By: Jacob Bloodee Jacob Babcock
Ticker was released in 2001 and it starred Tom Sizemore, Dennis Hopper and of course martial arts legend Steven Seagal! It was directed by Albert Pyun whose work always seemed to be somewhat up and down in quality with some solid action sci-fi efforts and others that just under delivered and faded. However he is responsible for one of my personal favorite Jean-Claude Van Damme flicks, Cyborg!
Here is one of his more “conventional” films and it’s still somewhat different for a Steven Seagal movie too. Pyun did have issues with Nu Image as he wanted the movie both longer and less Seagal-centric where as the studio sort of pushed for it to be more structured and edited as more of a clear Seagal vehicle. There’s been awful examples of studio interference so much in the past decade especially but in this case I think things turned out fine. Let’s be honest I watched this movie for Seagal’s sake so making him have more of a role worked for me and if the runtime was any longer I fear it would have felted dragged out.
The film follows a cop (Sizemore) and bomb squad lieutenant “Frank Glass” (Seagal with the cool on the nose character names as always) who are both making efforts to apprehend the late Hopper’s character as they are driven by their own recent personal losses. What transpires isn’t so much of an action film as it is a crime thriller that despite a short run time still feels methodically paced out and stays fairly engaging.
This isn’t a usual Seagal affair, as I said it’s not an all out action movie but I do believe it delivers some decent shoot outs by the end and action genre fans crave as well as Seagal in some usual but fine enough fight scenes with a touch of humor as guys literally one after the other are climbing over a barricade after him. “Frank Glass” ends up being one of Seagal’s better characters as some more thought than usual is put into both his backstory as well as his dialogue and yes even wisdom that Seagal delivers smoothly as he and Sizemore’s character share a genuine moment of bonding and confiding in each other which I didn’t expect. It may not seem like much but it’s things like that that make a movie stand out to me. I did enjoy Dennis Hoppers baddie here “Swan”, he had just enough charisma without hamming it up. Jaime Pressly (My Name is Earl, DOA: Dead or Alive) is terrific too, she’s obviously hot but emotive as an actress and there’s more with her character than you’d think going in.
Overall definitely overlooked and probably cracks my top ten Steven Seagal films. I have been dubbed the “foremost expert in Seagalism” more than once and I am owning it as he is probably my favorite martial arts action star at this point, and it’s more under the radar movies like this that help cement that.