Another season, another Steven Seagal film. If the man has any fans left they may be shocked to discover that while it isn't anything new, The Keeper isn't all that bad.
It's hard to tell if I think The Keeper is a decent enough film because it is or simply because it's pretty good compared to most of Seagal's other recent films. I'll be honest, I've kept watching because the man's spiral into movie career suicide has been fascinating... and part of me keeps hopint he'll do a good action film again someday. Sometimes people surprise you. Even Uwe Boll made a film I didn't hate.
The Keeper is your standard Seagal film in many ways. He's a deadly cop forced into retirement after his partner shoots him during a bust gone wrong. Seagal recovers a bit like he did in Hard to Kill (one of his better films) but that really isn't the focus of the film. The action revolves around Seagal becoming a bodyguard to an old friend's daughter. That's really most of the plot: an old friend asks Seagal to guard the daughter, people try to kidnap her, and Seagal kills everyone with guns, knives, and his bare hands.
If you're here for the action there's a fair amount on hand, but beware that the film actually tries to tell the story and there's a fair amount of character exposition and dialog. It's nothing you haven't heard before and gives Seagal an opportunity to show that he still remembers how to break someone's arm and bitch slap them around. That's not really a bad thing.
So what makes this film better? Well, first and foremost Segal is actually in the film, doing his own voicework and most of the fights. The editing is much better than his last few films as well, so it's harder to tell if and when he's being stunt doubled, which is a vast improvement. The story is actually cohesive and makes sense most of the time. Picture Man on Fire starring Steven Seagal and a much lower budget and you’ll have an idea what the movie is like.
If you've never been a fan of Seagal than you can happily skip The Keeper and catch Seagal when he shows up in Robert Rodriguez's Machete next year, or maybe get a laugh out of his upcoming reality TV show Lawman instead. If you're like me, you'll find a passable film with a decent story punctuated by bouts of arm-breaking and gunfire. It's not art, but it's not a bad way to kill an hour and half.