Attack Force's cover features Steven Seagal's face awkwardly pasted onto someone else's body, and it also looks like Stevie's face has undergone some significant airbrushing. At first this might seem like a dubious practice, presenting potential viewers with something that's not quite Stevie to entice them in. However, on this occasion, displaying a not quite Steven Seagal hero is entirely accurate, as he's often not all present and accounted for.
|Director: Michael Keusch
Starring: Steven Seagal, Lisa Lovbrand, David Kennedy, Matthew Chambers, Danny Webb
Screenplay: Steven Seagal, Joe Halpin
Stevie is Marshall Lawson, a military man whose hair appears to be painted on because a lot of it probably was. Stevie and company go to "France, Europe" for a training mission, but Stevie hints that he knows there's some serious shit going down in that particularly French part of Europe. There are some people there that have taken a drug that makes them super strong, extremely violent and makes their irises side blink, and a few members of Stevie's outfit get killed almost immediately by one of these drug users. Training mission be damned, a largely dispassionate Stevie changes plans and sets out to stop the current drug users and their incredibly bland leaders, who want to sneakily get many more people addicted to the substance.
Attack Force's story is not as complex as some of the plots of other direct to video Stevie vehicles, but what plot it does have can get fairly convoluted and confused. One of the main reasons for the confusion is what I mentioned before about Stevie not being entirely present, as his voice is dubbed over by another actor for a huge percentage of his dialogue. Other characters suffer this fate, too, but Stevie is by far the most impacted. In his first scene, Stevie's not even on camera, so I had no idea the man speaking was meant to be him because the vocal actor sounds nothing like Stevie, and doesn't even seem to be trying to match his voice or inflections. Stevie's voice can change several times in a scene, and even knowing it's prone to swapping around it can still cause bewilderment. There's one moment where Stevie continues a conversation he was having after he walks off camera, but his alter-voice appeared at that point and I started trying to work out who had just joined the conversation because even that far into the film I couldn't train myself that this was Stevie's second voice. I think Stevie's primary dubber helped elsewhere in the film as well, which just makes keeping things straight even harder. I say primary dubber because for a few lines Stevie seems to have a THIRD voice. This is an interesting development, because it means not only were the filmmakers unable to secure Stevie for his own ADR, they weren't even able to secure his vocal double for all the ADR! The outrageous vocal shenanigans lead to some of Stevie's funniest moments, like a scene where he's "flattered" someone recognises his voice over the phone, and then proceeds to swap voices making it impossible for anyone to recognise him ever again.
The immediate comparison all this dubbing brings to mind is Steven Seagal is Submerged, but this one has a few more things going for it which entertained me enough that I never became frustrated with Attack Force's dubbing. The most is important thing is that Stevie actually does some fighting in this one, and while the movie doesn't have a lot of action at least it does ramp up at the end. The film has some definite lags, but it also has some of Stevie's best gags, so it didn't give me the shits like Steven Seagal is Submerged.
While his vocal dubbing does a lot of the unintentional humour heaving lifting, Stevie certainly contributes some laughs himself. When it's actually his voice, he seems very smug in Attack Force, which is odd because this is one of his worst performances. Yes, there are varying qualities of Stevie performances, and this one is a particularly bad one. Stevie seems to be struggling to remember his lines, and at times seems to be responding to different cues than the ones the viewer hears. These almost non sequiturs are no doubt a result of the filmmakers trying to get more of the full Stevie experience into the film and not wanting to dub him over entirely, but they're still weird. Even taking away the man's voice has done nothing to diminish his ego, with the non-drugged Stevie apparently as strong as the druggies, and an ego worship scene that's so over the top the characters involved feel the need to mock themselves for their excessive adoration of Stevie.
Attack Force is a prime example of the bizarre and incompetent films Stevie can make when he's not really engaged with the project. It's right up (or down) there with Out of Reach, but is even more wacky, matched in that department only by the superb Belly of the Beast. Attack Force is not funny enough to distract entirely from the dull patches it has, but it has some absolutely hilarious stuff that ultimately makes it worth a look. Fans of Stevie's earlier films will be severely disappointed by the new low Stevie fell to here, but fans of his flagrant disregard to quality will find much to appreciate.