Guitarist, martial artist, conservationist, writer, producer, animal rights activist and all-round renaissance man Steven Seagal is back in the land of direct-to-video, following his first foray onto the big screen in nearly a decade playing (and rather enjoying himself in the process) the main villain in Robert Rodriguez’s recent feature, Machete.

The film in question is Deadly Crossing – a title with two words which could easily be interchangeable with any of Seagal’s previous features and still fail to offer even a remote clue as to their actual content.

The opening credits instantly bring to mind a US cop TV show, and this is indeed a feature-length episode of a new series called Southern Justice, which has presumably been repackaged as a stand alone film to make a quid or two before the series debuts on a digital channel sometime next year.

It completely rips off those small screen CSI-style programmes too, with it’s reliance on hand-held camera work, flash jump cuts, Dutch angle close-ups and grainy-looking flashbacks, but all these visual tricks add no value whatsoever to proceedings. The majority of these scenes take place at night or in dimly-lit hallways, seemingly to camouflage Seagal’s huge girth and help distract from his perfectly sculptured woollen Ming the Merciless-esque widow’s peak hairpiece.

Seagal is no lone warrior this time around however, as he leads (in the CSI  wise mentor role) a crack unit of plainclothes police to bust Seattle’s drug trade wide open. In terms of plot, that’s pretty much it. Thankfully, the makers have drafted in a two catwalk versions of Cagney & Lacey – sassy broads who have to contend with the day-to-day challenges of sexual discrimination and harassment (which the Seattle police force appear to condone), before winning the respect and approval of their peers. Way to go gals!

For seemingly no reason, the narrative jumps back to the previous 48 hours, mid-film. Was this a script quirk or achieved during post-production when the editor panicked and decided that something was needed to bring viewers out of a state of inertia?

The list goes on and on, but in all honesty, the audience who enjoy this type of movie are unlikely to be concerned about issues like a disjoined narrative or non-existent character arcs. Ultimately, being overly critical towards a DVT Steven Seagal feature is akin to moaning that contestants on the X-Factor don’t meet the required number of octaves to achieve a perfect vocal delivery.

Everyone who has ever seen a film by the tubby ass-kicking one will know exactly what to expect, and fans will be more than satisfied, even though the days when he could physically keep up with the bad guys are long gone, as he now has to resort to popping back behind the wheel of his 4X4 to keep pace.

If anyone does decide to rent this film as a fun Saturday evening distraction (make sure you purchase more than a couple of beers to watch it with, however), in case you were wondering, that is Seagal singing over the opening credits.