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Film: Marked for Death

"One thought he was invincible, the other thought he could fly. They were both wrong."

Marked for Death is a 1990 action film with Steven Seagal in his third starring role.

Seagal plays DEA agent John Hatcher, who has just retired and returned to his home in Chicago following a drug bust in Columbia in which his partner was killed. His experiences have left him disheartened; he believes that there is no way the drug flow could ever be stemmed. Alas, a confrontation breaks out between him and some goons of the Jamaican drug-dealing ring Jamaican Posse who are flooding the streets with drugs. The next day, some members of the gang including its leader, Screwface (Basil Wallace), shoot Tracy (Danielle Harris), the daughter of John's sister Melissa (Elizabeth Gracen), in a drive-by shooting. Screwface then returns to Jamaica. John, alongside old friend Max (Keith David) and Jamaican cop Charles (Tom Wright), embarks on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge through Chicago and eventually Jamaica to take Screwface out.

Though not quite so famous as Above the Law or Hard to Kill, this film is one of Steven Seagal's better ones; a fine example of his brand of action and which showcases him at his limb-snapping, wisecracking best.


This film provides examples of:

  • Backup Twin: After Hatcher decapitates Screwface, he learns Screwface had a twin brother.
  • Bad Boss: Screwface.
  • Bond One-Liner: "I hope they weren't triplets."
  • Boring Invincible Hero: Seagal, as always. Well, maybe not 'boring', but definitely invincible.
    • The "invincible" part is violently tested versus Screwface #2.
  • The Cameo: Reggae singer Jimmy Cliff is performing in a Jamaican club performing the song "John Crow". Bizarrely, the song was written for the movie, and actually includes the lyrics "Screwface you know that your time has come! You don't live right, you gonna die tonight!". Is Jimmy Cliff omnipotent??
  • Chicago: Its suburbs, at least.
  • Cryptic Conversation: Hatcher has this with Screwface's mistress when he seeks out information on the drug lord's whereabouts.
    Mistress: Screwface have two head and four eyes, and that is the secret to his magic.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: Seagal actually wrote the reggae song (and sang the opening lyrics) "John Crow" which plays over the end credits.
  • Dreadlock Rasta: The vast majority of the baddies sport the hairstyle.
  • Eye Scream: Screwface #2.
  • Fanservice:
    • There are a bunch of naked women scattered in it for no reason.
    • Basil Wallace even does Male Frontal Nudity at one point. Mrs. Wallace must be very satisfied.
  • Fruit Cart: In the opening chase scene, a cart gets tipped over.
  • Groin Attack: Hatcher turns Screwface #1's own katana on himself.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: Played with. While Screwface is never shown to have any actual magical powers, he likes to maintain the illusion that he does to keep his Mooks loyal.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: John throws Screwface #2 down an elevator shaft, where he lands on a pipe.
    • Seagal himself said in an interview that this was his favorite "kill."
  • Mandatory Unretirement: Averted. John turns down the offer to return to active duty when Screwface's territory starts spreading into the suburbs.
  • The Mob Boss Is Scarier: That Screwface is feared by his soldiers is a constant theme throughout, but it gets taken to an extreme in one scene where a mook named Nesta throws himself out a window rather than help Hatcher take down the boss man.
    Screwface give me a thousand deaths worse than you. Go find him your-fucking-self. (Jumps out window)
  • Off with His Head!: Screwface #1.


MadhouseFilms of the 1990sMemphis Belle

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