To start, neither of us have ever seen a Steven Seagal movie prior to “Code of Honor,” so we didn’t really know what to expect.
What we got was an incredibly predictable action movie with groan inducing cliches occurring so frequently that within 10 minutes we both had entirely filled out our Action-Movie Bingo cards.
From the multi-ethnic gangs engaging in pimping and drug selling to the inevitable gratuitous nudity, this movie plays out the action movie tropes to a absurd degree. Even the main characters are terrible stereotypes. A rogue ex-special forces officer out on a revenge mission, getting his hands dirty when the police wont. A man who isn’t all he seems, who goes outside the law to find clues as to who the “super-vigilante” is (probably the most ridiculous moniker of all time). A stripper who is a struggling single mother with a heart of gold (also a damsel in distress as well).
They, and many more, are there to fulfill the very hackneyed roles in this very hackneyed movie.
But what would an action movie but without it’s star, even an unintentionally hilarious one at that? In truth, he isn’t in the movie a whole lot.
All we wanted was a movie where he kicks a copious amount of ass, but instead we got a rather disinterested looking (and a somewhat Danny McBride-esque) Seagal shooting baddies from a distance with a high-powered sniper rifle. He went in to do some close quarters killing only a few times, which robs the audience of getting our fill of the past-his-prime martial artist flailing around, which looks absolutely ridiculous. Those moments were truly funny, and we wanted desperately to see more of that.
And by the way, who told Seagal 30 years ago that it would be a good idea to mumble all of his lines in a really bizarre inflection (like he does in every movie)? It beggars the imagination to think that anyone actually thought this was a good idea, at any point.
The only thing that seems even somewhat unexpected is the ending, which has a twist. But as unexpected as it was, it still wasn’t terribly original, nor was it done particularly well. It turns out the man hunting Seagal’s character, is really that same character.
Instead of sticking with its guns and deciding that Seagal’s Colonel Sikes and the character hunting him (William Porter) are one and the same, the movie essentially throws up it’s hands at the end and says ‘Who knows? You decide!’. Basically, the filmmakers treat the ending of their own film with the same conviction that most treat a fortune cookie.
In the end, “Code of Honor” is a film that neither of us would recommend watching, although seeing Seagal fight will probably make your beer shoot out of your nose. And since Seagal makes his fair share of bad movies, we’re going to honor him with a rating on our brand new, patented, Seagal-O-Meter! We think a rating of 3 Seagal’s is more than fair.