Directed by Isaac Florentine
Out now on DVD and Digital
A father is forced back into the world he left behind when his son is kidnapped. Ordered to wipe out three cartel heads, he must risk his life in order to save his son’s.
Action fans will be pleased to see the reuniting of action director Isaac Florentine and British martial arts star Scott Adkins in their latest collaboration, SEIZED, which pits Scott’s widower Richard against heavily-armed Mexican cartel members on the orders of rival cartel boss, Mzamo (Mario Van Peebles).
Scott Adkins stars as Richard, a devoted husband and father who’s relocated to a quiet, coastal location in Mexico with his son Taylor (Matthew Garbacz) after the death of his wife. Clearly missing his late mother, Taylor’s been getting into fights at school and is becoming quite a handful at home too, unwilling to listen to his father. Their relationship is put to the test when Taylor is abducted and we find out the true nature of Richard and his past career under codename Nero, as well as the circumstances surrounding his wife’s untimely death. With just a voice at the other end of the phone spouting orders, Richard must do as he’s told if he’s to see his son again. With Richard armed to the teeth and with a bodycam strapped to his bulletproof vest, the kidnapper wants the job done right and teases Richard with brief chats with his son in order to keep him motivated. In Taken style, we know that Richard won’t sleep til he gets revenge but first he must complete three jobs before he can find out who’s responsible for kidnapping his son.
Stealing the limelight at every opportunity is Mario Van Peebles as criminal boss, Mzamo. He oozes confidence and charisma as his cowboy-hat sporting crime lord, often making others look like cardboard cutout characters in comparison. Even in the brief spots between Richard’s jobs, he manages to draw the audience in and as far as bad guys go, he’s a pretty likeable and infectious character. This is probably accentuated by the fact that the dialogue for the film for the other characters is rather weak, in that Adkins’ Richard says nothing much more than “where is my son” whilst gunning down all these armed gunmen in hotels, strip clubs and compounds. It quickly becomes tiresome as Richard becomes nothing more than a thug for hire as one hit blurs into the other.
Even the fight scenes, which are normally the highlight of any Scott Adkins film, feel lacklustre. Whilst there’s no denying that Adkins’ abilities are outstanding, particularly his kicks, here in SEIZED they fail to thrill or have the desired impact. I think that in many ways it’s due to the way the fight scenes have been shot or possibly been choreographed. Some of the techniques feel obscured from the viewer and others appear rushed. It all ends up being a blur rather than a display of badass combat skills. As this is one of the main reasons to watch a film like this, especially one starring Adkins and with accomplished martial artist and Undisputed II and III director Isaac Florentine at the helm, I couldn’t help but feel underwhelmed by the action presented on screen compared to previous collaborations.
Although it doesn’t have the hard-hitting impact I desired, SEIZED does have an odd few good moments and one bit early on in the film which made me smile was when Taylor was attempting to learn how to punch and kick. And who better to learn off that Adkins’ pal, the Ginger Ninja Trickster, courtesy of YouTube. Like Adkins, GNT is skilled in the art of Taekwondo and so it was nice to see a real-life martial artist gain recognition in the film for his “charming” combat instructional.
Without any true meat to the bone, SEIZED fails to set itself apart from the rest and ultimately lacks the excitement desired from a film of this ilk.