Seized review – standard-issue cross-border beat-'em-up

Set in Mexico, this is about a British former special-ops warrior once known as Nero (martial-arts movie veteran Scott Adkins) endeavouring to save his kidnapped adolescent son (Matthew Garbacz). With its one-word past-participle title, it’s as if the makers weren’t even trying to hide that this is basically a knock-off of Taken, with much lower-wattage stars and cheaper locations.

That said, there’s a bit of satirical wit in the dialogue, particularly from Mario Van Peebles as the villainous – but not completely evil – mastermind behind the kidnapping. He plays Mexican mid-level cartel top dog Mzamo, in cahoots with Nero’s slimeball former boss, Donovan (Steven Elder), who has snatched Nero’s kid in order to force him to kill everything that moves on a pre-plotted itinerary so that Mzamo can wipe out his rival carteliers. He joshes to Donovan that when the gringos up north send their white men over the border, they’re not sending their best, only rapists and murderers – a sly inversion on Donald Trump’s infamous candidacy announcement.

But aside from the amusing dings, the movie is your standard issue, computer-game narrative: we follow along as the protagonist, filmed like a first-person shooter thanks to the camera Mzamo has insisted Nero wear throughout, kills henchman after henchman and then a series of bosses before making it to the big battle finale at a beachside mansion. All that’s missing are video artefacts, buffering pauses imposed by poor internet service and grammatically challenged comments scrolling along at the side.

Adkins is no Liam Neeson, but he’s very graceful in motion and credibly pugilistic in the hand-to-hand fight scenes – and that’s really the only thing that matters in the end for the intended audience.

  • Released on digital formats on 28 December.