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Steven Seagal takes a bite out of crime (and then some) in dreadful 'Code'

Steven Seagal takes a bite out of crime (and then some) in dreadful 'Code'
Steven Seagal, left, and Craig Sheffer in the movie "Code of Honor." (Lionsgate Premiere)

In the laughably awful "Code of Honor," Steven Seagal continues his campaign to make minimal onscreen movement, alarming chunkiness, and slurred, whispered threats in a weird Southern drawl, into the greatest assault on disbelief suspension in action filmmaking. He plays Sikes, an ex-special forces operative — one imagines his specialty was being used as a battering ram — who turns into one crime-infested town's "supervigilante," mowing down drug deal participants and blowing up mob hangouts from distances that, one presumes, preclude having to outrun anyone.

On his case is hulking, perpetually squinting Louis Mandylor's beleaguered detective, and a former colleague of Sikes' named Porter, played by an alarmingly bloated and sallow Craig Sheffer. (Only the movie's few women, it seems, mostly strippers, get to be skinny.)

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Porter gets the monologue that tells us how scary Sikes is — words like "unmatched" and "maximum effectiveness" are used — and which concludes, oddly, with the information that Sikes "doesn't drink, do drugs, or sleep around." (At least screenwriter Michael Winnick, who also directed, didn't try to get away with "or overeats.")

A bad-movie-loving apologist might assume the frequent pauses between lines of ridiculous dialogue were built in to attract the upcoming "Mystery Science Theater 3000" reboot. But even a longstanding, indiscriminate fan of ugly, illogical body-count cinema might be spurred to look at Seagal here and say, "Hang it up, dude. There are programs that can help."

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'Code of Honor'

Running time: 1 hour, 46 minutes

MPAA rating: R, for strong bloody violence, sexuality/nudity, some language and drug use

Playing: AMC Burbank 8, Burbank

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