Go figure: Under Siege 2 was driven purely by contractual obligation. It's also superior to Seagal's previous effort, On Deadly Ground, an abomination he also directed and produced.
Being the most successful Seagal film at the time (and subsequently, ever) Under Siege could not get away without a sequel. The producers follow a tried and true method: they just make the same exact movie all over again. Once again, Seagal dispatches a team of highly trained yet bumbling terrorists. Instead of a battleship it's a massive train that gets taken over by terrorists with a master plan to kill a lot of people and make a lot of money. In other words, Die Hard on a train. Eric Bogossian plays yet another insane former CIA resource running amok, having stolen a top-secret satellite thingee that can fire laser beams from space and cause earthquakes. Or something like that.
It's up to Seagal, as Casey Ryback (former Navy SEAL who, according to the niece/hostage whom with he's travelling, has 'medals so secret he can't show to them anybody') to bump off the terrorists one by one. Dressed entirely in black in order to hide his expanding waistline, Seagal does it all: shoots, stabs, blows up, punches, kicks and maims a team of bad guys led by Everitt McGill, another arch bad guy who actually wants to fight Seagal because 'he scares me'. Seagal himself gets shot, falls off a train, falls off a cliff, and outruns a speeding train. He even gets in a plug for the first PDA, the Apple Newton, which saves the day while Seagal breaks necks and shoots ears off.
I enjoyed this one immensely. Eric Bogossian is perfect as the loony toons leader of the pack, another guy who plans to blow up half of America for a lot of money (not wondering what his money would be worth after that).
Seagal utters about 100 words in this film, another direct correlation to the quality of the film. The less Seagal says, the better. The more bones he's breaking, baddies he's shooting, and bombs he's making out of the contents of a wet bar, the better. No preaching, no Zen philosophy. At one point he tells his sidekick, a scared porter hiding in the luggage car, "I'm gonna get through my bag of tricks, and we are going to rescue those hostages." Then he stares into the distance, doing that crazy eyebrow thing in what is supposed to represent grim determination in the face of grave danger.
Whatever. The movie is brisk at under 100 minutes, the direction is sharp and economical. The bad guys are evil. They die violently, including a female assasin who gets dropped out of a helicoptor and bounces off the side of a train with a loud, satisfying *thunk*. Fingers get chopped off, necks are broken, people get thrown off moving trains, and Seagal makes a constipated face as he settles into a martial arts stance that suggests he's going to rip his pants. Plot holes? Sure, like who's driving the train after Seagal shoots everyone in the locomotive? Seagal even takes a sniper bullet but ignores it, as if he only deals with serious wounds. ('This ain't being shot.') His black blazer is in great shape at the end despite the fact that he's been dangling off the side of cliffs, crawling on top of trains, getting shot, etc.
It's completely acceptable on a slow night. Incidentally, Basil Pouledouris' score is not bad.
Also note that Morris Chestnut, playing Seagal's 'sidekick', would go on to play the villain in a later and much worse Seagal outing (Half Past Dead) which is a high or low, depending on your pov.