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Film: Under Siege
Die Hard ON A BOAT!! One of Steven Seagal's greatest films. It was released in 1992.

Casey Ryback (Seagal) is a valued cook on the USS Missouri, which is undergoing one last party in Pearl Harbor before it goes to San Francisco to be decommissioned. The captain of the ship wanted Seagal to show up in his dress whites with full decorations, but he refused; he eventually said that the captain's birthday was tomorrow and he needed to make bouillabaisse for it, which lets him off the hook.

The captain's birthday is coming, and a surprise party is arranged. Food will be flown in, and so the pesky cook has to be Locked in a Freezer — though not before the bouillabaisse is spat on and he attempts bodily harm on the XO making the plans. He is guarded by someone on orders not to let him out or listen to him. He isn't let out...

Anyhow, this is an elaborate surprise party. There is a band featuring Tommy Lee Jones and a cake containing Miss July. Everyone is allowed off shift — though the captain didn't want that. And there's a clown car's worth of mercenaries ready to take over the ship once everyone's had enough champagne. That's right — a hijacking!

The captain and operations officer are killed; most of the rest of the crew is locked into the forecastle, and a few other sailors get locked in the engine room. The hijackers now have control of a ship with nukes on it. It occurs to them that the kitchen, where our cook is, is not blocked off from the weapons room, so they send someone in to finish off the pesky cook...

Of course, the pesky cook kills him first, and leaves a bomb in a microwave when he finally escapes. He sneaks up to the captain's room, finds him dead, and finds the cake with Miss July in it, unopened. She's alive, but she's missed everything. She's also a self-proclaimed pacifist and The Load...

The XO then finds the cook's service record, which had been locked in the Captain's "eyes only" safe. When they do find it, they learn that he was a Navy SEAL, one of the best ever, who, after a mission in Panama went wrong, lost all his ranks, leaving him only qualified to be a yeoman — or a cook. Unfortunately for them, he still has the skills of a SEAL...

They try to keep to the plan anyway — the plan being to transfer the nukes to a sub that the CIA thought had been destroyed by mercenaries. The leader of the mercenaries in question is the band leader helping with the hijacking.

Good triumphs eventually, but it triumphs messily.

It has a sequel, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995), which involves a plot to hijack a train which happens to be carrying Ryback, which is part of a larger plot to hijack a new orbital satellite-based superweapon, and use it to destroy the United States eastern seaboard for fun and profit. Naturally, asskickings ensue.


Tropes that appear in the film series:

  • Acquired Poison Immunity: The Dragon in the sequel has been pepper-sprayed so many times that now, all it does is clear out his sinuses.
  • Action Girl: In the first film, Jordan starts off as a quivering mess but evolves into this trope.
  • Actor Allusion: Jordan Tate is "Miss July '89" — actress Erika Eleniak who played her, was, in real life, Playboy's Playmate of the month of July 1989.
  • Affably Evil: Strannix is very much this, before his Villainous Breakdown.
    Strannix: (looking at the carnage Ryback has left behind) Doumer, Doumer, Doumer... why didn't you hire this person? I don't know what his price would have been but it would have been worth it.
  • Almighty Janitor
  • Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: As Doumer is about to shoot Chief Ryback, several shots ring out and Doumer falls to the deck dead. Behind him is standing Jordan Tate (Erika Eleniak), Ryback's Love Interest, with a gun in her hands.
  • Berserk Button: It's not really a good idea to spit in Ryback's soup. He takes it kind of personally.
  • BFG: The 16" guns of the Missouri. Which Ryback uses to sink the sub.
  • Big Bad: Strannix in the first film, Travis Dane in the second.
  • Big Good: Admiral Bates is presented as this in both films. He's of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and takes control of HQ for the good guys. In the first film, he's already there, and in the second he is the first senior person of authority called.
  • Bond One-Liner
    • "Keep the faith"
    • Hasn't lost the touch in the sequel; after a hostage distracts a mook ("My bra broke!") for Ryback to off him, he quips: "Tits to die for."
    • "Nobody beats me in the kitchen."
  • Brick Joke: Happens quite early in the second film. In the first scene, everyone jokes about how the Kill Sat is, as far as the world knows, a boring, ordinary weather satellite and will never figure out the truth. The first thing that Bates says on entering the room is that no one had better try fobbing him off with a claim that the room exists to control a mere weather satellite.
  • Bring It: Strannix to Chief Ryback during their knife fight.
  • Captain Obvious: Bates declaring "We gotta lot of trouble on that ship" when he's just finished talking with Ryback in the middle of a heated gunfight is certainly redundant.
  • Catch Phrase: "Chance favours the prepared mind" is Dane's in the second film.
  • Chef of Iron: And how! Seagal's character is obviously not to be messed with.
  • Chekhov's Skill: In the sequel, Ryback's niece performs an Akido move on Bobby Zachs. Later, Bobby does the same move on a female Mook, tossing her out of the helicopter.
  • The Chosen Zero: The main character, of course.
  • Cut Himself Shaving: Commander Krill says he cut himself shaving as an explanation for Ryeback slashing his face. It was a better story then saying that he put Ryeback in the kitchen storage.
  • Cutting the Knot: In the sequel, Dane informs Casey that he's too late to stop the Kill Sat at that, even if he weren't, he'll never be able to crack the encryption on his laptop to do it. Casey's solution? Shoot the laptop.
  • Da Chief: Averted by Admiral Bates in the first film. Upon finding out that Ryback has ignored his orders to avoid contact if possible and is busy trying to kill all the terrorists himself, the Admiral's response is thus:
    Chief Ryback: I'm sorry, sir, you can court-martial me if I live, sir!
    Admiral Bates: All right, Chief... you are hereby authorized to do whatever is necessary to regain control of that vessel. Because if I can't control you, I might as well at least support you!
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Dane in the sequel.
  • Dark Action Girl: Fatima, Penn's sole female mercenary, in the second film.
  • Darkened Building Shootout
  • Defensive Feint Trap
  • Die Hard on an X
    • First movie: Boat!
    • Second movie: Train!
  • Disney Villain Death: Several in the second film, since the train is forced to stop along some cliffs.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Happens to some poor mook in the sequel.
    I broke my bra.
    • Averted in the first film, during a memorable sequence in which Erika Eleniak's character bursts out of a cake, topless. Although Ryback's attention is diverted, he's still in control of the situation and quickly takes charge.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: the blues song at the end of the sequel was sung by none other than Seagal himself.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Casey claims he doesn't like guns and so does Jordan, but both end up using firearms. Casey is generally more at home using knives.
  • The Dragon:
    • Krill in the first film, being Strannix's inside man and deputy across the operation
    • Marcus Penn is a texbook example in the second movie, and like many dragons before and after him, it's clear he is the most formidable of the villains.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: Implied in both films, with Krill in the first and Penn in the second successfully intimidating their employers with threats when the operaton is threatening to fall behind schedule.
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: Travis Dane makes a threat video on the train with a picture of the Eiffel Tower as a backdrop. Tom Breaker feebly suggests searching Paris for Dane.
  • Every Helicopter Is A Huey: In Under Seige 2 the terrorists hijack the train in a matched pair of Hueys, one of which apparently vanishes into thin air sometime before the climax. This appears to happen more because it'd be a really cool way to hijack a train than because it makes any logistical sense at all.
  • Evil Is Petty: In the sequel, one of the investors gives Dane an extra $100 million to target the plane carrying his ex-wife.
  • Exact Words: Penn gives Dane a look when he tells the passengers that they will be allowed off the train at the next stop. What he actually means is that they will all be murdered when the train is blown to pieces, but he insists that he's still technically right.
  • Eye Scream
    • In the first film, Ryback gouges out Strannix's eye before killing him off.
    • Used with a combination of To the Pain as a rather effective interrogation technique in the sequel.
  • Finger in the Mail: Strannix recounts a tale of how he sent his CIA superior the fingers of two assassins who were sent to kill him.
  • Fingore: Happens to the Big Bad in the second film, leading to his Disney Villain Death.
  • Hidden Depths
  • Hypocrite: Dane gets worried that Ryback will accidentally kill all the hostages in the second film. Penn doesn't even need words to remind him that this is exactly what he's planning to do anyway, albeit not this early.
  • Just Eat Gilligan: In the sequel, Ryback gets his hands on the encoded CD the villain needs to complete his plan fairly early in the film, and spends most of the rest of them movie trying to keep the villain from getting it back. He should have just broken the darn thing, and permanently derailed the villain's plot.
    • The one who gets the CD is the porter who's fairly dim. Also, neither of them really know what the CD does (it has targeting codes for the Kill Sat but only the bad guys know that) so it may be needed to reverse what they're doing.
    • Also, he doesn't have the CD for very long; there is a difference of seconds between getting the CD and being shot at by a bunch of Mooks, and in the middle of that he drops the CD.
  • Jumping Out of a Cake: At the beginning.
  • Kill Sat: The main threat in the sequel.
  • Kinda Busy Here: Casey Ryback is shooting it out with the hijackers when he gets a call from the Reasonable Authority Figure, and his female sidekick answers.
    Admiral Bates: "I'm trying to get ahold of Ryback."
    Jordan Tate: "He's in a gunfight. I'll have to take a message."
  • Large Ham: Tommy Lee Jones (Strannix) and Gary Busey (Krill) look like they're having an absolute blast in the first movie. Jones in particular is complete over the top villainous awesome.
    • Eric Bogosian does what he can as well, chewing a Colorado forest's worth of scenery.
  • Lethal Chef: Inverted and played with. Ryback is known in-universe as a great cook, but he still can kill you by other means.
  • The Load: Jordan, although she shows Action Girl potential in the last 20 minutes of the film
    • She's also pretty Genre Savvy. He tells her to stay back "where it's safe". Her reply, "The safest place on this ship is three feet behind you!"
    • The sequel has Morris Chestnut's porter character who is semi-helpful but spends most of the movie getting lectured by Ryback and getting into lethal situations that require rescue.
  • MacGyvering: Ryback improvises explosives and other tools using a combination of everyday objects like paint thinner and military implements like gunpowder from a grenade.
    • In the sequel, he makes a bomb out of resources from the train's minibar.
  • Mad Scientist: Travis Dane in the sequel. Designed the Kill Sat. Trope is Lampshaded when Reasonable Authority Figure asks why the Mad Scientist was hired to design the uber-super-weapon; when told that sane people don't design them, the admiral notes that most people would learn something from that...
  • The Mole
  • Ms. Fanservice: We are introduced to Erika Eleniak when she jumps out of a cake in a naval officer's uniform which she quickly strips off to reveal a great pair of tits.
  • Never Bring a Knife to a Fist Fight
  • Never Found the Body:
    • Dane himself was this after he apparently drove his car into a lake. It's easily missed, but in the opening sequence someone actually asks if Dane's body has been found as part of the exposition about who he is.
  • Noodle Incident: How and when Ryback and Strannix met previously.
  • Not So Different: Flipped around, from Segal's protagonist to Jones' antagonist.
    Ryback: "We're the same, you and I."
  • A Nuclear Error
    • Averted when it's stated that hitting nukes with high explosives won't set them off.
    • Played straight when a self-destruct code transmitted to a cruise missile in flight causes it to blow up.
      • It should be noted, that the nuke didn't go nuclear, it just detonated its self destruct and fell from the sky.
  • Obfuscating Insanity: Strannix uses this when dealing with the brass monitoring the hijacking to misdirect them from his true motives.
  • Oh Crap: Seal Team 5 in the first film when faced with a heatseeker-wielding mook aiming at their helicopter. Ryback and his gang watching the same scene from too far away to assist.
    • In the second, a few of the mooks have this reaction to finding out the person killing off their men is Ryback.
    • After the first scene, Tom Breaker's appearances in the second film are an Oh Crap reaction that never goes away until right at the end of the film. He seems to have developed a mortal fear of needing to speak to Admiral Bates for anything after Bates' understandably negative reaction to his having accidentally caused the events of the first film.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: "You think this is being shot? This ain't being shot."
  • Our Presidents Are Different: Subverted in that the real president at the time, George H.W. Bush, is shown sending the ship off before its final voyage, even if he's not involved in the bulk of the movie.
  • Plausible Deniability: Discussed at length in the sequel. Dane's first demonstration target is a "Fertiliser Plant" in China which is actually Chemical Weapons factory; something that everyone knows but pretends to be oblivious about. As a result, the Chinese aren't going to want to advertise the disaster or investigate the mysterious "Earthquake".
    • One of the government officials also invokes this, pointing out no-one knows that the "Earthquake" was actually caused by a American Kill Sat, that the Americans have built a Kill Sat, nor that it had been stolen by terrorists.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: While there is some brutal violence, the headshots (most notably in the first film) are clean and leave small, relatively bloodless holes.
  • Psycho Supporter
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: Under Siege 2 is Under Siege ON A TRAIN! Small wonder that a common joke after the release of Snakes on a Plane would reference this by suggesting that the sequel would be Snakes On A Train.
    • There is a movie called Snakes On A Train (however it's a Mockbuster, not a sequel).
  • Save the Villain: Averted in the sequel when Ryback shuts a helicopter door on the helplessly dangling villain, cutting his fingers off and letting him fall to a fiery death.
  • The Scrappy: Invoked, for humour. That one annoying balding guy in the glasses working for the Pentagon in the sequel. When he makes a lame quip about space being called space because there's so much of it, an admiral tells him never to speak again.
  • Sentry Gun: The Phalanx CIWS aboard the Missouri.
  • Shout-Out: Strannix and the submarine crew use names like "Roadrunner" and "Wile E. Coyote" as codenames, referencing the classic Warner Bros. cartoons. Guess which studio Under Siege is from.
  • Stuff Blowing Up
  • Technology Marches On: Ryback's Apple Newton and the use of a CD as a storage medium in the sequel.
    • Also, Travis Dane's laptop with a then-ludicrous gigabyte of RAM (ca. 1995, 8 megabytes were standard).
  • Tempting Fate: Dane insists to Ryback at the end of the second film that there is nothing whatsoever he can do to stop the Kill Sat. He admits he didn't think of it when Ryback shoots the laptop controlling it, and Dane himself through it.
  • Thriller on the Express: The second film.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Jordan Tate changes from The Load to an Action Girl when she pulls a Bait-and-Switch Gunshot to save Ryback's life.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Strannix goes completely insane after Krill is killed, and his eardrums burst due to the shockwave from the Missouri's 16" guns firing, including babbling about cartoon characters.
    • Dane in 2 also has a bit of a breakdown when the Kill Sat CD is stolen, but goes back to normal when he gets it back. Of course, he has another one once Ryback starts messing his plans up big time.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: "Oh they're still here! I don't need them anymore, they can go away now" - Travis Dane say this to the two captains, who are immediately thrown from the train and off a cliff, after they have given him the codes to the Kill Sat.


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Troll 2Films of the 1990sDie Hard on an X

alternative title(s): Under Siege; Under Siege 2 Dark Territory
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