Steven Seagal keeps cranking ’em out. He’s starred in 10 movies released since 2012, he’s got two more in the can, is currently filming another and has yet another on deck. Code of Honor, a military veteran-on-a-rampage thriller, is out now on Blu-ray and DVD and it’s most certainly one of the weirdest of the lot.
Seagal is Robert Sikes, a Special Ops veteran whose famly was killed in a random drive-by. He seems to be roaming the country, taking out criminal syndicates as a one-man sniper squad. Craig Sheffer shows up in town and tells the local police that he’s Special Agent Porter of the FBI and that Sikes was his commanding officer in the military. Porter loves his mentor but he can’t let Sikes’ lawless vigilantism go unpunished. There’s also a single-mom stripper (Helena Mattson) and a vengeful crime syndicate boss (James Russo).
Seagal, who’s got plenty of screen time, doesn’t actually speak until almost halfway through the movie and, when he does, he sounds like he’s imitating late ’70s Muhammad Ali. Like Sheffer, he looks like he’s spent quite a bit of time at the craft services table and he tops off the effect with heavily dyed facial hair and either an awesome hairpiece or the world’s most liberal application of Couvré. He’s still got the martial arts moves even if he looks more like late-period Elvis than Above the Law guy when he’s kicking.
If that sounds amazing, it is. Online reviews of the movie from its brief theatrical release slam the plot, performances, direction and screenplay. As usual, serious movie critics are either clueless or immune to the charms of quickie action pictures. This one’s Death-Wish-meets-Fight-Club premise is impossible to unravel and what exactly happens at the end is both unclear and irrelevant. It’s both terrible and awesomely entertaining.
Both Sikes and Porter may be struggling from PTSD, but don’t look here for a sensitive portrayal of the serious emotional and medical issues that some veterans face. The military connection is in place so Seagal can wear a Shemagh and tactical sunglasses and use a sniper rifle to blow the bad guys’ brains out from a safe distance.
Like all the most compelling Seagal flicks, this one is best enjoyed after a few beers with a group of friends. The old man has remarkable dignity as he chews his way through his scenes and Sheffer takes the hysterical bait and matches Seagal’s over-the-top performance.