For anyone who reads my bad movie review series, it is probably easy to figure out that most of the movies I have collected for my bad movie stack are fairly older films; some older than myself. It’s not a matter of preference, as I’ll take any bad movie I can get my hands on. The most common are horror and sci-fi movies with a four digit budget, but I have irregularly found more recent movies in my dives of pawn shop movie racks. A decent amount of them are the kind you hate yourself for watching, like Tooth Fairy 2. Last week, I found The Asian Connection, and thankfully I don’t feel terrible for watching it.
The Asian Connection (2016) stars a name you can’t help but love for mediocrity. Steven Seagal stars as Gan Sirankiri, a drug lord who is learning that a lieutenants of his is untrustworthy. Gan’s money was stolen from a bank that recommended to him by this close lieutenant, resulting in Gan sending him off to find this bank robber to kill him.
Our main protagonist Jack is the man knocking off these banks, with his trigger happy boozer pal Sam. These two unwittingly make off with drug money and begin to plan for their next heist, meanwhile spending their ill-gotten gains. Sam buys liquor and a new car, and jack shows his girlfriend Avalon the piles of bills. After Jack vehemently tells his girlfriend to not ask where it came from, promptly followed by the two making out on top of the money pile. I can’t imagine that would be pleasant for your back, but the thought of making out with your lover with hundreds of Benjamins surrounding you is stupidly amusing; especially if you take it out of context.
But the money loving is not forever, as Gan’s lieutenant, Niran, catches up to Jack and blackmails him into robbing more banks housing Gan’s money. If Jack doesn’t comply, Avalon will be taken and Jack will be handed over to Gan for punishment. Jack complies and recruits an unknowing Sam for more robberies. This is where the film begins to falter.
Eventually devolving into essentially an extended montage, Jack and Sam repeatedly break into the world’s most insecure banks and make off with more of Gan’s money. Periodically, the police or gang members will intercept them and a gunfight will ensue. It becomes white noise and goes by fast, until Sam is killed. What will Jack do now that his second is gone? Fortunately for him, his girlfriend volunteers, having then found out where the money kept coming from. Jack counter-blackmails Niran, and an agreement for one last job is made.
Thus we get the seemingly cliché lovers as robbers part of the movie, yet the both of them surprisingly live. As we near the end of the film, everyone starts mobilizing. Jack and Niran both meet at a temple, with Gan and thugs making their way there. Jack kills Niran and Avanlon suggest the ‘wise’ option to switch cars with Niran’s car. I should point out here that no one else knew their car. There was no reason to switch cars, except for the finale to happen.
As I predicted in this first viewing of the film, their new car immediately gets them noticed by Gan, who the pursue Jack’s new car into an industrial complex on the shoreline. A bland gunfight ensues, with Jack taking out some of Gan’s men before eating a bullet from Gan. As Jack breathes his last, he pleads with Gan to let Avalon go, to which he agrees. She flees and we cut to our final scene with Avalon’s voice fondly remembering the great person Jack was. He was a great man, if you ignore the bank robbery, vehicle theft, lying, murder, and
putting his girlfriend in repeated danger. What a great guy.
The Asian Connection would be on my mediocre list if it weren’t saved by its laughable characters and writing. Seagal’s attempts to be an intimidating badass drug lord are hilarious, as is his appearance. Unfortunately for the man himself, Seagal has become a huge man, and it does not help his role of Gan to be taken seriously. In one scene he is teaching a girl martial arts moves, and I was unable to keep myself from laughing as Seagal was swirling his arms around. Undoubtedly he has the skill in martial arts, but he looks silly doing this while wearing what looks like a cheap Halloween robe with an equally cheap medallion.
If you have the opportunity to see this movie, I challenge you to watch it without laughing when Seagal shows up. If nothing else, you’ll kill an hour and a half. The Asian Connection isn’t a complete waste of time, but not a remarkable use of it either.