after all, so I’m not sure what Seagal is so peeved about.  Anyhow, Big Steve is wearing a black kimono and sits in bed with a barely clothed Japanese woman.  And he doesn’t get out of bed for the entire scene.  He gets to show off his Japanese language skills, saying something about the girl drawing him a bath.

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Man, Seagal is seriously getting lazy in these movies.  He “executive produces” this movie, so either he doesn’t give a crap about quality, he’s insane and actually thinks this is good, or he gets to pretend to be a producer in order to get him to act in these direct to video pieces of crap.  In this one, he doesn’t appear until 22 minutes in, not counting a quick flash of his fat, smirking visage on a Blade Runner style building billboard.

As is typical for these low-budget sci-fi movies, there’s a bunch of plot crap going on and none of it makes any sense.  Seagal and Tyson want Condor to take out someone.  There’s some sci-fi mumbo jumbo about re-conditioning his personality.  Is Condor a cyborg, a clone, or just an awesome assassin?  I don’t think even the screenwriters know for sure.  But we know for certain that he’s the Perfect Weapon because they repeat that a lot.  What it boils down to is Condor fights his way through an army of black-suited baddies in repetitive, poorly staged action sequences.   You know, the standard quick-cutty shaky cam close-ups of moves.  He gets captured and escapes too many times to count, and he gets the ever-loving crap kicked out of him the entire movie.  That’s really why Seagal wasn’t the good guy; he absolutely refuses to lose a fight, or even get hit once in any of his movies.

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Among the insults to intelligence is a scene where Condor completely blocks bullets from a high tech rifle with a human body.  Then Condor tosses a dude into a mirror that breaks about two seconds before the body actually hits it.

Then Vernon “I act for food” Wells shows up as an evil torturer who performs a pedicure and some dentistry with rusty pliers on the captured (again) Condor.  But Richard Tyson stops the torture before Vernon can take a razor to Condor’s pee-pee.  Vernon Wells assures him it is absolutely necessary.  Yeah, right, dude.

What’s really astonishing, and what makes this movie worth seeing, is Seagal’s performance.  He’s extra creepy basically playing himself.  He has a brief monologue while massaging a naked lady.  He gets the standard Seagal “I’m an amazing bad-ass” scene by brow-beating Richard Tyson with some low-impact seated aikido.

Then Seagal shows up to stop Condor, the alleged hero of the movie, by just beating the piss out of him without getting touched.  It’s as if he’s saying, “now who’s the Perfect Weapon, bitch?”  This is a strange and nearly incomprehensible movie.  But it really shows that Seagal could’ve prolonged his A List career by switching to playing a villain.  I’m convinced Seagal wanted Van Damme to be in this, and then after Van Damme read the script where the hero gets his nuts handed to him by the evil corporate overlord, he decided to pass.

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THE BOTTOM LINE

I’m continually amused and horrified at every successive Seagal film where he’s seemingly incapable of having decent action in his movies, and his complete lack of cohesive storytelling in those bad movies.

Now I’m spoiling the end of the movie because, in its own way, its just as mystifying as the end of Blade Runner, but you know, in its own TERRIBLE way.  So Seagal shows a video of the blonde chick being evil to convince Condor to murder her.  Seagal really has a thing against women, especially wives and ex-wives in his movies.  So Condor blows away his maybe wife.  Then in the very next scene, Condor goes back to Seagal’s paper screen room.  He sneak attacks him with a knife and “kills” Big Steve.  Then Condor wins a katana versus automatic weapons showdown with some evil security guards and I guess completes the revolution that hasn’t been explained at all, or even acknowledged, up until this point.  But you know, The Matrix has a chosen one, so why not The Perfect Weapon? 

Then lest you think that Seagal does the right thing and lays down for the hero of a movie, there is an amazing scene where ANOTHER Seagal checks on the dying Seagal.  He wasn’t really taken by surprise and killed. This was part of the plot all along.  “You’ve done a really wonderful job for me, brother.  I’m really proud of you and really grateful to you,” says Seagal.  Remember, this is Seagal saying this to himself, basically stroking his own ego.  Then Seagal stabs dying Seagal with a sword and dying Seagal says, “Avenge me, brother.”  And then we smash cut to rocking music and credits.  What the hell was that all about?  Even in a movie where Seagal is the Evil Corporate Stooge, he refuses to lose a fight or even let the movie not be about how he’s a total awesome bad-ass.  Truly astonishing and worth the price of admission.

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I am a professional writer living in Van Nuys, CA. I have spent the last 20 years honing my sarcasm writing for the internet. I have two cats, a dog and an imaginary hairless mole rat.

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