Marked for Death – A look back. By Jamie M MacDonald & Paul Findlay

Marked For Death is a typical 90s action film and very much of its time. It is solid action film and has some nicely staged action scenes.

Steven Seagal is DEA agent John Hatcher. After a drug sting goes wrong in Columbia. Hatcher returns to his childhood home for some rest and recuperation, with his mother, sister and niece. Looking up his old childhood friend and ex-army buddy Max played by Keith David. Hatcher learns of the on-going problems with drugs taking over the, his home town. Not wanting to get involved, Hatcher tries to ignore what’s going on all around him. Max tells him of the Jamaican gangs known as posse taking over and pushing out the Columbia dealers, as the war between the Columbians and Jamaicans escalates. Taking But, when he helps rescue some people in a nightclub that is shot up by the Jamaicans and Columbians. Now Hatcher and his family are Marked for Death by Screwface, the leader of the posse played by Basil Wallace. So Hatcher has to step up and get involved to take out the posse, before they take him and his family out.

Marked For Death came in 1990 at the height of Steven Seagal`s rise as an action star. After the success of his first two features Nico: Above the Law & Hard to Kill the studio decided to up the budget for MFD. He has acted as a producer on his films, since he began. Maybe that’s not such a good thing –but we are not here to discuss that. Paul and I believe that MFD is one of his better films. Seagal always seems in these earlier films to make the right choices. To surround himself by good people behind and in front of the camera, this is why to me, his first 5 films are his best films and always will be. In MFD the most standout role for Paul am I is Basil Wallace as Screwface – he plays it just right. Slightly over top but not like he is in a pantomime. He certainly has some of the more memorable lines if the film, along with his men. Seagal suggested Dwight H Little as the director for this film, after seeing the Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers. This is a wise choice, as he makes a great Job of directing the film. It does look like his trying to get more than two expressions out of Seagal`s face for the more dramatic scenes. Every action fan will know that Little went on the direct the excellent Rapid Fire with Brandon Lee. For the other supporting actors of the film Tom Writht as Jamaican Cop Charles and Keith David as Max they`re solid in their roles and have one of my favourite scenes together, while walking down the streets of Jamaica.

Marked For Death is a typical 90s action film and very much of its time. It is solid action film and has some nicely staged action scenes. Looking back on it now, with 31 years of reading Seagal trivia, maybe that`s not helped and rightly or wrongly makes us judge his films more than we should. His first 5 films are actually all good. 

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