Under Siege ★★★★

Let me make this quick and to the point: I like UNDER SIEGE way more than DIE HARD. I don't understand why people trumpet the greatness and rewatchability of DIE HARD. I couldn't imagine slogging through that movie every year, let alone during the Christmas holiday.

Steven Seagal plays an absurd but likeable character. He hates authority, he distrusts the military, yet he chooses to serve onboard a Navy vessel as an irreverent cook who never wears his uniform . Why he wears it on the movie poster stupefies me. It was also part of the reason I avoided this movie for most of my life. It seemed stuffy and boring, seeing Seagal in an immaculate white uniform. Seagal is in fact the plucky everyman, like McClane in DIE HARD, except his character makes no sense and is great at everything. Okay, not everything. He's terrible at slinging one-liners and appearing too comfortable onscreen. But his discomfort is part of his charm, it reminds me of Brando in his huskier years: brimming with ability that tumbles out at unpredictable intervals.

Tommy Lee Jones and Gary Busey as villians completely outpace Alan Rickman in the Bruce Willis flick UNDER SIEGE ripped off. The two are bumbling cohorts, except where Busey is pure, hateable slapstick, Jones turns up his acting all the way for key, tense moments, channeling character actor intensity only the likes of Ed Harris could match.

I'll take the disassociative madness of this movie over Bruce Willis pouting every day of the week.