Review: Steven Seagal’s ‘Absolution’: unforgivably bad

A cheap, moldy cut of flavorless action about mercenaries, sex slaves and rich mobsters in the Ukraine, “Absolution” stars Steven Seagal as … does it matter?

He’s not a sex slave, thank heaven. The potbellied 63-year-old musician and reserve deputy sheriff -- just to pick two of the myriad job titles on his Wikipedia page -- looks to be setting some record here for least amount of effort starring in a movie.

Once, his imposing frame, beady eyes and hand-chop speed suggested an admirably silly aura of beat-down menace. But now, Seagal looks like a disgraced Vegas magician, swaddled in a big coat and sporting an unfortunate goatee, drowsy line readings and the combat prowess of a walrus.

The bad guys fall down anyway, which amounts to the only true acting worth its salt in the film. I like to imagine that Byron Mann -- as Seagal’s Chinese hitman partner Chi -- looked at his own actual hitting, tumbling and kicking duties next to his costar’s and thought, “Really?”

Stalwart Brit-thug Vinnie Jones plays a syndicate boss who runs afoul of Seagal’s desire to kill him, and his facial muscles move more than the star’s entire body. Jones also has to whimper “No more” in their final skirmish. Hear that, Seagal?




MPAA rating: R for violence, language, drug use

Running time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Playing: AMC Burbank Town Center 8