Shadow Man (2006)
By: Devon B. on April 20, 2014 | Comments
Sony | Region 4, PAL | 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced) | English DD 5.1 | 92 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Michael Keusch
Starring: Steven Seagal, Vincent Riotta, Michael Elwyn, Skye Bennett
Screenplay: Steven Collins, Steven Seagal, Joe Halpin
Country: USA, UK, Romania
I've found a connection that makes Steven Seagal even cooler than I thought he was before. In the late 70s the awesome The Dickies recorded a song called "Shadow Man" which mentions watermelon. In 2001 they did a song called "Whack the Dalai Lama" that featured the line, "The bigger they come the harder they fall, I'm not a spiritual Steven Seagal." Then in 2006 Steven Seagal made a movie called Shadow Man. Coincidence? I think not, because in Stevie's first scene he beats up, you guessed it, a watermelon! He must be friends with The Dickies, which makes him even better than before. Stevie doesn't just beat up a watermelon, he hits it in such a way that he doesn't break the skin, but the fruit explodes out the back. He calls it an internal attack, versus his external attack which pushes people all the way across the room. When he demonstrates the internal attack on a person, the guy flies through a wall. That'll teach him for asking questions in a place of learning! Maybe it wasn't a full internal attack, because I think the student lived, or at least fruit didn't shoot out his back. All this external and internal attacking must've worn Stevie out, because immediately after this his voice changes drastically. Even though I know that Stevie was prone to being vocally doubled in this era, this confused me as I thought it was a student talking. It wasn't.

Anyway, moving on from the cool Dickies connection, in Shadow Man some weird stuff is going down. Stevie's father-in-law is taking Stevie's daughter on holiday. Stevie will be following behind shortly, but things get a bit complicated because his father-in-law has stolen info on a man-made virus and plants it on Stevie to smuggle into Romania. Presumably this is why the father-in-law wanted to travel ahead of Stevie so as not to clear customs at the same time. Stevie arrives, and his father-in-law gets blown up real good and his daughter kidnapped, so Stevie's not having a good day. At least the explosion was cool. Then he has to try and get his daughter back, and work out exactly what's been going on.

Shadow Man gets off to a slightly dodgy start because Stevie is almost immediately doubled excessively. Stevie's hair is still glorious, at least, and it makes him look a bit like Ron Jeremy. The story is baffling and convoluted, as seems to be Stevie's want since the new millennium, and the action isn't always that exciting or well edited. There're some good action set pieces, and some of the stunt work isn't bad, but when the action gets confusing it's hard to appreciate the good elements. The martial arts have been toned down in favour of gunplay, which is disappointing, but at least people get shot. When Stevie does fight, the choreography isn't particularly interesting.

I'm not sure if this movie is darkly lit to hide Seagal's weight, or if it's a style thing because he's the Shadow Man, but regardless, Stevie's often in the dark. I also suspect he has some shadowy magic because he appears to be able to make a man faint by snapping his wrist, run a Fortune 500 company and turn the proceedings into a video game where it just takes enough shots to make anything explode. Some other unintentional comedy sneaks in, too, like the guy who is introduced simply to say that he doesn't think the martial arts work in real life only to be proven wrong when Stevie…shoots him? Or the kidnapper that outlays her entire life story to Stevie's daughter simply because she asks a generic question. And that's not even mentioning Granbo or the scene where the director couldn't be fucked to obscure Stevie's double's face.

Shadow Man is okay, but doesn't escape the low budget doldrums. I didn't mind it, but when the best thing about a Stevie movie is a car chase, there's a problem.
The Disc
As I said before, Shadow Man can be pretty dark at times, and also suffers from the very tight close ups Stevie seems to use to hide his double chin. These aren't problems with the transfer, though, which is mostly clear and clean. The audio isn't bad at all, a 5.1 mix that effectively conveys explosions, broken bones and gunfire. The alternate language tracks seemed of similar quality when I gave them a quick listen. Extras are limited to trailers for Second in Command, I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer, Dirty, The Da Vinci Code and Ultraviolet.
The Verdict
If you're a serious Stevie fan, there's way better out there, and if you like to laugh at Stevie this one doesn't offer much at all. It's an okay direct to video actioner, but I don't feel like my life has been enriched by seeing it like I do with other Stevie movies.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
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