Monday, May 24, 2010

"The Glimmer Man" (1996)

"The Glimmer Man" (1996)
Starring Steven Seagal, Keenen Ivory Wayans, Bob Gunton and Brian Cox
Written by Kevin Brodbin
Directed by John Gray

Oh, look, it's Steven Seagal.  There was a point in time where a movie starring Steven Seagal was kinda the coolest thing ever.  The man was FAST, no doubt about it, and the martial arts on display quite impressive.  Then somewhere around the mid-90s, the dude started to lose it.  "The Glimmer Man" is one of those flicks, where Seagal is starting to pack on the pounds and seems utterly disinterested in what's going on around him.  At least before he might've been a terrible actor but you could tell he was at least trying.

Seagal "stars" here as Cole, a Los Angeles detective with a shady past.  He's partnered with Campbell (Wayans) and the two attempt to track down a serial killer called 'The Family Man' who targets couples and crucifies his victims with lots of Christian imagery.  But when one of the crimes turns out to be the work of a copycat, Cole and Campbell find that they've stumbled into a larger conspiracy involving... um... chemical weapons smuggling... and... the Russian mafia... and... a Catholic school.

About halfway through the movie, everything switches gears and goes off the rails.  "The Glimmer Man" thinks that it has a script full of shocking plot twists, but really it's all just kind of stupid.  Cole is a character who preaches lots of calming Eastern philosophy, but will then suddenly turn around and slit three dude's necks with a blade hidden in his credit card.  Later, he blithely disregards his own advice (and chastises himself while doing so) by running headlong into a vicious gunfight for no reason.  The fight sequences aren't particularly well choreographed or directed.  At one point, the villain actually throws the same kick at Seagal three or four times in a row, and Seagal just stands there blocking it; that's some amateur-hour shit right there.

Oh and he also tortures his old boss, Smith.  Smith is a wholly worthless character, made a cliche when asked why he's betrayed his country with the reply "To get rich, why else?"  Still, Brian Cox manages to class things up a little, even though his dialogue is pretty weak and his character is pretty worthless.

Wayans is okay, but also seems pretty worthless to the proceedings.  He provides some comic relief (he is, after all, a Wayans) but doesn't seem particularly useful when it comes to any of the action sequences or even solving the 'mystery'.

So I'm gonna have to go ahead and give "The Glimmer Man" a big "meh".  If you need your Seagal fix, find some of his earlier stuff from when he was still in shape and seemed to give a damn.  If you need to watch something with a Wayans... well... Um... Ok.  I don't know how to help you on that one.