Code of Honor

Code of Honour
 •  ,  •   • Dir.

Reviewed by   |  Feb 26, 2024

For a while now, I’ve been wading my way through Steven Seagal’s back catalogue in the vague hope of stumbling upon a hidden gem. Having seen the trailer for ‘Code of Honor’, it felt like this revenge thriller could be a step up from his other recent crapfests. Sadly though, it wasn’t to be…

After two rival drug gangs are brutally slain, the police are left baffled as to how it could have happened. That is until FBI agent William Porter (Sheffer) appears on a scene; a man who has dedicated his life to tracking down the person he believes to be responsible. That man is Colonel Robert Sikes (Seagal), a former Special Ops agent who has reportedly turned vigilante after his wife and child were murdered. As it happens, Sikes was also Porter’s mentor so if anyone knows how to find him it’s Porter. With the various cartels also setting their sights on Sikes, the race is on to see which side of the law will be able to get to him first.

While he may be prominently featured on the cover and gets top billing, ‘Code of Honor’ isn’t really a Steven Seagal movie. Sure, he pops up every now and again to shoot some pimps and pushers but for the first 48 minutes of the film, he doesn’t even have a single line of dialogue. Surprisingly, there is a reason for this (and it’s one that you’ll probably realise fairly early on) but it does mean that fans of the plus-sized slapper are likely to be instantly disappointed. The real star of the show is in fact ‘Nightbreed’s Craig Sheffer and while his performance as a gruff alcoholic leaves a lot to be desired, there really isn’t much for him to work with here. What little plot there is just involves Sheffer stumbling around from location to location and shanking a few bad guys, before finally facing off against Seagal in the “all-action” finale. There are a couple of familiar faces introduced along the way, most notably Louis Mandylor and James Russo, but ultimately they serve very little purpose and the film feels hollow, to say the least.

As for the action, the majority of what ‘Code of Honor’ has to offer is resigned to very simple shootouts. The ones involving Seagal feel like little more than an excuse for him to play dress up, as he sits alone in full army gear with a gun propped on a table while bad guys drop like flies out in the street. It’s hardly exciting to watch and each sequence is only made all the worse by the dreadful blobs of CG blood that splatter all over the victims. Meanwhile, Sheffer does have a few confrontations during his investigation, but most of them are limited to a few punches or stabs and fail to create anything of merit. Of course, the real highlight is reserved for the film’s conclusion as our two main characters finally go toe-to-toe in an epic battle! Well, actually it’s more blade-to-blade and quite frankly it’s embarrassing. Most of the scene is shot in the dark with both actors being heavily doubled, and all they do is flail their knives around a bit before one falls through a window.

‘Code of Honor’ has a mildly promising Punisher-esque premise but it’s utterly wasted in the execution. There’s very little action on offer and Seagal is just a secondary character in a movie in which his name and face are plastered all over the packaging. Everyone else is utterly wasted and the one plot twist the film has up its sleeve is signposted a mile off.

Phil Mills
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