Seized stars Scott Adkins as an ex-Special Forces type who lost his wife when they were betrayed during a mission. Now he lives a quiet life as a single parent, trying to leave his past behind him and parent a troubled child. Until his past catches up with him and his son is kidnapped. Now he has to step back into the life he thought he left behind if he wants to see his boy again. No, I didn’t confuse it with his last film, Legacy of Lies. He had a daughter in that one.
Nero (Scott Adkins, One Shot, Max Cloud) lives in Mexico, works as a security consultant and tries his best to keep his rebellious, (and obnoxious) son Taylor (Matthew Garbacz) out of trouble. He must not have done a good job of covering his tracks though, somebody shoots him with a tranquillizer dart. When he wakes up Taylor is gone.
He’s been kidnapped by Mzamo (Mario Van Peebles, A Clear Shot, Immortal). If Nero wants his son back, he needs to wipe out three criminal operations within 24 hours. While wearing a bodycam so Mzamo can enjoy the livestream. And then take over their operations. Easy right?
Seized reunites Adkins and director Isaac Florentine for the first time since 2015’s Close Range. Their other collaborations include Ninja, Ninja: Shadow of a Tear and, of course, Undisputed 2 and 3. That’s one hell of a track record for it to live up to. And Seized isn’t quite up to the task.
While it’s certainly better than some of Adkins’ recent films, such as Abduction or Incoming for instance it doesn’t have what it takes to join their ranks. The script by Richard Lowry (President Evil, Apocalypse Rising) is simply an excuse to set up a series of shootouts mixed with a few fights. Adkins kills some bad guys, drives to the next location, and repeats. And it comes as no surprise that Donovan (Steven Elder, Day of the Triffids, Gallowwalkers), the former comrade in arms who betrayed him is involved.
Seized also lacks in the budget department which means that apart from Van Peebles there’s no other notable names in the cast. Or for Adkins to fight, he doesn’t get a fight that lasts more than a couple of punches until the final act when he goes up against Former UFC fighter Uriah Hall. Karlee Perez (WWE, Lucha Underground, Xenophobia) plays Van Peebles girlfriend and gets to do some solid sparring near the end as well.
The fight choreography is average at best, though Adkins gets to pull off a sick finishing move during his first assignment. I’m guessing the budget didn’t run to hiring Tim Man, the go-to fight choreographer for both Florentine and Adkins. In his place Art Camacho (Dead Trigger, Bloodfist VII: Manhunt) does a decent but unspectacular job.
For many, the most disappointing fight will be the showdown between Adkins and Van Peebles. Why? Because there isn’t one. The film takes a twist near the end and goes out on one of the film’s few surprises. Given how perversely likable Mzamo is I didn’t really mind. Though I wish they could have gone a couple of rounds first.
Seized is, when all is said and done, still better than most DTV action films. There is plenty of competently staged action and some good performances. Especially from Van Peebles who steals much of the film. But the reuniting of Adkins and Florentine shouldn’t have been merely “better than most”. it should have and could have been another masterpiece.
Lionsgate will release Seized to DVD and Digital on October 13th.