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For the video games see Under Siege and Under Siege . Under Siege is also a book by Stephen Coonts

Under Siege is a 1992 action film. Directed by Andrew Davis, it stars Steven Seagal as a former Navy SEAL who must stop a group of mercenaries, led by the insane villains Tommy Lee Jones and Gary Busey, on a U.S. Navy battleship.

Under Siege was followed by a 1995 sequel, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory.


A band of ruthless mercenaries, led by cocky and psychopathic ex-CIA agent William "Bad Billy" Strannix (Tommy Lee Jones), board the American battleship USS Missourimarker BB-63 during her final voyage to steal its arsenal of nuclear Tomahawk Cruise Missiles. They arrive in the disguise of a musical band called "The Bail Jumpers" and caterers hired for a surprise birthday party for the captain, and they seize control of the ship with the help of the corrupt and bullying Executive Officer, Commander (or Lieutenant Colonel) Krill (Gary Busey), who is equally psychotically unstable as Strannix. They plan to sell the nuclear weapons on the black market by unloading them onto a renegade submarine Strannix had covertly stolen from North Koreamarker while on a previous CIA mission. Several of the officers are killed during the takeover, including Captain Adams (Patrick O'Neal); the rest of the ship's company are imprisoned below decks in the forecastle save for stragglers in secured areas. Strannix and his men also take over the ship's weapon systems for defense, shooting down an F/A-18 Hornet, and plan on covering their escape by launching a missile strike into Honolulumarker that will obliterate tracking systems in Pearl Harbormarker (at the cost of many lives).

The only thing in their way is the ship's cook Casey Ryback (Steven Seagal), who is really a Chief Petty Officer and former Navy SEAL with extensive special-weapons and counter-terrorism training. He was relegated to his current posting for striking an officer who had gotten his men killed in a botched commando mission during the invasion of Panama. He had lost his security clearance and was only able to serve as a yeoman or a cook. Luckily, Ryback is a good cook and at the beginning of the film, can be seen making bouillabaisse for the captain's birthday.

Prior to the invasion, an anxious Krill provokes a brawl in the galley with Ryback. Ryback assaults the officer, and Krill, unable to imprison him in the brig without clearance (or attracting attention), detains Ryback in a freezer. After the ship is captured, Krill finally recalls Ryback and Strannix offhandedly sends two mercenaries to eliminate him. Instead, Ryback dispatches the unsuspecting mercenaries and proceeds to cause havoc amongst the boarders with the limited help of Playboy Playmate "Miss July '89" Jordan Tate (Erika Eleniak), an innocent civilian and stripper hired for the festivities. Krill responds by attempting to drown his own crew in the forecastle using the fire extinguisher system, and ambushing Ryback should he attempt a rescue. Ryback locates a group of sailors in hiding and with them engages a successful counter-strike, saving the crew and eliminating a considerable number of Strannix's forces. As Strannix's men regroup, Ryback shuts down the Missouri's weapon systems, leaving the craft vulnerable to an incoming Navy SEAL team.

As the battle for the ship continues, the submarine crew shoot down both the Navy SEAL troop transport and its AH-64 Apache escort with shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles. The Pentagon responds by ordering an airstrike that will destroy the Missouri and all aboard. Strannix regains control of the ship's weapon systems, and the Tomahawks are finally loaded onto the North Korean submarine, departing with Krill on board. With the aid of Jordan and his fellow sailors, Ryback uses the battleship's guns, still not yet decommissioned, to sink the submarine with Krill still inside.

Strannix, standing on the deck, suffers a major concussion from being in the proximity of the Missouri's guns as they are fired. Severely disturbed, he orders the remaining mercenaries out of the control room as he launches two nuclear-tipped Tomahawks towards Honolulu. One of the two missiles is destroyed by fire from a fighter jet, but the other continues on its course. As the sailors recapture the ship, Ryback finds his way into the control room, where he is caught off guard and captured by Strannix. Strannix becomes crazed and rants to Ryback about U.S. President George H. W. Bush (which he refers as their mutual "master"), letting his guard down long enough for Ryback to brutally kill him and take the launch codes needed to destroy the remaining missile. The holocaust on Honolulu is narrowly averted, as is the Pentagon's airstrike on the Missouri.

At the end, the remaining crewmembers are freed from their belowdecks prison as the ship sails towards harbor. As he is checked by a doctor, Ryback kisses Jordan Tate as the crew looks on and cheers. The film ends with a ceremony for Captain Adams being held on the decks of the Missouri, showing the captain's casket with flag draped, and Ryback is shown saluting in his dress uniform in the final scene.


USS Missouri

Production and distribution

Based on an original screenplay by J. F. Lawton, Under Siege was rated 'R' ('Restricted') by the MPAA. The UK release was edited for violence to get a more commercial 15 certificate. Ten seconds were removed from the film, chiefly from the workshop fight and a shot of Seagal ripping out a man's throat. It was followed by a sequel, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory.

The film makes extensive use of the IntroVision process, a variation of front projection that allows realistic three-dimensional interaction of foreground characters with projected backgrounds without the heavy cost of traditional bluescreen effects. The technique was also used in the films Outland, Megaforce, Army of Darkness and Andrew Davis' The Fugitive.

Critical and box office reception

On its opening weekend, Under Siege made $15,760,003 from 2,042 theaters, with a $7,717 average. From there, it went on to make $83,563,139. Worldwide, it made $156,563,139.

The movie was also a critical success, with many hailing Tommy Lee Jones and Gary Busey as the villains. Rotten currently has a 74% fresh rating on the film.

Also, the film was nominated for two Academy Awards.


Tommy Lee Jones, Andy Romano, Eddie Smith, and Tom Wood all appeared in the film The Fugitive, released the following year, also directed by Andrew Davis.

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