In my head Hard To Kill is the ultimate Steven Seagal movie. It was only his second major film, so we didn’t yet know that his movies were about to become A Thing. We didn’t realize that he would deliver the same soft-spoken bad assery in movie after forgettable movie for the next decade. Nope, Hard to Kill was an early introduction to the towering Zen anomaly that is Steven Seagal, and it was novel enough to seem as though it had a semi-original and cohesive story. Best of all, it had Kelly LeBrock (who became his real-life wife), making this onscreen romance worthy of pop culture history books.
As the film opens, we learn that Mason Storm (Seagal) is an honest, hard-working cop and family man whose unstoppable integrity and rogue policeman skills have led him to uncover some very shady dealings. In order to win the next election, a local senator plans to have his opponent killed! And because Mason Storm knows too much, the senator’s henchmen come after him, gunning down his wife and child in the process. This home invasion scene is super wrenching because Mason Storm is, like, father of the year, husband of the year, cop of the year, and a sweet everyman with a really cool name all rolled into one.
Though presumed dead, Mason is whisked away to a top secret hospital where he spends the next seven years in a coma. Hey! Do you know why this happens? Because Mason Storm is HARD TO KILL. Meanwhile, nurse Andy Stewart (LeBrock) faithfully tends to Mason in his comatose state, only occasionally peeking under the sheet and drooling over his rockin’ bod.
When Storm finally emerges from his coma, he has one thing on his mind: revenge. Wait, hold that thought. First he has to relearn how to walk and talk and feed himself, but next up…revenge! With the loyal and alluring Andy Stewart by his side, Storm has everything he needs to waste those assholes who killed his wife and left Mason and his son for dead. Oh! And guess what? Because he possesses the awesome Storm family genes, Mason’s son is also HARD TO KILL and is now a sturdy twelve year old. So really, all Mason has to do is take care of that whole revenge thing (so cool!), collect his son, marry Andy, and wander off into the sunset for his happily ever after. It may be simple. It may be hackneyed and overplayed, but Hard To Kill at least reminds us why Steven Seagal went on to dominate the action/thriller (and direct-to-video) market.