U.S. Seals II: The Ultimate Force (2001)

Posted in Reviews by - March 22, 2020
U.S. Seals II: The Ultimate Force (2001)

Super fun action film from Isaac Florentine, who takes a straight-to-video property about the U.S. Navy SEALs and injects a whole new cast and sharp fight choreography into the sequel. He would do the same with Walter Hill’s modest boxing drama, Undisputed, with Undisputed II: Last Man Standing in 2006. Being a competitive sports film, that franchise managed to convincingly make the shift from boxing to MMA as a way of following the craze of the time; but turning sea-faring navy-types into kung fu masters is a bigger pill to swallow. So, Florentine creates a completely new scenario in order for all the fighting to make sense. Clean-cut Casey (Michael Worth) and nihilistic sleaze-ball Ratcliff (Damian Chapa) fall out big-time when they’re stationed in Okinawa, causing Ratcliff to go rogue and kill their karate teacher’s daughter. Three years later and Ratcliff is a top international terrorist, shagging Sophia Crawford and kidnapping a nuclear physicist to reactivate some Russian missiles in a bid to get a billion dollars from the US army. He’s hiding out on some decimated island off the coast of Siberia where no guns are allowed (of course), so they get Casey to put together a team of tough ex-service-people to parachute onto the island and beat everyone up. One of Casey’s top recruits is found in a strip-club, another is sprung from prison, which surely begs the question: what are the military actually thinking? There is plenty to laugh at here; some of the dialogue is very on the nose, and an overly zealous ADR job results in some strange dubbing decisions, and an over-reliance on the type of swooshing sound effects that Florentine probably used on his episodes of the Power Rangers. However, stick with it, because the fight choreography by former Jackie Chan stunt team member, Andy Cheng, is delightful; filmed in the Hong Kong style with long, extended takes which demand the best from the film’s stellar cast. The women in the cast deserve top plaudits: Crawford plays another one of her gangster’s moll types with ferocious zeal, and Karen Kim is especially excellent as a sword-wielding honorary SEAL who joins Worth for the ride. Andy Cheng, Daniel Southworth and Hakim Alston neatly round off the ensemble, with the final duel pitting Worth and Chapa in a rain-drenched, sword-slashing fight to the death, featuring an almighty gross-out finishing move. It’s very silly but great fun.

AKA: U.S. Seals 2.

This post was written by
Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a laptop in London, UK.

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