Even those critics who like Steven Seagal admit that the ego is his worst enemy, responsible for many embarrassing films. In 1996 it looked like Seagal might have dealt with such affliction. He agreed to play relatively small role in Executive Decision, and in The Glimmer Man, action thriller directed by John Gray, his character had a sidekick, which resulted in Seagal's face sharing space on official poster with another actor.
The plot is set in Los Angeles where Catholic families become prey of a nasty serial killer known as "Family Man". Investigation is led by LAPD detective Jim Campbell (played by Keenan Ivory Wayans) who receives somewhat unusual partner in the form of his NYPD colleague Jack Cole (played by Steven Seagal), soft-spoken Buddhist who wears Oriental clothes and has mysterious past. Things gets complicated after the latest murder, in which Cole's ex-wife was a victim, thus making Cole a suspect. But the real problems for Campbell and Cole start when two of them realise that the serial killings are just a cover for something more sinister - conspiracy that involves corrupt businessmen, Cole's former bosses from CIA, other shady characters and chemical weapons.
Watching The Glimmer Man requires something more than being Steven Seagal's fan. Those who want to watch this film must be the most loyal of the fans, ready for enormous sacrifices in order to endure 92 minutes of a movie staring their idol. Seagal himself, however, isn't the main problem of this film - his character of quiet, soft spoken killing machine has already been perfected in previous films. Real problem is the choice of Keenan Ivory Wayans as his partner. Wayans is a talented comedian, but he lacks chemistry with Seagal, making "buddy buddy" dynamic look unnatural. Atrocious dialogue and disastrous attempts of humour (Wayans' character showing his sensitive side while watching Casablanca) are matched only by Kevin Brodbin's terrible script that tries to condense all 1990s police film cliches into 90 minutes. So, in this disorganised mess of a film we have serial killers, disaffected youths, declining education system, CIA, Russian mob and mid 1990s favourite villains – Serbs, affectionately referred as "freedom fighters" by one of their American allies. John Gray adds to confusion by shooting all exterior scenes in the rain, probably trying to re create dark atmosphere of Se7en. Couple of nicely choreographed action scenes again show Seagal doing who he knows best, but they are too short and too few to justify the ordeal of watching The Glimmer Man.
RATING: 2/10 (-)
(Note: The text in its original form was posted in Usenet newsgroup rec.arts.movies.reviews on April 14th 2003)
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