The Season of Scott Adkins continues as “Seized,” another generic C-movie thriller, makes its way to Netflix.
It’s a shoot-em-up, punch-em-up, kick-em-down picture without much plot, without any pace but with Mario Van Peebles as its villain.
That’s almost a saving grace in a low-energy thriller whose screenplay hits the “stupid” button entirely too hard.
Adkins plays a widowed single dad raising his troubled, spoiled, misses-his-mom tween son (Matthew Garbacz) on the Pacific Coast of Mexico.
After five minutes of sent-home-from-school-for-fighting and “Violence never solved anything, son” and OY! Don’t you WALK out on me!” barking, a tranquilizer dart punches through a window, Taylor is kidnapped and Dad wakes up to this creepy phone call.
“I need you for a job…Nero,” tells us Brit Dad used to do things of a deadly nature, and that his code name was “Nero,” as in “burn it all down.”
His kid is “imprisoned in a gas chamber.” But here’s a bullet proof Suburban, a goody-bag filled with guns, a bullet proof vest with a chest camera on it and GPS addresses of these stops Nero will need to make.
Our villain, shortly revealed as Van Peebles in a black cowboy hat and speaking Hollywood Drug Dealer Spanish — “VAMANOS! MATALO! PENDEJO!” — has invited friends and gangsters for a mass-murder watching party.
Nero is sent hither and then yon — a restaurant, a strip club and so on, with just directive.
“Kill everyone in there!”
The shootouts are passable, the fights a little better. Adkins is always good in action.
But the script has nothing inventive to add to the long history of such slaughter scenes, and neither does Adkins.
There’s no invention to Nero’s efforts to find out who has his kid and what he can do about, or the kid’s recognition of his plight and efforts to save himself.
Van Peebles may have softened our heavy’s “motive,” launching into speeches about getting into tech and green energy, cracks about “Making the Cartels Great Again” and having the guy soft-sell his murderous nature.
“Unlike me,” he says of one rival Nero must wipe out, “the world will be a better place without him in it.”
You watch enough Adkins movies and you pick up on why he’s not getting over as an A-list action star. There’s no charisma. He gives you nothing in scenes between fights that capture his worry for his child, his fear for his safety or his hatred of the dude doing this to Nero.
Isaac Florentine, the director, might have watched “Speed” (villain monitoring his crimes via camera) or “Crank” or “John Wick” or “Hardcore Henry” as homework, figured out that he needed to use a LOT more footage from the chest-cam, and make a lot more quick cuts because speed and urgency are of the essence.
This thriller dawdles, loses the thread as intrigues within the villain’s lair are unnecessarily developed, and never has the feeling of life-or-death stakes.
For those reasons — every one of them — “Seized” never grabs you.
Rating: R for violence throughout, sexual material/nudity, and language
Cast: Scott Adkins, Matthew Garbacz, Karlee Perez and Mario Van Peebles.
Credits: Directed by Isaac Florentine, scripted by Richard Lowry. A Netflix release.
Running time: 1:26