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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Giant size ,,, and awesome!
Mr. Steven Seagal does (now) in fact have a giant head ,,, and a gargantuan torso to boot ,,, but the movie was awesome ,,, a classic Seagal action flick ,,, which should be expected since he wrote and produced it.

Through the first half I thought it might be low-key, below average and I might be disappointed ,,, but I was wrong!!! The movie "carried well" from...
Published on November 1, 2011 by Matthew J. Molina Jr.

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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars "You're not supposed to hit somebody while I'm holding him"
I wish I could meet Steven Seagal, not only to ask for his autograph but also to sit down with him and discuss what's made his recent string of movies so disappointing for even a devoted fan like me. I would use "Born to Raise Hell" here as an example, being sure to compliment the film's strengths but also making clear to him exactly what about it sucks. I'm not so naÔve...
Published on April 24, 2011 by Mike Sehorn


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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars "You're not supposed to hit somebody while I'm holding him", April 24, 2011
This review is from: Born to Raise Hell (DVD)
I wish I could meet Steven Seagal, not only to ask for his autograph but also to sit down with him and discuss what's made his recent string of movies so disappointing for even a devoted fan like me. I would use "Born to Raise Hell" here as an example, being sure to compliment the film's strengths but also making clear to him exactly what about it sucks. I'm not so naÔve to believe that Seagal is in total creative and technical control of each of his features, but perhaps I could convince him to take a more hands-on role in their production and perhaps aikido-chop the idiots who are truly responsible for the lackluster nature of some of these movies.

The plot: an international drug task force operating out of Romania, headed by ex-Interpol agent Samuel Axel (Seagal), sets its sights on bringing down the operations of a deadly and sadistic gang of drug traffickers...

People who don't like Steven Seagal by default are going to hate this movie. Seagal occupies most of the scenes (perhaps still making up for his absence throughout most of Against the Dark?) and his character is boisterous, arrogant, and most of the other characters cow to him in one way or another. Surprisingly, I found myself appreciating this: a supercilious Steven is still more fun to watch than the detached, bored-looking dope he played for a while in movies like Flight of Fury. However, whatever effort he seems to have made for this film is marred by extensive dubbing of his voice - something not present in his movies to this degree since the picture I just mentioned. There aren't any other real technical snafus to be seen, but further post-production add-ins like nonstop slow motion, freeze-frame shots galore, and way too many time-killing collage scenes continue to have the movie feeling more like Seagal's trash pictures of yesteryear, moving him further and further away from the high standard he had achieved with Urban Justice.

The action scenes are composed mostly of boring shootouts, but there are a couple hand-to-hand encounters which, while not too flashy, feature Seagal doing just about all of his own moves and getting some good aikido throws in. There's also an impressive instance wherein he kicks a thug so hard that the man flies about six feet through the air before crashing through a bench. These lead up to the finale with martial artist Darren Shahlavi, who had been running around the rest of the picture as the necrophilic, drug-dealing main villain. This is where things get *really* disappointing, to the point of costing my rating an entire star. Shahlavi had consistently delivered great physical performances in the past, and one of his most recent movies - Ip Man 2, released on the same day as "Born to Raise Hell" - featured him in some very good fights with Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung; in this one, however, he has one very brief fight halfway through the film before getting absolutely manhandled by Seagal during the climax. The fact that Shahlavi had just been in an internationally-acclaimed martial arts masterpiece makes this ugly and one-sided encounter more disappointing than Seagal's similar exchanges with Gary Daniels and Byron Mann: at least they didn't have any recent major successes behind them to live up to.

At this point in our conversation, if I had been able to speak freely and if the rumors concerning Seagal's temper and ego were true, I figure he'd either have left the room in disinterest or he would have me by my throat. I'd quickly try to point out that the acting is decent in general and, despite being shot in Romania, the film's cinematography is less grey than I expected and pretty fun to look at...but would this be enough to save me? It certainly isn't enough to save the movie, which I fear can be shelved along with the growing number of failed DTV outings starring the Buddhist Bonecrusher. I doubt that I'll ever actually have this conversation with Steven, but I'm still holding out on the hope that he's going to get back on the horse and make it worth being a fan of his again; right now, it really isn't.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not great, but not a total disaster either, April 23, 2011
By 
W. J. Barnaby "Qigong" (virginia beach, va United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Somehow, through over a decade of direct-to-video disasters, I remain a Seagal fan, hopeful there may be one last great film coming before he retires for good. Perhaps, as I've watched each of his low budget losers - films such as Out for a Kill or Submerged - some small part of my psyche manages to wax nostalgic over blockbusters of the past, such as Under Siege and The Glimmer Man, in an effort to deflect the pain inflicted by witnessing a great martial artist fade away into a caricature of himself. While Born to Raise Hell does little to dispell this trend, I assure you it is a watchable film which won't disappoint most fans. If Seagal did, indeed, write the screenplay himself, his ideas weren't bad ones but could have been better structured, and the characters needed more rapport with each other. The editing was a little puzzling, with freeze frames coming up at inappropriate times, but did not completely distract from the thrust of the film. The fight scenes were actually decent this time around, especially the fight scene in the restaurant which clearly did not use stupid gimmicks like speeding up the film or cutting so quickly you couldn't tell what happened - it was all Seagal, doing aikido again. His films need more of that. Overall, I'm "OK" with the film, though it wasn't the great come back gem for which I still yearn. Urban Justice remains his best recent release, the film that left my soul ignited anew with hope Seagal is on some sort of come back trail - the path may be skewed, and it may be a very slow burn - so I keep watching.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A disappointment after some pretty good Seagal films, August 2, 2011
This review is from: Born to Raise Hell (DVD)
After years of bottom-of-the-barrel direct-to-DVD-films, Seagal has made some decent films in the last couple of years, so I've come to expect more from him now than I did 3 or 4 years ago.

In "Born to Raise Hell", we get the usual ingredients, an eastern Europe setting (Romania), a crime boss, strippers, and of course, Seagal. Unfortunately, we also get uninspired writing and a slow moving plot. It doesn't start out well when Seagal, in narration, tells us that "six months ago my partner was killed. I'll find those responsible and bring them to justice" (approximate quote from memory). Seagal wrote this film and he's written a half dozen films before, so he should know one of the main rules of screenwriting: "Show, don't tell". Seagal films by nature, like Arnold films, Stallone films, Dolph Lundgren and Van Damme films, are star vehicles, one man shows. But this one suffers from a weak protagonist. We never get to know or care about Seagal's character and too much time is spent on secondary characters. I felt more sympathy for the Dimitri character, played by Dan Badarau. Towards the end of the film, he becomes its real star. First time director Lauro Chartrand is apparently an experienced stunt man but not a great director. Strange camera angles and silly jump cuts give the film a cheap, amateurish feeling. There are some action scenes, of course, but they're not that good (mainly shooting scenes, little fighting) and with the dull story we never really care.

"Born to Raise Hell" is decidedly less entertaining than some of Seagal's other recent films. For Seagal fans only.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't Hear Seagal, October 18, 2012
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This review is from: Born to Raise Hell (DVD)
The DVD and packaging was fine, but the storyline and the acting was not Seagal's best work. Story moved slow. I noticed that you rarely saw Seagal's face doing the action... like there was a double doing most of his martial arts. And there wasn't that many martial arts in this movie compared to his other movies. And the really weird thing about this movie was the constant narration (I assume from Seagal's main character) but it didn't sound like Seagal to me. It was whispery like he whispers, but even more so. Though Seagal seems to get quieter and more whispery with every picture, his narration and even his main character lines were delivered too quietly for me to understand. I don't know if they couldn't get the mic levels up high enough to capture what he was saying or just that he was mumbling. I had to watch the movie with the subtitles on to understand what he was saying in the movie. This is no Exit Wounds, Half Past Dead or Fire Down Below. Those are some good Steven Seagal movies.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars RAPING WOMEN BEFORE OR AFTER THEY'RE DEAD, June 26, 2012
We watch Seagal films because the acting is bad, the dialouge is worse, and the plot twists have the complexity a granny knot. Seagal plays a special international DEA agent who seeks revenge for the death of his partner, something we don't know anything about as there is absolutely no character build-up or introduction, a characteristic of Seagal's fine precise writing ability.

Seagal is in Bucharest, Romania according to the writing on the screen. They also use the same font to run their credits (Highlight, right click, font, click, then change). The Russian mafia is manufacturing and fronting drugs to the Romanians, who in turn use beautiful women to mule these drugs all over Europe. Apparently their airport security is like ours and only pat down old people. Seagal has a new partner who he verbally abuses. The Romanian mafia also does home break-ins where they rob people and then rape and kill women, not necessarily in that order. (The Russian mafia is civilized and don't approve of that behavior.)

Special effects include speeding up the scene, slowing down the scene, shooting a still, and making everything blurry. While other movies do this also, this film tended to overdue the effect to the point of being annoying. The music got a little hard-core as the film flirted with a few grindhouse techniques. It was almost as if someone described what a grindhouse movie was to Seagal, and he decided to make one having never seen one.

Seagal utilizes a stooly who looks like a cross between Joe Pesci and Vlad the Impaler. In the movie and IMDB Seagal's name is Bobby Samuels. My DVD box says he is Samuel Axel.

Seagal has a girlfriend in this movie, who he lectures as if she is four years old. They have a weird love/sex scene where she gets naked and he keeps his clothes on...which may be a good thing.

Nudity, sex?, rape, f-bomb and some dry humor lines from Seagal.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Giant size ,,, and awesome!, November 1, 2011
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This review is from: Born to Raise Hell (DVD)
Mr. Steven Seagal does (now) in fact have a giant head ,,, and a gargantuan torso to boot ,,, but the movie was awesome ,,, a classic Seagal action flick ,,, which should be expected since he wrote and produced it.

Through the first half I thought it might be low-key, below average and I might be disappointed ,,, but I was wrong!!! The movie "carried well" from start to finish; very well written, acted (by all) and directed.

I found the (international) acting to be top-notch and the screenplay had no extra bovine crap, no melodramatic bs thrown in for the female audience member ,,, except maybe for Seagal taking a few moments to satisfy his woman. It was brief and realistically erotic.

All in all a very good and very entertainiing movie.

Above all I loved the international scenery and the outstanding international actors!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not too bad from Seagal's most recent release, October 10, 2011
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Very much a typical Seagal movie, lots of shooting and suspense yet guess I was hoping for not as much violence/blood this time around. Did not think was a good as The Keeper but much better than some of his previous releases. Appears he does his own fight scenes, and maybe just a little voice dubbing, or maybe his own voice pre-recorded before it was shot. Really can't figure out why he does voice dubbing anyway, could be his voice gets tired from all the movies he does, not sure. Overall, it's worth a watch for the average Seagal fan.

Peter J. Miller
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars RAPING WOMEN BEFORE OR AFTER THEY'RE DEAD, August 13, 2011
This review is from: Born to Raise Hell (DVD)
We watch Seagal films because the acting is bad, the dialouge is worse, and the plot twists have the complexity a granny knot. Seagal plays a special international DEA agent who seeks revenge for the death of his partner, something we don't know anything about as there is absolutely no character build-up or introduction, a characteristic of Seagal's fine precise writing ability. (It's an action film, stupid!)

Seagal is in Bucharest, Romania according to the writing on the screen. They also use the same font to run their credits (Highlight, right click, font, click, then change). The Russian mafia is manufacturing and fronting drugs to the Romanians, who in turn use beautiful women to mule these drugs all over Europe. Apparently their airport security is like ours and only pat down old people. Seagal has a new partner who he verbally abuses. The Romanian mafia also does home break-ins where they rob people and then rape and kill women, not necessarily in that order. (The Russian mafia is civilized and don't approve of that behavior.)

Special effects include speeding up the scene, slowing down the scene, shooting a still, and making everything blurry. While other movies do this also, this film tended to overdue the effect to the point of being annoying. The music got a little hard-core as the film flirted with a few grindhouse techniques. It was almost as if someone describe what a grindhouse movie was to Seagal, and he decided to make one having never seen one.

Seagal utilizes a stooly who looks like a cross between Joe Pesci and Vlad the Impaler. In the movie and IMDB Seagal's name is Bobby Samuels. My DVD box says he is Samuel Axel.

Seagal has a girlfriend in this movie, who he lectures as if she is four years old. They have a weird love/sex scene where she gets naked and he keeps his clothes on...which may be a good thing.

Nudity, sex?, rape, f-bomb and some dry humor lines from Seagal.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth watching -at least once, May 13, 2011
This review is from: Born to Raise Hell (DVD)
Not as good as A Dangerous Man or The Keeper, but far better than Against The Dark or Attack Force. Steven does more of the actual fighting, and where a stunt double is used it is not as obvious as in those latter abysmal failures. I know it's cheaper to beep her in Eastern Europe, but really, I think it takes a toll. Not as bad as the aforemention suck-fests in which Steven's dialogue was often voiced-over by some guy that doesnt sound a bit like him. Steven would do well to cut the time down, or up the action and speed of the plot. This movie seemed to drag a bit. Going back to an ABOVE THE LAW or HARD TO KILL or MARKED FOR DEATH feel would be great. Even Out For Justice and Urban Justice moved along nicely. This one was felt a tad like The Foreigner on steroids.

Steven's character had no motivation here, and suspense was lacking for the most part. Lack of character motivation is what killed Norris and Van Damme. While overall this was a good movie, I don't think I would watch it repeatedly as I did the first four Segal movies from the 80's and 90's. They are CLASSICS and never get boring.

It doesn't take fancy graphics or car chases, just more of the STORY in which our boy, Steven, is pitted against folks who have harmed or are trying to harm him and his, and he takes care of business. Otherwise, he's just taking out the trash, as any law enforcement person does, and that is nothing worth making a movie over. Twists, sub-plots, SUSPENSE and MOTIVATION! That is what we need more of, big guy!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Real Life Action, August 21, 2014
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This review is from: Born to Raise Hell (DVD)
First, this is a biased review because I have almost every Steven Seagal film. I love martial arts films, especially hand to hand combat. Now that I got that out of the way let's talk about this film. This is the classic example of working with the evil you already know to get rid of a worse evil. None of Seagal's more recent films are family films because he insist on putting topless dancers and prostitutes. Excellent role casting for the Dan Badarau as Dimitri, evil number one and the number two evil was well portrayed also. This film actually has a storyline that makes sense and a plot that is worth following. And if nothing else all of Seagal's films have plenty of fight scenes, car chases and explosions. This is a good choice for fans and non fans alike.
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Born to Raise Hell
Born to Raise Hell by Lauro Chartrand (DVD - 2011)
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