I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Vern reviews Steven Seagal’s BELLY OF THE BEAST!

Hey folks, Harry here… Vern, being one to only see the arty movies like the ones he mentions below is the perfect choice to review that hero of the Arthouses… I’m of course talking about Steven Seagal and his latest starring success… …ahem… Anyway, lest you get tired of reading about Seagal’s Private Investigator on Drudge-linked stories, now you get the skinny on the top man himself. And if you ever sit down with Seagal for lunch, play the… “How would you kill me” game, where you just continually ask him, once every 4 minutes or so how he would kill you. I hear this is amazingly entertaining as Seagal has an endless variety of ways to kill the annoying fuck sitting across from him. Go on, give it a try!

Vern reviews BELLY OF THE BEAST by Ching Siu-Tung

Boys –

I know you are fans of the hong kong cinema, martial arts, karate, and etc. So I bet you probaly know who Ching Siu-Tung is. Or maybe you know him as Siu-Tung Ching, or Siu-tung Chin, or Tony Tung Yee Ching, or Xiaodong Cheng, or Tony Ching Siu Tung, or just plain Tony Ching. I don’t know, the dude has lots of names. But the point is not what the dude’s name or names is, the point is what the dude does. He may not be as well known in the united states of america as your John Woos or your Yuen Woo Pings or your Tsui Harks. But I bet you’ve seen some of his works before.

Belly of the BeastThis is the man who directed A CHINESE GHOST STORY 1, 2 and 3. This is also the man who directed the SWORDSMAN 1, 2 and 3. And ROYAL TRAMP 1 and 2. He choreographed the fights for Johnny To’s fucked up super hero movie HEROIC TRIO and then went on to direct its sequel, a dark little postapocalyptic fucker we call EXECUTIONERS. He also directed NAKED WEAPON, NEW DRAGON INN, THE DUEL, MAD MONK and DR. WAI AND THE SCRIPTURE WITHOUT WORDS.

Not that I’ve seen most of those movies but I bet you have. Good shit, right?

Well now Mr. Ching, or Xiaodong as some call him, or Siu-Tung, but he lets me call him Tony– well Tony has directed BELLY OF THE BEAST, a Canadian/UK/Hong Kong co-production in the language of English. It will be released here on the DVD type format on December 30th, the eve of the futuristic year 2004. Although it is in a bit more of an americanized style, Tony was able to do the kung fu choreography and include many of his usual motifs and themes: magic and mysticism, stylized martial arts with wirework, swordplay and even androgyny/gender confusion (the main theme of the SWORDSMAN trilogy).

BELLY OF THE BEAST is a tale of international type intrigue. Two men, Jake and Sunti, were undercover with a drug cartel in Thailand ten years ago when their cover was blown. They had to shoot their way out and Sunti accidentally killed some poor lady holding a baby. To atone for his sins, Sunti became a buddhist monk.

But now Jake’s daughter has been kidnapped, allegedly by the terrorist group Abu Karaf, but he thinks by someone else. So Sunti abandons his peaceful life as a monk and to save the innocent the two of them must outsmart and outfight gangsters, cops, CIA, terrorists, military police, an asskicking transvestite and a magic archery dude powered by some voodoo wizard.

This movie is all over the map. It begins in the real world of cops and drug dealers, but ends with a duel between black magic and buddhist prayer. There is a very complicated plot with lots of different factions, some nice Thai scenery and many varied flavors of action.

The down-to-earth characters like the cops and the terrorists do not use kung fu, they have a closer hand-to-hand style, like streetfighting or aikido. They use guns, so there are machine gun shootouts which do alot of damage to the surroundings, and Tony puts alot of effort into making them look poetic with tiny bits of debris showering everywhere in slow motion, sort of like snowflakes.

Then as the plot gets more complicated Tony begins to introduce more magical characters who use traditional weapons like swords or a bow and arrow. These characters can fly on wires and do alot of showy posing. Their fights are more exaggerated – they can kick people into the air or cut a whole table in half with one swing of the sword. The character of Jake is really our eyes and ears inside this movie, or the main character if you will. He starts out with the more normal style (he is an american CIA agent) but he is knowledgeable of asian culture and history, he wears a tunic also. As the movie goes on he begins to use swords and shit and he is powered by a temple full of praying buddhist monks which makes him do more kung fu type shit with an obvious stunt double, because the guy playing him is kind of too chubby and slow to do any impressive moves.

Oh yeah, one thing before we go on, I don’t know if this is relevant at all but this character I mentioned named Jake… well. There’s only one way to put this. He’s played by Steven Seagal.

Okay, so many of your readers do not share my interest in Seagalogy, but I hope you fuckers can hear me out for a minute here okay. thanks.

First of all, Mr. Seagal is obviously taking this role very seriously. Like Robert DeNiro in RAGING BULL and Benicio of the Wolf in FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS, Seagal has gained alot of weight to play this character. He plays Jake Hopper as a big dude, about twice as big as the characters he played in ABOVE THE LAW and OUT FOR JUSTICE. I know, I know, alot of people make fun of Seagal for his new size, and because he moves so slow. I think in this one though they actually made him look kinda intimidating. I never noticed him being all that tall before but here it seems like he’s about six inches to a foot taller than every single other character.

And you know how Clint Eastwood makes his age a theme in UNFORGIVEN, IN THE LINE OF FIRE, BLOODWORK, and etc.? Well Seagal is taking baby steps toward that type of approach. Usually he plays an ex-CIA doctor, or an ex-CIA fireman or some stupid shit like that. Here I guess he’s an ex-CIA CIA agent, because he’s retired but then he makes money under the table breaking into places and stealing secret information for his friend in the CIA. So anyway, he breaks into this place, does some somersaults and slides around on the floor and shit, and you can hear him breathing like he’s really out of shape.

Then – and I swear on christ’s balls I’m really not making this up – as he’s sneaking back out of the place he stops and checks to see what’s in the fridge. Okay, so all he takes is a bottle of water but still. He checks the fridge. That suggests some fuckin self awareness.

After that you find out that his daughter (pre-kidnapping) is very protective of him and cooks up pre-tupperwared meals with post-it notes telling him not to eat red meat and shit like that. And then later on a CIA agent refers to him as a “washed up old man.” That’s about it but at least he’s headed in the direction toward movies that acknowledge that Steven Seagal is the only person who buys Steven Seagal as a young, healthy action hero.

Now I’m not gonna blow smoke up your hole and say this is one of Seagal’s best works. I still think OUT FOR A KILL (2003, d: M. Oblowitz) and ON DEADLY GROUND (1994, d: S. Seagal) are his funniest. But this one has some good laughs and hits some of the classic Seagal motifs. And Tony’s contributions definitely make this a unique chapter in the Seagal saga.

When I saw THE EAST IS RED (1992, d: Tony) I gotta be honest, I had no fuckin clue what in shit’s name was going on. Maybe it woulda helped if I had watched the other ones first, or even knew there were other ones, but I doubt it. I couldn’t make heads or tails of the plot, or tell its asshole from a hole in the ground, or whatever the saying is. But you know what? I didn’t care. Because all I knew was there was some lady that was really a man named Asia the Invincible and people were flying around doing kung fu in midair and shooting yarn out of their hands and birds out of their mouths and who knows what kind of crazy fucked up shit is gonna happen next. Nobody knows. I was pretty impressed by that one.

Tony uses a similar technique in BELLY OF THE BEAST, in that it is hard to follow. But not in that you don’t care. It’s not good enough to make up for not making any sense. First we see the girls kidnapped by terrorists, and the CIA thinks it was the Abu Keraf, because they got a video from the Abu Keraf showing them holding the girls hostage and making demands. But later Seagal says it wasn’t the Abu Keraf, and the CIA knows it, and next thing you know he’s fighting these magic kung fu people and there’s a wizard in a temple somewhere poking needles in a voodoo doll. I must’ve missed something in there somewhere.

There’s some funny Seagal stuff in here. You know how Seagal always finds somebody getting picked on in a bar or club and saves them? In this one he helps a gal (hooker?) getting pushed around in a dance club where he is going to meet “an old friend” from the CIA. As he’s leaving the club she says, “I want to thank you for what you did for me at the club.” And they’re still in the club!

Later she comes home and finds her roommate dead (in a wedding dress?) so Jake and Sunti take her somewhere else (explained in an awkward voiceover) where she flashes back to what just happened 30 seconds ago! “There was blood everywhere!” Seagal comforts her, if you know what I mean. If you don’t know what I mean, what I mean is it dissolves to them fuckin.

She’s like half his age and one third his size and they just met and she found her friend dead ten minutes ago and he says it’s his fault. So they start fuckin. Don’t worry though, this is not french or directed by Vincent Gallo, it’s not real graphic.

But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t love his deceased wife. There’s a scene where his daughter (how many movies use the line “After mom died, I’m all he’s got”?) is locked up in a cell praying to her mom to help dad save her. Meanwhile Seagal is in bed kissing his wedding ring. It’s kinda like that scene in AMAZING MOUSE TALE ADVENTURES or whatever, the statue of liberty mouse cartoon. You know little Fievel is up on the roof singing “Somewhere Out There” and his sister is doing the same thing on a roof miles away. They don’t know it but they’re BOTH up there, looking at the same moon, thinking about each other.

Have you ever been in the dentist’s office and they play that song? You always picture those mice up there singing, but it’s the adult contemporary version so there’s a guitar solo, so you picture a mouse steps out onto the roof playing a guitar. I think I speak for all of us on that one.

Anyway I never watch cartoons, for your information IMO.

But about BELLY OF THE BEAST. I think there is a little bit of Seagal’s subversive politics in there, but it’s pretty muddled. He definitely seems to be saying something about governments using “the war on terror” as an excuse for other agendas. He even explicitly says something about “since 9-11” but nothing too blunt. I always like how Seagal puts this kind of more challenging stuff into his dumb action movies. But come to think of it maybe I should be angry. Have you ever wondered – maybe Seagal really DID used to work for the CIA (or “the company” as he calls it) and now he’s a sleeper agent. If this pony-tailed clown with the fancy shirts is making movies about government corruption, ecological carelessness, the plight of Native Americans, etc., then nobody will take these legitimate causes seriously. It would be a sinister plan.

Anyway, most Seagalogists don’t care as much about the political type subtext as they do about the action. Seagal is just as slow and unconvincing as in all of his recent movies, and whenever “he” suddenly does a big spin kick or something without his face showing it is laugh out loud funny. But his opponents are pretty good, and there are some cool action ideas that I liked.

I like action movies where the hero has to fight against the Man, so I like that Seagal decides to kick everybody’s ass while handcuffed inside the police headquarters. That’s an uphill battle we’ve all considered before so you gotta commend the dude.

Then there is a part where Seagal sees that a sniper is about to shoot a dangerous terrorist. But the terrorist may be the only person that knows about where his daughter is, so instead he kills the sniper even though “a whole world of trouble is gonna come down on us.”

But the best action stuff is the weird stuff only Tony would do. For no reason at all, one of the bad guys is a man passing for a woman (think Asia the Invincible). Seagal pulls the poor guy’s shirt down and says “I liked you better as a bitch.” The guy wears heels and does wire fu but unfortunately Seagal defeats him pretty quick.

In the final battle Seagal fights a guy who shoots arrows at him. The first arrow goes in slow motion and Seagal shoots it apart in mid-air. The guy keeps shooting more arrows and Seagal actually cuts one in half with a sword.

I know, I know, bullet time and all that. But you have to admit if it was anybody other than Seagal it would be a great badass moment.

The weirdest thing about the movie is how in the last fight the arrow guy is being powered by a magic wizard and Seagal is being powered by a temple of Buddhist monks praying. I guess it is modest by Seagal standards to attribute his fighting to religion instead of him just being a tough guy. But still I wouldn’t think buddhist monks would want to use their prayers to help some guy kill another guy. But then I’m not the reincarnation of Rinpoche, so I guess I wouldn’t know.

Now I know you guys probaly want me to go on all day about this movie but I’m gonna have to cut it short because I can’t give it all away for free. Major publishers please feel free to contact me about publishing my complete guide to the Seagalniverse, SEAGALOGY: THE FILMS OF S. SEAGAL. Otherwise, that’s it for today.

thanks,

Vern

I know, I know, I never fuckin update

Originally published at Aint-It-Cool-News: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/16500

View the archived Ain’t-It-Cool-News Talkback

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 9:27 a.m. CST

    LAST

    by beggar13

    Booyahh!!!

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 9:35 a.m. CST

    “Gained a lot of weight TO PLAY THIS CHARACTER”?!?!?!?

    by FluffyUnbound

    How long have they been planning this flick? The guy has been a house for some time now. That’s like saying Brando gained a lot of weight for this role he has coming up in a few years.

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 9:35 a.m. CST

    Benicio of the Wolf? W(olf)TF!

    by BTSMGL

    Benicio del Toro…bull, not wolf. Benicio of the Bull. *sigh*

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 9:38 a.m. CST

    dolt

    by Heywood Jablowme

    Toro means bull, not wolf, dumbass. Does your grasp of the Spanish language allow you to translate “pendejo”? Chinga tu madre and Steven Seagal is a turd that should’ve been flushed back in 1986.

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 9:40 a.m. CST

    DAMN I WANTED TO BE LAST

    by PHINSTAR

    Please no more seagal…….washed up hack.The last one i watched (cant remember the name) i swore there was frames missing in the film to try and make him look faster.

    But then again i guess you gotta make them regular payoffs for the money you borrowed.

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 9:44 a.m. CST

    I think the sequel should be called Bowels Of The Beast with Hul

    by Chaffro

    “This stinks, brother.”

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 9:45 a.m. CST

    Yeah, but tell me…

    by Ray Garraty #47

    DOES HE STILL RUN LIKE A GIRL?

    That’s all I want to know.

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 9:46 a.m. CST

    waste

    by purplemonkeydw

    nicely done, but irony is wasted on these talk backs.

    most entertaining review since cumpston.

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 9:49 a.m. CST

    “irony is wasted on these talk backs”

    by Nordling

    Ain’t that the fuckin truth.

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 9:59 a.m. CST

    For the record

    by FrankCobretti

    You rock, Vern.

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 10:04 a.m. CST

    The review wasn’t poetry

    by reelgriff

    But by God it was funny.

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 10:19 a.m. CST

    E True Hollywood Story

    by Itchy

    I was stuck in a hotel last week and caught the Seagal True Hollywood Story. God is this fuck pathetic … so pathetic, I almost want this flick to succeed just so he’ll hang around. Here’s a connundrum – what’s sadder ? Steven Segal or the way Jean Claude Van Damme used to drop the “me and Sylvester Stallone and Arnold” line every time he was interviewed, trying to fool people into thinking he was in their league ?

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 10:20 a.m. CST

    Greatest Seagal story ever

    by hector

    One day an executive walked into Seagal’s trailer and found him crying. “I’m reading this script,” the actor sniffled. “It’s the most incredible script I’ve ever read.”

    “Oh, wow. Who wrote it?” asked the executive.

    “I did,” Seagal replied.

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 10:22 a.m. CST

    So well written, I couldn’t tell if Vern was joking for the firs

    by Almost Sexy

    Reminds me of a great old Simpsons bit where two kids are talking and the first kid says something really dumb, to which the second replies “Oh yeah, that’s a ‘great’ idea.” The first kid notices his rather acerbic tone and says “Are you being sarcastic?” The other kid gets this sad look on his face, pauses for a second and then says “I don’t even know anymore.”

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 10:31 a.m. CST

    Meeting of the superpowers

    by ricepice

    Just think if we were to get Segal, that fat Chinese bastard Sammo Hung, and Harry together in the same movie and they could band together to form the greatest fighting force known to man… They could like fly around on wires all “fat man kung fu style” and throw down beat downs on bad guys trying to close the local Western Sizzlin or something… Ahhh man, just the thought of the sexual tension between them is enough to get the ladies to cream their jeans… Nice review too.

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 10:31 a.m. CST

    Seagull: Death is too good

    by UK Warmachine+

    Seagal fucking? Could any sane sentient being survive the filming of this scene? Is the Girl in an asylum? And what the hell is with Seagal churning out ‘movies’ at the moment? Van Damned and Seagull are clogging up the shitter of straight-to-video/dvd at the moment. Where the fuck is Seagul a big draw nowadays? Russia? Thailand? Albania?

    Oh, and another thing, where is the rapper? Seagull NEEDS Ja Rule.

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 10:37 a.m. CST

    If I were Seagal, I wouldn’t use the word “Belly” in any of my f

    by JohnnyFriendly

    Joe Garelli on “News Radio” said it best : ” Seagal !? That fat fraud is a slap in the face to everything the martial arts stand for ! ”

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 10:55 a.m. CST

    Yes, but was the movie good???

    by NubtheSquirrel

    Of course not! Too bad it doesn’t have Segal fighting on hot air balloons. This flick sounds like utter crap and an complete waste of my time. If nothing better is playing, I still won’t go see this waste of celluloid.

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 10:56 a.m. CST

    “Gained a Lot of Weight to Play This Character?” Which Characte

    by hipcheck13

    He’s the Orson Wells of chop socky, daddy-oh. The quickest he’s moved in the past 15 years is when someone rolled the free donut tray past him.

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 11:03 a.m. CST

    Seagal is just setting us up.

    by Fred

    In another 5 years he will drop 75 lbs., start hawking a secret Buddhist weight loss regimen involving yak urine, and make millions.

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 11:34 a.m. CST

    jesus h seagal!

    by Captain Katanga

    are there seriously people in this talkback that dont realise vern’s “gained a lot of weight” remark was a joke? and a damned funny one? Just like vern’s last seagal review, hilarious, but i really despair of the talkbackers sometimes…

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 11:38 a.m. CST

    Seagal fights terrorists in air balloons

    by GypsyTRobot

    Is this the one with terrorists in air balloons, or is it the upcoming flick with orphans ‘n’ organ-stealing set in Alaska?

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 11:50 a.m. CST

    Funniest talkback since that olsen twins thing a while back…

    by Jon L. Ander

    shame half of it’s unintentional. Rock on Vern

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 11:57 a.m. CST

    Definition…

    by BigPoppi

    If you look up the word “atrocity” in the dictionary “Belly of the Beast” will be the definition.

    Someone must have some very incriminating pictures of Ching Siu-Tung for him to have made this film.

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 12:19 p.m. CST

    He kills me

    by Glass

    Vern, you kill me. You really do. You gave me a good laugh, buddy.

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 12:27 p.m. CST

    I rented Swordsman 2 once,

    by Almost Sexy

    I only got through 20 minutes of in and decided to go to sleep. The next morning I woke up and decided to start over from the beginning, got through about 25 minutes of it, and just decided to go back to Scarecrow and see if Jump Tomorrow was out yet (it wasn’t as of that time, although it is now and I highly recommend it, one of the ten best films of 2001). It was a very poor translation (I don’t know Chinese)and it seemed like all the fight scenes were either at night or in shacks with extremely low light levels. It seemed very dodgy. The scene with the horse getting bifurcated with “Energy from Sword” was great though. And the abrupt and jarring claymation shot as Jet Li’s horse jumps the cliff. I had to rewind a few times on that sequence. Definitely not Hero, but I read the cover and got as far as the part about the trans-sexual swordsman and headed to the counter.

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 12:41 p.m. CST

    Christ, I have to remember to read the whole review.

    by FluffyUnbound

    Of course, that interferes with what I most want to do, which is rush to hear myself talk about the first thing in a review that interests me. Damn you Vern. Put the funny stuff at the BEGINNING. What? That interferes with your fine craftsmanship? TOO BAD. Ahem. Is it too late to pretend that when I pretended not to notice that your review was ironic, that I was layering irony on top of your own irony? Layering, that’s the ticket.

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 1:20 p.m. CST

    Fat Force Four….

    by Boris the Blade

    Seagal, Sammo, Chong Li, and Harry. Force as in they’re a force to be reckoned with, four as in they’re 1, 2, 3, 4 of them, and fat as in the elevator starts beeping when they get in.

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 1:22 p.m. CST

    BTSMGL

    by Boxclocke

    Right with you. Seriously, the WOLF?! Learn what your talking about, man…

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 1:24 p.m. CST

    FUCK YOU AND DIE

    by E.C.

    Best quote of all-time, and it came from Seagal’s not-fat-at-the-time mouth.

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 1:31 p.m. CST

    My favourite morally repugnant steven seagal moment..

    by Jon L. Ander

    In the one where he’s fighting the sterotyped jamiacans there’s a car chase where the bad guys plow through a play park. Then Stevo not only wades in after him, but starts a nice little firefight from his car window as well!Way to protect the innocent Steve!

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 1:52 p.m. CST

    Of the bull, of the wolf – who fuckin cares

    by Vern

    Both are clearly mammals. what the fuck man. If you knew I was talking about Benicio del Lobo then there’s no problem here, so move along. Anyway yes, I forgot to mention that the title itself is another bit of Seagal’s new self awareness. The title does not apply to the movie unless you take it literally. I don’t know why Seagal would be the beast but maybe it just means he’s a tough dude or something, I don’t know.

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 2:13 p.m. CST

    CAPTAIN MAUZNER ALERT! CAPTAIN MAUZNER ALERT! This movie was sc

    by Charles Grady

    The screenplay for BELLY OF THE BEAST was written by none other than screenwriting genius CAPTAIN MAUZNER, who co-wrote the final James Cox draft of WONDERLAND. He is to James Cox what Paul Schrader was to Scorsese….if they both had no talent and were smarmy film school geeks with a tittering approach to material they pretended to be taking seriously. Anyway, why is his first name CAPTAIN? What is he a CAPTAIN of? I saw a Q&A with Cox and CAPTAIN MAUZNER at a WONDERLAND screening in Hollywood, and no one asked him why he calls himself that. Certainly no one would name their kid CAPTAIN. I suppose it’s just a little inside joke between Mauzner and his peers, but I want to know the deal.

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 2:35 p.m. CST

    that was a very funny review.

    by Chuck L Nuts

    Seagal is comedy gold, and vern’s review made it even funnier!

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 3:20 p.m. CST

    Seagal’s Beginnings

    by Jervis Tetch

    I am reminded that Steven Seagal’s entire movie career began, around 1989, because then SuperAgent Mike Ovitz was taking martial arts lessons from him and bought his talk. “I’m gonna make you a star,” Ovitz told Seagal — and he did, immediately getting Warner Brothers to make “Born to Kill” or “Home for Lunch” or whatever it was. But Ovitz ain’t so super anymore, and Seagal ain’t got no support…Hollywood, they make ya, they break ya.

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 3:51 p.m. CST

    Strange enough…

    by BillEmic

    If the director of Swordsman II and The Duel being forced to work with the likes of Seagal isn’t bad enough…I saw at IMDB that *Donnie friggin’ Yen* is a martial arts/fight “director” on Seagal’s next film, titled The Yakuza. It’s bad enough that The Yakuza are Japanese but they have Donnie Yen working on it, ensuring that it’ll be Chinese martial arts they’ll be using. Oh, and the once great Corey Yuen is also collaborating on it as well. It’s sad to see great Hong Kong directors/action coreographers reduced to doing direct-to-DVD b-movies. Sometimes it can work (I still think Tsui Hark’s Knockoff is one of THE best directed action films of all time, done in a mad, kinetic comic book style), but most of the time it turns out as pure, unadulterated crap, and a waste of their talent. Donnie Yen is extremely talented and it saddens me to see him reduced to instructing Seagal how to move his over-sized limbs in every scene. Donnie deserves better…even his miniscule role in Blade II was more respectable.

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 4:53 p.m. CST

    Seagal is like…..

    by Cletus Van Damme

    ….the little redneck shitheel kid who, instead of using his tooth fairy money for a dirtbike or some roofies, uses it to buy ninja stars, flea market swords, and Bruce Lee whackoff posters. He then proceeds to impress his fellow 7 year old with this crap, and they stay impressed until about age 10 when they start asking why he doesn’t do all those “fancy chink moves,” he panics and talks his mom into letting him have the money she usually gets for recycling his stepfather’s beer cans. He takes that money and enrolls in karate lessons and then cowboy boots, shiny shirts that would surely bewilder anyone in his geographical vicintiy, should his mad karate skills fail him. After becoming somewhat skilled, he goes to school dressed in jeans, sportsjacket, cowboy boots, optional bolo tie, and greases his hair back in the locker room (a’la “Something About Mary) and then kicks the ass of the biggest girl at school, thus cementing his position in middle school lore, as well as a special place in his cousins’ hearts. Give me a fucking break with this guy already.

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 5:15 p.m. CST

    this is fuckin’ hilarious

    by PlantBoy!

    I wish all reviews on this site were like this…at least the reviews of bad movies.

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 5:44 p.m. CST

    by hector

    Didnt somebody post a report a few months ago about a live Mr Show show where all they did was play clips of Fire Down Below and rip it to shreds? That says it all, when the funniest two guys on the planet cant find anything funnier than that movie… comedy gold.

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 5:54 p.m. CST

    Heywood Jablowme…great Spanish!

    by super Cucaracha

    How can somebody not know what Toro means? Heywood, you forgot this one: Come Verga Puto!…and Vern, your excuse is not valid when you say that they’re both mammals. Sheeez!

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 7:33 p.m. CST

    Who ate all the pies?

    by Dinkle

    “out of shape”… yeah well that perfectly describes his career…. put on weight for this movie? What bullshit I’m sure he’s been getting fatter by the movie.

  • Nov. 14, 2003, 8:43 p.m. CST

    ideas man

    by stradlater

    this review was wicked and fucking hilarious. vern you should write something for seagal, a meaty role, that would really do him justice, and include a scene about a burning orphanage, and for some reason, at the end, seagal can fly, and he carries all the children out of there, and they get revenge on the head mistress of the orphanage, and then the dog that everyone thought was male has a litter of puppies.

  • Nov. 15, 2003, 2:04 a.m. CST

    you mean its suppossed to be sarcastic?

    by SYCOone4

    funny review…….. i like the movie where he breaks the guys arm. ummm wait which one was that again. no no its the one where he kicks out the guys kneecaps.. um no wait …nevermind. . . . they all suck

  • Nov. 15, 2003, 2:35 a.m. CST

    Can’t wait for Seagal’s new movie: “DIE KILL FIRE DEADLY DIE DIE

    by jackburton2003

    should be really good.

  • Nov. 15, 2003, 3:12 a.m. CST

    AlmostSexy

    by ScienceMan

    AlmostSexy, the Simpsons episode you refer to is the one where Homer goes on tour in the Hullabalooza fest with the Smashing Pumpkins. Vern, great review. Everyone who says irony is wasted in these talkbacks is only half right – some of us are with you (most us born before the mid-80s and not weaned on that hack Tolkien). Benicio Wolf/Bull whatever… perhaps Vern was making an allusion to “Brotherhood of the Wolf.” Really makes you think. Now go out there and do the right thing.

  • Nov. 15, 2003, 4:56 p.m. CST

    Save Steven Seagal’s Soul

    by Seagalmustdie

    http://www.angelfire.com/film/soulofseagal/

    Here’s a page I set up for people to help save Seagal’s soul from the grips of Satan.

  • Nov. 15, 2003, 5:51 p.m. CST

    Ven is Pretty Funny

    by king’s ex

    …laughed out loud. Good post.

  • Nov. 15, 2003, 7:26 p.m. CST

    Vern, another classic

    by DukeDeMondo

    Truly, i relish every syllable of your reviews. Your review of Out For A Kill is still bookmarked in my favourites. Man, some funny, funny shit. Also, if any Asian producers (or even non-asian producers provided they have nice trousers) would like to get in touch with me, i have a great idea for a “Vs” movie worth seing : Ricky-Oh versus Ichi!!! How cool would that be? If we could only get Peter Jackson to stop fooling around with hobbits for forty seconds he could even direct it! Maybe a cameo from Lionel!! “Not now mum, i’m fighting Ricki-oh with my lawnmower!! Go back to your boil-riddled custard!” Wow, sometimes i just get ideas that are like are like pellets of gold from Shakespeare’s anus. Way to go Vern. Completely without irony (since, being a member of this coomunity, i don’t understand the concept anyhow) or sarcasm, you are one of my favourite writers currently working. Good stuff, comrade.

  • Nov. 15, 2003, 7:34 p.m. CST

    Just wait till tarnatino calls him up

    by DukeDeMondo

    Seriously, when QT writes a line or two about how DVD isn’t as good as 8-track, and gets Segal to do it, then we’ll all look like prats. I mean, come on, were’nt people once saying this kindo f stuff about John Travolta. Well, people are STILL saying this kind of stuff about John Travolta but, ah, he’s a scientist or something now so. Fuck off. Also, there’s something a little inhumane about this. It’s a little like the scene in Knowing Me, Knowing You where Alan Partridge has been the only one not to be invited to a party. Sorry, but that’s just not funny. It’s cynical and inhumane. But anyway, thats no excuse for making shite films.

  • Nov. 15, 2003, 10:34 p.m. CST

    “you may think you’re above the law…..but you’re not above MY

    by Rashad McCants

    holy shit steven seagal is fuckin’ awesome! Cinematic gold, ladies and gentlemen.

  • Nov. 16, 2003, 2:52 a.m. CST

    “If this pony-tailed clown with the fancy shirts is making movie

    by Tarl_Cabot

    Hahahahahahaha!!!!! Great review! Where do I buy your book? That’s some seriously funny shit you’ve been writing here dude. Thanks. :)

  • Nov. 16, 2003, 4:22 a.m. CST

    I swear on christ’s balls I’m really not making this up …

    by irritable

    Well, OK, if you’re going to drag the Sacred Testicles into this, I guess you’re not exaggerating. Beautiful work, Vern. Glad you spotted the ironic, self-referential deconstructionist sophistication in Seagal’s more recent ouvre. Jabba the Hutt as culturally sensitive Athlete. I hadn’t thought of that before.

  • Nov. 16, 2003, 9:40 a.m. CST

    Steven Seagal is the greatest actor in Hollywood today…

    by Grey19

    …it’s just that nobody recognizes his true genius. OK serious now, that was some funny shit! I couldn’t stop laughing, good job Vern, you sir are truly a master of your trade. I salute you for your work and wait expextantly for your next review. All reviews (of utter garbage films) should be like this.

  • Nov. 16, 2003, 10:11 a.m. CST

    This is one of the best reviews I’ve ever read!

    by The_Thin_Man

    Hell, I’m almost convinced to go and see the film, this guy makes it sound so hilarious. Almost.

    But on the subject of classic Seagal films – “Marked For Death” is the tops. It’s the one where ol’ loghead plays an ex-cop (doesn’t he always?) trying to clean up the streets which are teeming with a gang of drug-dealers led by the absurdly monikered Screwface, a Jamaican Rastafarian played by the even-more-absurdly-monikered Basil Wallace (I mean, who thinks up these names? How come every Hollywood Rasta seems to have a name that would do an English earl proud? “Sir Basil Wallace the second” – has a certain ring to it, doesn’t it?) I particularly like the scene where our Steve gets his head pushed through a glass table TWICE, and not only is he not particularly dazed by this treatment, but he hasn’t got a single scratch on him. What Seagal really needs to drown out his own lack of showmanship is a superbly camp villain, and Wallace’s Screwface makes a superbly camp villain. “Marked for Death” is the kind of film that repressed traffic-wardens watch after they finish the night shift, imagining that THEY’RE the ones cleaning up the streets of appallingly-acted scumbags. And I can’t give this film higher praise than that!

  • Nov. 16, 2003, 10:05 p.m. CST

    CLASSIC

    by Superpaddy

    That review was the dog’s bollocks, I just sprayed water all over my work console because I was drinking while reading, and convulsed in laughter at Vern’s mockery. Doesn’t Segal realise that Under Siege was the highpoint, and that was fully 10+ years ago? You were lucky to get away with it as long as you did, you greasy dago fuck, give it up. Wasn’t there some rumours years ago, back around the time of NICO, that he really had been a CIA killer, before getting into acting? Anybody? And to the poster who referred to Van Damme always grouping himself with Arnie and Willis, I do remember the little Belgian shit doing that; he used to make it seem like they all hung out in his place at the weekends.

  • Nov. 17, 2003, 12:40 a.m. CST

    Vern is god, and we’re all his slobbering lap-dog bitches.

    by Beatrice_Kidd

    Seriously.

  • Nov. 17, 2003, 3:10 a.m. CST

    superpaddy

    by DocPazuzu

    racist prick.

  • Nov. 17, 2003, 7:29 a.m. CST

    “One day an executive walked into Seagal’s trailer and found him

    by Tarl_Cabot

    That’s priceless.

  • Nov. 17, 2003, 4:33 p.m. CST

    Sammo Hung versus Steven Seagal

    by zinc_chameleon

    An interesting comparison, I think. You could make fun of Sammo’s weight, but it would take two trips to get your parts to the emergency room. So why’s Sammo cool and Steven a wash-up. Cause Sammo *knows* he’s fat, and because he still trains everyday. Otherwise, they’re basically the same age.

  • Nov. 17, 2003, 6:13 p.m. CST

    DocPazuzu

    by Superpaddy

    I admit I should not have used the word dago in my post above; in my defence I was trying to emulate the sort of dialogue you find in a typical Seagal movie, but it may not have come across as such. But calling me a racist prick is a bit harsh, or are you one of those PC dickheads who combs through sites actively seeking out that which will cause offence. Furthermore

    “dago” is a disparaging term for an Italian, Spaniard, or Portuguese. Though all Meditteranean peoples, they would nevertheless be classified as caucasian, as am I, so how the fuck can I be racist against someone of my own race – answer me that, you ignorant, humorless asshole. I’m Irish and don’t blow my top when someone calls me a paddy or a mick, as they often do. Get over yourself.

  • Nov. 18, 2003, 1:07 a.m. CST

    Damn, what to do…

    by St.Buggering

    I love Ching Siu Tung. Swordsman 2 is one of the all-time great wuxia films, and I absolutely love Heroic Trio. But I swore a sacred oath to never again see a Seagall movie. Hell, life is too short to watch some has-been corpulent dick-monkey pretend to be an action star, no matter who the director is. Somebody wake me up when Ching Siu Tung works with Jet Li again. Jet needs the help.

  • Nov. 18, 2003, 3:04 a.m. CST

    superpaddy

    by DocPazuzu

    “ignorant”…. that’s funny. Let me get this straight — anyone of northern or central European descent who’s prejudiced against people of southern Europe can’t be a racist since they’re all caucasians? That’s even funnier. Furthermore, if you can find one more person here who doesn’t find the term “dago” offensive and racist, I will be very impressed. Also, I wouldn’t use your own insensitivity to derogatory Irish epithets in public as a standard to live up to, if I were you — at least not without a helmet.

  • Nov. 18, 2003, 3:27 p.m. CST

    hack, dago, and vern

    by kylerayner

    First of all, what a priceless review. There are too many funny bits to count, though “Seagalologist” (or was it simply “Seagalogist”?) just kills me. /// Hey pazuzu, I don’t find “dago” offensive. I know Italian people who don’t find it offensive. Much like Vern’s review, its use has much to do with irony. I wouldn’t use it without knowing my audience, however, so maybe your interlocutor is in deep doodoo (I didn’t read his post, so I can’t say). /// Hack? Tolkien, a hack? Explain, please. If you don’t like it, that’s one thing, but I do NOT see hackdom. Piers Anthony is a hack. Dennis McKiernan is possibly a hack. David Eddings might be a hack. But Tolkien? Please.

  • Nov. 18, 2003, 6:27 p.m. CST

    kylerayner

    by DocPazuzu

    Agreed. The ironic use of racial slurs among people of whatever group the label in that case applies to is a whole different story. If, on the other hand, an individual were to spout off those kinds of words among strangers he’d only have himself to blame if he got his clock cleaned.

  • Nov. 18, 2003, 7:08 p.m. CST

    DocPazuzu

    by Superpaddy

    Nice to see you come back with something that at least resembles a cogent argument, as opposed to your initial two word attack. First, in fact you do have it straight

  • Nov. 19, 2003, 12:45 a.m. CST

    semantics

    by DocPazuzu

    “And I say that you are the prejudiced one, for in your rush to defend the nations of Southern European from my jocular use of a harmless term, it seems clear that you doubt their own ability to ignore my foolish jibe, that you doubt that they are a self-assured confident lot, secure in their rich history and vibrant cultures. I have no such doubts.”… You presume to know where I’m from and what my particular ethnic makeup is — or rather what it’s not — based on my post. After all, being as sensible as you are, you are immediately able to deduce this since nobody in that “self-assured confident lot, secure in their rich history and vibrant cultures” could ever possibly take offence to your remarks. Furthermore, engaging in the splitting of hairs over “racist” or “bigoted” terms and actions constitutes a real danger. By making one seem more acceptable and less perilous than the other, you make it that much easier to set the groundwork for a world of hurt. You don’t need to lecture me on what groups of people fall under the caucasian label, I’m not an idiot. Slavs are also caucasians, but weren’t fit for anything but slave labor and wholesale slaughter in the Third Reich. By your reasoning, Hitler’s “biogtry” towards the Slavs rather than his “racism” towards them somehow made their suffering different. I find racism and bigotry equally odious, and equally worthy of contempt and condemnation. On a final note, if I were Italian or Irish (and I might be both, or neither) and someone I didn’t know called me a dago or bogtrotter, I’d punch their lights out.

  • Nov. 19, 2003, 2:08 a.m. CST

    DocPazuzu

    by Superpaddy

    I have absolutely no idea what your ethnicity is, nor do I consider it relevant, as racism may only hurt those at who it is directed, but it is universally offensive. But to recognise the clear distinction between racism as a particular form of bigotry, and bigotry per se, is not splitting hairs, nor does it constitute

  • Nov. 19, 2003, 4:13 a.m. CST

    superpaddy

    by DocPazuzu

    You make your case for not being a racist or bigot quite convincingly, and I do take your word for it. However, using words like that in “unknown waters” as it were, you are — quite legitimately — courting hostile reactions. The situation being as it is, you did take pains to explain yourself, which is commendable. Still, I don’t feel I did anything wrong in reacting the way I did. If I had known you on a personal level, I wouldn’t even have flinched if you had said it in my company. Since I didn’t, the only thing I saw was casual indifference on your part in who you might possibly offend — ostensibly “prickish” behavior. I can see I have no quarrel with you otherwise, as I mostly agree with what you’ve said subsequently, apart from my racial epithet allergy somehow promoting bigotry. Far be it from me to beat a dead horse, so as far as I’m concerned the issue is resolved.

  • Nov. 19, 2003, 7:47 p.m. CST

    DocPazuzu

    by Superpaddy

    Agreed! Thank you for taking my word for it, and I do apologise for any ofennce caused, it was certainly not my intent and I will take greater care with my future use of language. It was fun though, thrashing the issue out with you, and hope we can do it again, though perhaps on a topic more relevant to this site! Take it easy.

  • Nov. 20, 2003, 9:26 p.m. CST

    Docpazazu, Superpaddy… Glad you both got that out of your syst

    by JimboLo

    … Can we return to the actual point of this talkback, which is to make fun of, and insult, Seagal and his “movies”? Thanks a bunch.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Friday, November 14th, 2003 at 10:23 am and is filed under Action, AICN, Martial Arts, Reviews, Seagal. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Vern reviews Steven Seagal’s BELLY OF THE BEAST!”

  1. Not a wedding dress but a shower curtain, a perfectly understandable mistake as it may seem easy sometimes to confuse one for the other…

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