When Casey Ryback is travelling with his niece by train, a group of mercenaries led by a former government operative hijack it. The terrorists plot to commandeer a new orbital satellite-based superweapon, and use it to destroy the United States eastern seaboard for fun and profit. What ensues is not fun and profit.
This film provides examples of:
- Acquired Poison Immunity: Mr. Penn has been pepper-sprayed so many times that now, all it does is clear out his sinuses.
- Almighty Janitor: Bobby Zachs, a simple porter on the train, aids Ryback in fighting the terrorists and even manages to kill some of them singlehandedly.
- Ask a Stupid Question...:
- When Travis Dane and his mercenaries interrupt the two lovebird officials they need to interrogate to activate the Kill Sat, Dane mocks them for their office romance, leading to this exchange:David Trilling: Is that what this is about?
Travis Dane: Ugh, yeah, right! I uh... FAKED my own death and hijacked a passenger train because I care about who YOU'RE FUCKING! No, I was just wondering what other rules you might be willing to break.
- When an incredulous Admiral Bates asks why the Department of Defense would hire a Mad Scientist like Dane, Breaker impatiently replies, "because, Admiral, sane people do not build weapons like this!" The Admiral, deadpan, asks Breaker if maybe there's a lesson there.
- When Travis Dane and his mercenaries interrupt the two lovebird officials they need to interrogate to activate the Kill Sat, Dane mocks them for their office romance, leading to this exchange:
- Award-Bait Song: After The Train Has Gone by Gregg Allman, Todd Smallwood, Abraham McDonald, Jean McClain and Steven Seagal himself.
- Bad Boss: Mr. Penn rips out the throat of one of his subordinates after the latter suggests just splitting before the hero, Casey Ryback, comes for them. Earlier on, he casually shoots another of his men after he's been set on fire to ensure that the burning man doesn't damage any of their high-tech equipment.
- Bond One-Liner:
- Ryback hasn't lost the touch; after a hostage distracts a mook ("I broke my bra!") for Ryback to off him, he quips: "Tits to die for."
- "Nobody beats me in the kitchen" after a duel with Penn in the train's kitchen.
- Brick Joke: Happens quite early. 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.
- The Cameo: Invoked. The film reuses an audio clip from Tommy Lee Jones as Strannix from the first film. When one of the mercenaries is told over the radio to "continue to clean up," it's Jones' voice and his reused line.
- Catchphrase: Dane's is "Chance favors the prepared mind", quoted in turn from Louis Pasteur.
- Chekhov's Skill: Ryback's niece performs an Aikido move on Bobby Zachs. Later, Bobby does the same move on a female Mook, tossing her out of the helicopter.
- Closed Circle: The battleground of this film is a train deep within the Rocky Mountains with communications cut off by the bad guys, and even if Ryback gets around that part long enough to send a fax it eventually is enforced by the Title Drop: an area that has mostly been completely abandoned and surrounded by hefty rock formations that screw with all but satellite link-ups (and Dane is the only one who has that).
- Covers Always Lie: At no time are any of the carriages burning, as shown above (not until the climactic collision on the bridge, anyway).
- Crazy-Prepared: Dane's Catchphrase is "Chance favors the prepared mind", and prides himself on always being ahead of everybody else. This gets subverted in two notable ways: first, when Sachs steals the CD with the targeting codes, rendering the satellite control useless (even the laziest computer hacker knows to make at least one backup copy), and then in the climax when Ryback deactivates the ghost program in Dane's laptop by just shooting the damn thing - and Dane, who's holding it against his chest.Dane: Never thought... of that.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Ryback kills one mook by throwing him in front of the locomotive so he gets squished by about a dozen train carriages.
- Cutting the Knot: 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.
- Dark Action Girl: Fatima, Penn's sole female mercenary. Acts include shooting Ryback off the train with a sniper rifle and performing the Eye Scream interrogation.
- Deadpan Snarker: Dane. Pretty much every line he has is a snarky or insulting remark.
- Tom Breaker can be as well, when he's not being stared down by the admiral. His best example comes after Dane has made a video call with an obviously fake background of the Eiffel Tower behind him. When someone starts asking where they should look for Dane, Breaker mutters, "Maybe we should look over Paris?"
- Defiant Captive: Sarah Ryback. She doesn't get the chance to attempt an escape, but she remains defiant throughout her whole time as a hostage and even risk her life to get a few shots in against Marcus Penn.
- "Die Hard" on an X: Whereas the first movie was Die Hard on a Battleship, this is Die Hard on a Train.
- Disney Villain Death: Several, since the train is forced to stop along some cliffs.
- Distracted by the Sexy: A quick-thinking hostage claims she broke her bra and flashes her cleavage at a mook. It's the last thing he sees before Ryback smashes his face in.
- "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The blues song at the end was sung by none other than Seagal himself.
- The Dragon: Marcus Penn is a texbook example, and like many dragons before and after him, it's clear he is the most formidable of the villains.
- Earthquake Machine: Casey Ryback has to deal with the bad guys who have got their hands on the controls for just such a Kill Sat. If that wasn't silly enough in itself, the villain uses its ability to produce "earthquakes" to shoot down a jetliner and several fighter planes in mid-air.
- 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: 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.
- Everything Explodes Ending: The Grand Continental collides head-on with a petrol train in a fiery crash, the freight and passenger cars all derail and explode, the trestle they were on collapses, and the wreck cumulates in the trestle and trains' remains at the bottom of the gorge all blowing up in a large, spectacular explosion.
- Evil Genius: Dane is described as brilliant and capable of achieving anything he sets his mind to but also sociopathic and unstable.
- Evil Gloating: After demonstrating his control of the particle beam satellite, and announcing his plan to devastate Washington, D.C., Dane adds, as a postscript:Dane: Oh, and by the way: I was smarter than all of you before I worked there, I was smarter than all of you while I worked there, and I'm still smarter than all of you. Au revoir.
- Evil Is Hammy: Eric Bogosian (Travis Dane) does what he can, chewing a Colorado forest's worth of scenery.
- Evil Is Petty: 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: Used with a combination of To the Pain as a rather effective interrogation technique.
- Fanservice Extra: When ATAC tests Grazer's spy capabilities, a technician takes time to zoom in on a nude (and uncredited) female sunbather.
- Faux Action Girl: Sarah Ryback. Early in the movie, it's established that Casey has trained her in martial arts. However, she never gets an opportunity to put those skills into practice and remains a hostage for the entire duration of the hijacking.
- Faux Affably Evil: Travis Dane always speaks in an overly polite tone that reeks of condescension and cruelty. He even tells people not to try anything in the style of a safety instruction video.
- Fingore: Happens to Travis Dane, leading to his Disney Villain Death.
- From Camouflage to Criminal: Many of the terrorists have served in the armed forces before becoming mercenaries. One mentions that Ryback was his former instructor.
- Glass Eye: One of the mooks that Ryback kills early in the movie has a glass eye.
- Heroic Bystander: One of the passengers, a man in USAF uniform, tackles a merc when he has Ryback pinned by machine gun fire. He gets shot for his trouble, but he manages to distract the bastard long enough for the main hero to come out of hiding and gun him down.
- Hollywood Law: Even when this movie was made, safety regulations would not allow communication between trains and their controllers to be so restricted. Some sort of relay system (lineside transmitters, for instance) would be in place.
- Hope Spot: The military destroys a satellite which they think is Dane's Kill Sat. They cheer before they noticed the timer still counting down right before Dane's actual Sat destroy the aforementioned plane above. Shortly after, Dane mocks the military and tells them they actually destroyed an NSA satellite before telling them he's planning to target the Pentagon next.
- Hypocrite: Dane gets worried that Ryback will accidentally kill all the hostages. Penn doesn't even need words to remind him that this is exactly what he's planning to do anyway, albeit not this early.
- I Have Your Wife: When the terrorists discover that Casey Ryback is taking them out one by one, they figure out that his niece is traveling with him from the passenger manifest so they can use her as bait.
- Invincible Hero: Ryback gets a pretty hefty upgrade in between movies. For comparison: on the first movie he gets mauled pretty badly when he sabotages the villains' getaway submarine and needs a Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind by the Girl of the Week to save his ass and some time patching up the wound. On this film, Ryback gets shot in the shoulder and the only real result is him leaving a few tiny streaks of blood on a locomotive and the sidekick noticing the wound and getting a Badass Boast in return. Aside from this, it never even so much as makes him wince or even confirmation whether or not it truly is Just a Flesh Wound.
- Ryback (pointing at wound): You think this is being shot? This isn't being shot.
- Ironic Echo: Dane throws Penn's own words back at him: "Did you see the body? Assumption is the mother of all fuck ups."
- Just Eat Gilligan: 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.
- Kill Sat: The movie features a Diabolical Mastermind who designed one such satellite for the military, faking his death, and seizing control of it to threaten Washington, DC. It shoots earthquakes — which, somehow, can also destroy high-flying bomber jets.
- Large Ham: Eric Bogosian is clearly having an absolute blast as Dane.
- MacGyvering: Ryback makes a firebomb out of resources from the train's minibar.
- Mad Scientist: The main villain Travis Dane designed the Kill Sat. The Trope is Lampshaded by the following exchange:General Cooper: He's a brilliant guy, he can do virtually anything he sets his mind to, but he's a crazy son of a bitch...
Admiral Bates: Why in the hell would you people hire a goddamn maniac...?!
Tom Breaker: Because, Admiral, sane people do not build weapons like this!
Admiral Bates: You know, Mr. Breaker... you'd think we'd learn something from that.
- Man on Fire: Ryback builds a home-made bomb to destroy the terrorists' high-tech satellite equipment, setting several of them on fire in the process. He uses a flare gun as an Improvised Weapon in the same manner.
- Neck Snap: A typical Seagal trademark, Rybacks snaps several necks belonging to random terrorists throughout the film, including Penn The Dragon.
- 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.
- Non-Action Big Bad: Travis Dane, the mastermind who hired the mercenaries and devised the plot to hijack the Kill Sat, isn't much of a physical threat. This is exacerbated by Ryback's Invincible Hero status, as The Dragon lasts only a few minutes in a fight against Ryback, Dane only seconds.
- Oh, Crap!:
Breaker: Here we go again...
- 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: Ryback survives being shot with a sniper rifle with a mere "You think this is being shot? This ain't being shot."
- Plausible Deniability:
- Discussed at length. Dane's first demonstration target is a "Fertilizer 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.
- Precision F-Strike: A literal f-bomb. After Ryback throws his homemade firebomb at a mercenary, the mercenary sees the message "You're fucked!" on the firebomb's detonator pager before being burned to death.
- Product Placement: Apple Newton MessagePad. Pity that the whole range was defunct within 4 years.
- Properly Paranoid: When Penn learns that Ryback is the mysterious stowaway, he recognizes that as long as they're not 100% sure he's dead, it's imperative to assume that he's not, and immediately orders his men to search the train, over and over again, top to bottom, UNTIL they can confirm it.
- Rail Enthusiast: The mercenary portrayed by Johnathan Banks (Scotty), who takes over as the locomotive's engineer. He puts on the (dead) engineer's hat for no real reason and the last time he's seen, it's when the Grand Continental and the petrol train are about to crash head-on, with him still on the engine and packing a big smile.
- Rank Up: While Ryback has left the Navy at this stage, he seemingly got his lost rank back before doing so, since he's shown wearing Lieutenant's bars in the ending. Presumably, this was a result of his actions in the previous film.
- 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).
- Retired Badass: Casey Ryback is retired from the navy and working as the head chef for a restaurant at the start of the film.
- Save the Villain: Averted when Ryback shuts a helicopter door on the helplessly dangling Travis Dane, 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. When he makes a lame quip about space being called space because there's so much of it, and the admiral tells him never to speak again.
- Serial Escalation: The MacGuffin weapon of mass destruction of the first film was (somewhat realistic) nuclear-tipped Tomahawk missiles. The weapon of mass destruction of this film is an earthquake machine Kill Sat. Strannix's goal with the missiles was to sell them to enemy countries (and then try to blow up a Hawaiian island when he undergoes Villainous Breakdown). Dane's plan is to turn a significant chunk of the Eastern Seaboard (starting from Washington, D.C.) into a nuclear wasteland and he turns a significant chunk of China into a chemical wasteland just as a demonstration.
- Stock Footage: The scene of the destroyed industrial facility in China recycles unused footage from another Seagal film, On Deadly Ground. In that film, it's the burning Aegis Oil facility.
- Stuff Blowing Up: The destruction of the stealth bombers and satellites, and of course, the train wreck.
- Tempting Fate: Dane insists to Ryback at the end 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.
- Terror Hero: Dane's mooks crap their pants metaphorically when they learn Casey Ryback is the fly-in-the-ointment on the train. They know how much of an unstoppable badass he is through reputation or even being under his instruction while they served in active duty.Dane: *reading from Ryback's computer* Chapter 1: Ryback's Tactics.
Dane: That's what it says, "Ryback".
Mercenary #1: Casey fucking Ryback.
Dane: Who's Casey fucking Ryback?
Penn: Casey Ryback's a former SEAL team captain. Counter-terrorist expert.
Mercenary #2: He was my instructor at Fort Bragg.
Mercenary #1: He's the best there is.
Dane: [annoyed] I thought you're the best there is, Penn.
- Thriller on the Express: In pure "Die Hard" on an X fashion. Dane even factors in the detail that the train being mobile makes it harder for the Pentagon to pinpoint his broadcasts and he does a very excessive Kick the Dog by setting the Grand Continental (and all hostages) to crash with another train carrying enough petrol to wipe out everything.
- Took a Level in Badass: Zachs starts out aiding Ryback indirectly, but eventually helps him fight the terrorists and kills two of them on his own.
- Tragic Keepsake: Sarah wears her late father's Navy Cross as a necklace.
- Villainous Breakdown: Dane 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.
- We Can Rule Together: When Dane is clinging to Ryback as he climbs the winch ladder to the helicopter, Dane screams that he and Ryback would make a great team. Ryback ignores him, assuming he can hear him over the explosions below.
- You Can't Thwart Stage One: Midway through the movie, Ryback and Zachs have a golden opportunity to bring Dane's plan to an end when they acquire the targeting CD for the satellite. At this point, they could have simply destroyed the CD, which would have completely taken away Dane's ability to control the Kill Sat, but they don't do this, and Dane ends up getting it back.
- 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.