So once again we have survived.

Vern Ponders Seagal’s MERCENARY FOR JUSTICE Linguistics!!

SPOILER ALERT !!

Merrick actually looked up how to spell “shittiness”…

Vern just sent in this review of Steven Seagal’s new MERCENARY FOR JUSTICE.

Wow…what a sad title. Ever notice how the shittiness of titles seems commensurate with a project’s budgetary considerations, release plans, etc.? Someone should develop a “Historical Scale of Titular Shittiness” to see if this theory holds.

Seagal once broke Sean Connery’s wrist while training him for NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN. Let’s see if he now breaks Vern’s heart…

Hello, my name is Vern and I am currently rated one of North America’s top three or four practicing Seagalogists, as well as one of the top two Verns on google. I am the man to come to for the inside dope on every new Seagal picture. However for the last one, BLACK DAWN, the guy who gets me the early screeners fell through and I had to rent it after it hit the shelves just like anybody else. No big deal, I can take my lumps, but there’s a few guys out there – I remember Fat Paul was one of them, and a few others – they’re asking me if I can hook them up with the early review. And as someone who strives for excellence, I got no choice but to come through.

I missed my screener for MERCENARY FOR JUSTICE too but I managed to score the actual DVD just 48 hours before they hit the streets, and I’m here to share my preliminary findings. It’s an Easter miracle.

Mercenary for JusticeMERCENARY FOR JUSTICE is the most convoluted Seagal picture in a while. Seagal, obviously, plays a mercenary (for justice) and his best friend Radio Jones (no relation to Cuba Gooding Jr.) has convinced him against his better judgment to take a gig fighting against the French in a small island nation in southern Africa. They’ve been hired by the two main villains of the movie, and for the first time in a long time they got actors I like (and have heard of) to play the heavies. First of all you got “CIA Dirty Deeds Man” Dresham, played by Luke Goss. I don’t have to explain to Ain’t It Cool Newsies who Luke Goss is, because we all loved him as Jared Nomak in BLADE II.

The more impressive casting coup though is Roger Guenveur Smith. You might not know who that is but you’d probaly recognize him. He’s in six Spike Lee movies, most famously as Smiley in DO THE RIGHT THING. If you saw GET ON THE BUS, he was the cop on the bus. If you saw that Soderbergh show K STREET he was Francisco Dupré, the mysterious new guy at the firm. I guess he was in OZ, too, as well as KING OF NEW YORK and DEEP COVER. He plays alot of different types, but especially slick smooth-talker types with gentle voices. Here he does all that but goes more over-the-top and evil than usual, and seems to change his mind about what accent he wants constantly throughout the movie. Like at the end of TERMINATOR 2 when Robert Patrick gets fucked up and starts going through all the different forms he’s shapeshifted into before.

So maybe it’s not his best work, but I was still surprised they managed to get this guy in a 2006 Seagal movie. Seagal has faced many esteemed villains in the past, including Academy Award Winner Tommy Lee Jones (UNDER SIEGE), acclaimed playwright Eric Bogosian (UNDER SIEGE 2), BLADE II’s Kris Kristofferson (FIRE DOWN BELOW), and Academy Award Winner Michael Caine (ON DEADLY GROUND). But that was a long time ago. I think the last “name” villain he fought was Morris Chestnut in 2002. He’s no Michael Caine and that was ten movies ago.

Anyway Smith plays Anthony Chapel, “Black Opps Producer” (that’s how they spell it onscreen), the guy who hired the mercenary team (for justice) but didn’t tell them they were working for the CIA.

“I want these… independent contractors to think they’re liberating these people,” Dresham says to Chapel, but they agree they’re actually trying to “get rich off of diamonds and oil.”

In the midst of a heated gun battle, Seagal and his buddy Radio agree that they’ve been set up by the CIA. Radio announces, “I shouldn’t’ve dragged you into this, John. They used me to get ahold of you, man! AAAARGGGHHH!!” The last part of that sentence is his way of saying “I just got shot a bunch of times and there’s blood tripping out of my mouth.” Not surprisingly, if you’ve ever seen a movie before, Radio soon asks Seagal to “take care of Eddie and Shonda” and then dies.

Meanwhile, the rest of the mercenaries (these ones not as much for justice), led by a couple of racist assholes from South Africa, have been kidnapping the French ambassador and his family. They use these hostages to help the team escape safely to the US, but Seagal is pissed at them for doing it.

In this opening battle there has been covert ops (or opps), a CIA led coup, a good dose of betrayal, and a cameraman being killed by soldiers. It kind of seems like Seagal might be going back to his ABOVE THE LAW roots, getting into preachy CIA corruption stories again. Or at least making a murky foreign policy thriller in the tradition of Jack Abramoff’s RED SCORPION or Jean-Claude Van Damme’s SECOND IN COMMAND. But no, it’s really not all that political of a movie. It’s a twisty secret agent kind of deal with different factions trying to outsmart each other. And since Seagal has a hot babe, a computer expert and a big dude named Bulldog on his team, it almost has a MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE type feel to it.

But first it has to get personal. Seagal goes to visit Radio’s son Eddie and widow Shonda in Miami and give them some money. Even though the kid looks 9 or 10 years old, he says, “I’m gonna look after you and the baby now.” Then he kills some dudes outside of the house and gets snatched and brought into Chapel, who wants to hire him for another job. He refuses, until Chapel plays him a tape of Eddie and Shonda kidnapped with masked dudes behind them (very classy in these times of constant terrorist kidnapping tapes).

So he reconsiders and takes the job, which is to break into a high security prison and release an arms dealer who is the son of a rich Greek guy. The exact size of his wealth is in dispute – Chapel describes him as a “millionaire extraordinaire” but he describes himself as “a billionaire many times over.” Whatever he is, Seagal and the other mercs have 4 days to break his son out of this prison while also evading Luke Goss and his CIA guys, who are pretty pissed at them.

Next is the clever (but not believable) part of the movie as a series of tricks slowly unfolds, and although it’s a little hard to follow it’s nice that they don’t tell you what’s gonna happen. But I will. Basically it lays out like this. Goss abducts Seagal’s colleague (ex-girlfriend?) to get information on what he’s up to, but instead of snitching about the prison break she claims they’re planning on breaking into a thing called “the black vault.” So the CIA has the local cops stake out this bank in South Africa, while Seagal leads the racist mercs into the prison.

Once they get inside, though, Seagal and friends abandon them inside and forget about breaking the Greek dude out. Now the mercenaries for racism have been separated from the mercenaries for justice. At this point, Seagal’s girl tells Goss that actually they’re not going to break into the black vault, it turns out that was only a decoy so they could break into the prison. So they send all the cops over to the prison, at which point Seagal comes over to the black vault and actually does break in. The Greek millionaire extraordinaire finds out that his son was not broken out, so he tries to put a $500 million bounty on Chapel’s head. But Seagal uses illegal accounts found inside the vault to blackmail a Greek Army Chief of Staff into arresting the billionaire. And some other stuff. And then he goes to save Eddie and Shonda and blow up Chapel’s car.

I know it’s a fancypants kind of plan. But it’s hard out here for a mercenary for justice.

The director is Don E. Fauntleroy, a veteran cinematographer who also directed Seagal’s TODAY YOU DIE. He shot both movies as well, and they are better looking than the various DTV Seagal pictures shot around Europe. Not that this movie is gorgeous or anything. And for god’s sake, can we please stop imitating SAVING PRIVATE RYAN in battle scenes? This DVD even has a 15 minute making of featurette where Fauntleroy brags about watching SAVING PRIVATE RYAN and BLACK HAWK DOWN 20 times and trying to copy their look. I’m starting to wonder if more people copy SAVING PRIVATE RYAN than THE MATRIX.

This is not my favorite type of Seagal picture. I wish he would get back into the intimate hand-to-hand on the street type of fighting. Instead the DTV era is more about traveling around to different countries tracking people down and then most of the action is machine guns and exploding cars. There are some pretty good chunks of aikido here and there though, and Seagal does seem to be moving pretty fast (except in a couple shots where they obviously sped it up). He has 3 stunt doubles listed in the credits, but they seem to have mostly been used for scenes where he wasn’t there (like showing a pair of cowboy boots running along somewhere and pretending it’s him).

One pretty funny part is when he’s sitting down at a table and a guy attacks him, and he does his aikido arm-twisting self defense thing without even standing up.

He’s pretty much playing the same character as always, but there’s one little thing that surprised me. He almost always plays a fearless, invulnerable character, but for some reason in this one there are two different scenes where he gets a gun pointed at him and instantly surrenders. In one scene he’s saying”I oughta fuckin kill you right now, boy,” when a guy points a gun at him and says, “I don’t think so.” And he says, “Yeah, maybe not right now” and walks away real fast.

Another part, a guy says “We can all end up looking like Swiss cheese, or we can go have a nice cup of coffee. What’s it gonna be?” and he says, “Let’s, uh, let’s go have a cup of coffee.”

But other than that he’s his usual tough guy smartass self, and he even gets one Schwarzeneggerian pun (“I always thought he had an explosive personality.”)

Anybody who gets a kick out of flawed DTV filmatism will have a few chuckles, but it’s not nearly on the crazy level of an OUT OF REACH or something like that. Still, I noticed some pretty strange continuity errors (like when there’s multiple references to three people dying in a sequence where only two people died). There’s only obvious dubbing in a handful of parts, but they are some doozies. The best one is when Roger Guenveur Smith has a line looped by what sounds like a British guy reading off of a cue card. I guess there’s no point in doing a DTV Seagal movie if you don’t have one part where you get dubbed. He probaly requested it.

MERCENARY FOR JUSTICE isn’t exactly like any other Seagal picture, but it doesn’t have unique enough qualities to really stand out. Except that in one part Seagal uses the word “‘Tis,” as in, “‘Tis, isn’t it?” That is a historical first. I bet he will start using it alot though. Steven Seagal ‘Tis… OUT FOR JUSTICE.

That’s another thing, they used the OUT from OUT FOR JUSTICE a couple times lately (namely, OUT FOR A KILL and OUT OF REACH). But obviously the FOR JUSTICE part has been needing some love, so it’s good to see him dusting that part off and getting some more use out of it. I hope he brings back MARKED FOR pretty soon too but we can’t have everything we want, can we?

Those are my early findings. Only time will tell if deeper study will tell a different story.

Vern

Originally posted at Ain’t-It-Cool-News: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/23047

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

  • April 17, 2006, 10:24 a.m. CST

    Christ on a Crutch, Vern’s BACK!

    by seppukudkurosawa

    And he’s taking on Seagal’s latest…shit this talkback’s gon’ be classic boyeee!

  • April 17, 2006, 10:37 a.m. CST

    The movie is horrible

    by viranth

    The movie doesn’t even have much fighting with Seagal, he’s just walking around all fat being cool.

  • April 17, 2006, 10:42 a.m. CST

    OK read the review and it’s a good ‘un

    by seppukudkurosawa

    Although Mercenary for Justice…? Doesn’t look so hot. I’ll probably watch it though. One question Vern, when in the name of fake Dracula Wigs are you gonna put out that damn Seagalogy book?! Are you waiting for the dude to die and stop making movies (trust me, as long as he’s still capable of getting up from his hospital bed and mumbling a few lines about how “evil never dies”, he’ll still be making movies)? As long as he keeps on drinking those Seagal Blueberry Boosters (or whatever they’re called) he ain’t gonna be biting the bullet any time soon. If worst comes to worst, you can just release an Updated Edition in 10 years time, featuring reviews of such future classics as:- Guns Don’t Rust; Out of Practise, Out of Shape and Out of Money (3-Parter which took all of 3 weeks to make),;The Apache Agent, and I Just Called to Say Die Die Die!!! Also, I’m glad you’ve finally been cemented in bronze with that Wickepedia entry…and I promise it wasn’t me who wrote that thing that said “Vern doesn’t really exist”. No, I’d never come up with some stupid unresearched conspiracy theory like that. No, I’m the guy who told Wickepedia that you were “ten people pretending to be one person”.

  • April 17, 2006, 10:50 a.m. CST

    Steven Sagal Can’t Act Ron Jeremy Can Act better

    by FordPerfect

    Sagal has bad porn acting skills. I bet he can’t even get it up!

  • April 17, 2006, 10:58 a.m. CST

    How does this asshole keep getting work?!

    by HypeEndsHere

    not you, Vern…

  • April 17, 2006, 11:07 a.m. CST

    It may be the worst movie ever…

    by Smilin’Jack Ruby

    …but thank God Vern reviews them so I know to ROCKET TO THE VIDEOSTORE IMMEDIATELY whenever these hit. I guess Seagal fancies himself “too good” to help a brother out with a DVD release date ad banner here on AICN. Doesn’t he realize half the battle (for justice) is in the anticipation (of said justice being doled out)?!?

  • April 17, 2006, 11:21 a.m. CST

    My favourite Steven Seagal movie is Executive Decision

    by jim

    Actually, it’s really Under Siege. Tommy Lee Jones, Gary Busey, Colm Meaney as villains – can’t go wrong there.

  • April 17, 2006, 12:01 p.m. CST

    steven seagal tis the Mercenary for Justice

    by mocky_puppet

    thank you, vern; great review.

  • April 17, 2006, 12:22 p.m. CST

    Steven Seagal

    by BNITT

    Howard Stern said it best, “Steven Seagal, the only thing he’s dangerous to is a buffet!”

  • April 17, 2006, 1:02 p.m. CST

    On Schwarzeneggerian puns:

    by Childe Roland

    I caught The Running Man on TBS late last night. Mostly because I couldn’t sleep but was too tired to find the remote. At one point, after the first stalker is killed, Arnie shouts “Sub Zero…now, just plain zero!” making the giant dead Asian dude at his feet one of the few examples of a body that got significantly warmer immediately after it stopped living. What really amazed me, though, was the energy of Arnie’s delivery. He shouted this line with intense eyes and veins bulging out on his neck as if he believed it to be one of the most profound chunks of dialogue since “I’ll be back” (which he’d delivered in this movie with no oomph whatsoever mere minutes before…a slam to all Terminator fans, I think). How this guy got elected governor of anything, I’ll never know. As for Steve, I nearly lost all respect for my wife’s sister last weekend when she admitted, during a commercial for some upcoming Segall waste-of-video, that she’d had a huge crush on him as a little girl. When she later explained that she also used to drink a lot of Robitussin, it made the whole thing a little easier to swallow. In fact, I now carry a bottle of Cherry flavored Ny-Quil in my briefcase, just in case the subject of Segall comes up in any context during the workday. I took some before I started typing thi…zzzzzzzzzzzz

  • April 17, 2006, 1:28 p.m. CST

    Well…This is still propably better

    by Der-Rabe

    then the Harry’s so hyped History of Violence which totally sucked potatos. I mean seriously Seagal knows hes going to suck but at least he doesnt do pointless sex scenes in hes movies. nuff’said.

  • April 17, 2006, 1:32 p.m. CST

    You guys are reviewing Steven Segal now??

    by quadrupletree

    *shakes head*

  • April 17, 2006, 1:43 p.m. CST

    “Mercenary for Justice”??? What’s next?

    by Doctor_Sin

    Renegade for Liberty? Autonomy for Freedom? His films sound like crappy comic titles from the 50s. Do they just pull random ‘action’ words out of a hat and link ’em together somehow? Jeez.

  • April 17, 2006, 1:45 p.m. CST

    “Yeah, that’s it for you, POOPHOLE!”

    by Vern

    Duncan O’Sullivan emailed me to point out a MAJOR oversight in my review. Somehow I forgot to mention the scene where a guy calls Seagal a “poophole.” The use of the subtitles and an online dictionary actually clarifies things, it turns it he as actually called “poepol,” which is South African slang for “asshole.” But it still sounds like he’s being called “poophole” and really I guess they pretty much mean the same thing. So it’s a great moment. Thanks for the reminder, Duncan, I clearly was not striving hard enough if I missed what ought to be the most memorable moment in the movie.

  • April 17, 2006, 1:49 p.m. CST

    Luke Goss is a great Drummer

    by pumaman

    I remember seeing him in that awful band of his ” Bros” back in the late 80’s .

    Thank Moses – he decided to chose acting as his preferred occupation.

    And did you know he has a twin brother who’s still trying to make it as a solo artiste.

  • April 17, 2006, 1:55 p.m. CST

    miscellaneous comments

    by Vern

    To Merrick: come on man, let’s have a positive attitude here bud. No need to be mean to a man who has brought us so much joy. *** To Kurosawa: sorry man, I’m still working on the thing. There are chapters that need to be written, and I’m rewriting the ones that are written, and I’m continually researching (not only rewatching the movies but I’ve gotten ahold of some old magazines and scripts with further info). Sorry to keep you waiting but I’m not all the way happy with it and I want it to be real good. A groundbreaking scholarly type work. *** Der Rabe: Number one, you must be nuts if you think this is gonna be better than History of Violence. And number two, there are no pointless sex scenes in History of Violence, you must be thinking of a different movie. And number three, why in fuck’s name would you bring up History of Violence in a talback about Mercenary For Justice? That’s like bringing up Iceberg Slim at Oprah’s book club. sorry you had a bad day. *** quadrupletree: Yes, we are reviewing Steven Segal [sic] now. Good observation there bud. Attention to detail and what not. *** thanks everybody

  • April 17, 2006, 2:14 p.m. CST

    Does he wear a long coat in tropical (!) heat…

    by Tarl_Cabot

    to cover his fat ass? LOL great job Vern…I’m amazed S.S. still has a career…

  • April 17, 2006, 2:40 p.m. CST

    Steven Segal’s band in Seattle on the 27th

    by Nizzuts

    I walked into my local Blockbuster to rent a movie and not only was I suprized to see a Segal movie (Black Down or something like that), but I noticed a cheap flyer for local band behind the counter. It was titled Steven Segal’s Jazz Band. I thought, “hey what a great name for a band.” Then I realized that the cheezy guy in the picture holding the ‘flying v’ guitar was none other than Steven Segal himself, I started to wonder. Could this be his band? Does he actually have a band? Much to my suprize it is the Akido master/ex-CIA/early 90’s action star/fat cool guy that I just saw on the Black Down (or whatever) DVD cover. Let me say that I can’t wait to see Segal’s jazz/rock band in Seattle on the 27th. I just hope that there is some jackass there to heckle Segal and he busts the dude’s ass without even putting down his ‘flying V’

  • April 17, 2006, 2:52 p.m. CST

    When are him and Van Damme gonna get it over with and..

    by oceansized

    do the Freddy vs Jason, Alien vs Predator thing? Would be a career boost for both of them.

  • April 17, 2006, 4:09 p.m. CST

    When will we get COOL NEWS again?

    by future help

    Questions & answers on:

    MEG (the movie)?

    Transformers?,

    Fabulous Furry Freak Bros?

    Spidey 3?

    Broken Lizards next?

    Grind House shut down why? (com’on Harry)

    review of Silent Hill?

    somethin, anythin……

  • April 17, 2006, 4:20 p.m. CST

    He Runs like a girl…

    by beefywhore

    I get it..you know how to break someones arm…now remind me How you ever became a pseudo-action hero…oh and How’d you wind up marrying the chick from weird sciene? I’ll NEVER understand that one.

  • April 17, 2006, 4:47 p.m. CST

    agreed..

    by beefywhore

    but in her prime Holy God!! I saw her on VH1 the other day and she’d still be pretty attractive for an older woman if she got back down to her fighting weight.

  • April 17, 2006, 5:43 p.m. CST

    Might as well tell them though…

    by beefywhore

    If nothing else it’ll probably be the most interesting thing I’ve read while I should have been working all day.

  • April 17, 2006, 5:55 p.m. CST

    MARKED OUT FOR MERCENARY JUSTICE DECISION

    by Kubla_Khan

    Does he still wear a girdle? I remember in Under Siege 2 he never even took his jacket off, let alone broke a sweat. My favourite line of his is still, “You wanna play with me, cupcake?”. Genius in a ponytail. I have a great idea for a Segal movie where he plays an ex-marine (ex because he smacked his superior after a bad play, dammit)in prison for running guns. Some godawful daytime TV actor comes to see him playing the head of the NSA, and tries to get him to join an elite band of men in a top-secret platoon…killing PAEDOS for a living! Segal, being all hard and shit, isn’t sure if he wants to kill old men in dubious-looking raincoats for a living, but then the head of the NSA drops a double whammy: ONE, that some peados aren’t old men, some of them are young and weapons experts and are raising an army in a secret fortress in Guatemala…and TWO, Segal’s kid (Pacey Segal or something) that he ain’t seen in years, has been taken hostage by ’em and is going to be bummed some time very soon….Segal freaks out, gets tooled up, and the rest of the film is him versus an army of peados, who when they aren’t bumming kids are throwing grenades and engaging him in hand-to-hand combat. It features the amazing line: Segal (to moustachioed paedophile):”Nobody fucks my kid except me!” (shoots the peado). “Fuck! I meant nobody fucks my kid UP except me! UP! Oh, you’re dead. You can’t hear me.”

    Seriously, I’m writing it as we speak. Uwe Boll is interested. It’s as good as greenlit.

  • April 17, 2006, 6:03 p.m. CST

    Vern, we need a review of your life.

    by chickychow

    maybe after doing some soul-searching and journaling, you’ll become someone who, you know, doesn’t review Steven Seagal movies (and like it so much).

  • April 17, 2006, 7:13 p.m. CST

    chickychow

    by Vern

    I doubt it. Thanks for the advice though, champ.

  • April 17, 2006, 7:37 p.m. CST

    TomBodet…

    by Carl XVI Gustaf

    “Tall Dane”?! How about Super Swede of Yesteryear? (TM) Anyway, I’m turning 60 this year, welcome to my castle for cake!

  • April 17, 2006, 7:56 p.m. CST

    Great review, Vern…

    by Julius Dithers

    On your recommendation I watched that Boondocks episode with MLK and damn if that wasn’t the most poignant story about the post-civil rights era. On the same vibe, Roger Guenveur Smith was awesome in a one-man stage play where he played Huey P. Newton, warts and all. Spike Lee directed a taping of the stage play and put it on PBS. Smith is a great actor. This Seagal guy though, I dunno.

  • April 17, 2006, 8:07 p.m. CST

    we can all drink the juice of steven seagal

    by Frank Einstein

    mmm…steven seagal-y……www.lightningdrink.com

  • April 17, 2006, 8:20 p.m. CST

    ‘Tis

    by blackwood

    I’m pretty sure he was trying to say ‘tits’ but couldn’t, on account of being Steven Seagal.

  • April 17, 2006, 9:09 p.m. CST

    Does Seagal wear a huge coat in it to hide his fat?

    by BigTuna

    I like how in the prison scenes in “Today You Die” (I think that was the one) he is the only prisoner wearing a huge winter coat, and everyone else has thin shirts on.

  • April 17, 2006, 9:59 p.m. CST

    Vern, back to a question I asked you a while back …

    by Shan

    Just to expand on the answer from last time … I have never ever seen a Seagal film (mind you, I’ve only seen about a dozen at most) where any opponent ever lays a hand on him, regardless of how good they’re supposed to be at martial arts. Is this an ego thing on his part that he thinks no-one could ever even touch him in a fight, let alone beat him? After all, if you compare any other action hero, at least they go through the pretence of the outcome being in doubt, with the bad guy often landing several blows and almost winning the fight.

  • April 17, 2006, 10:21 p.m. CST

    “Half Past Dead” is classic “SO BAD IT’S GOOD”

    by ClassyBlassie

    You all need to check out Steven Seagal’s “Half Past Dead” from 2002……I only saw it because Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper (“Ebert & Roeper”) took two chainsaws to it in their review. Ebert: Seagal looks like Orson Welles. Roeper: Ja Rule’s idea of acting is tilting his head and squinting. Ebert: Can’t figure out what’s going on. Seagal is shot in low light to hide his chins. The best review ever from them, so I JUST HAD TO SEE THIS FILM. “Ahh-ight” Classic bad film. In classic Ed Wood “Plan 9 From Outer Space” fashion, if you look closely you’d see Seagal’s stunt double is about half his size/weight….so it goes from a hefty Seagal climbing a rope to…..WOW….slim stuntman. SO BAD IT IS GOOD

  • April 17, 2006, 10:34 p.m. CST

    “…obviously the FOR JUSTICE part has been needing…”

    by BitterMan23

    Vern needs to write a script… no offense to the other writer/contributors here, but he’s clearly the closest to a genius. i dont even bother watching the movies, they wont live up to the reviews. kudos, sir.

  • April 17, 2006, 11:32 p.m. CST

    When will I, will I be famous…

    by Alonzo Mosely

    get my picture in the paper… And thus that song is back in my head after decades of therapy to remove it…

  • April 18, 2006, 3:20 a.m. CST

    Vern–this one sentence is pure EXCELLENCE:

    by Darth Bono Jr.

    “…it’s nice that they don’t tell you what’s gonna happen. But I will…” LOL! You are the master!

  • April 18, 2006, 8:43 a.m. CST

    “Titular Shittiness

    by brycemonkey

    I think that is a genuine fetish you have there, Merrick ;-P

    Good stuff Vern but I have to ask. When will Mercenary For Justice 2 be hitting D2V?!?

  • April 18, 2006, 9:26 a.m. CST

    Random Seagal Title Generator

    by CaptDanielRoe

    Choose one term from this list: “Titular, Prince of, Enemy of the, Marked for, Into, Out of, Out for, Under, Above, Belly of, Black, Glimmer, Mercenary, Titular” and add one of the following (With appropriate or inappropriate connecting parts of speech): “Man, Justice, Dawn, Die, Death, Dead, Kill, Sun, Reach, Beast, Belly, Blood, Wounds, Below, Decision, Dark, Territory, Justice, Law, Shittiness.” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Sample Results: “Prince of Shittiness, Titular Beast.”

  • April 18, 2006, 9:43 a.m. CST

    lol…Capt

    by brycemonkey

    My favorite titles so far: “Belly of Blood”, “Marked for Wounds” and “Mercenary for Justice”. Oh, wait…

  • April 18, 2006, 9:55 a.m. CST

    New Seagal Film Treatment

    by CaptDanielRoe

    RAGTIME OF REVENGE. Steven Seagal plays Coalhouse Walker, an angry black man during the Great Depression. A former Navy Seal and longtime African mercenary, Coalhouse has saved up to buy a beautifully appointed Model-T. But some belligerent firemen think Seagal is a little too uppity for their taste, and shovel manure into his vehicle. This begins a spiralling swirl of vendettas and recriminations as the injustices of the age are placed under siege.

  • April 18, 2006, 10:05 a.m. CST

    Seagal has surpassed Marlon Brando

    by veritasses

    in weight. What a cow. No one can believe his “Buddha Belly Style” martial art. Has he ever done any Woo-Ping style wire work? Do they even have cranes that can hoist that much mass? Hey Seagal, less sushi, more Slimfast.

  • April 18, 2006, 10:08 a.m. CST

    New Seagal Film Treatment II

    by CaptDanielRoe

    BELLY OF THE SIMIAN SPHERE. Seagal plays Colonel Charlie Hesterton, a former Navy Seal turned astronaut. Rocketing beyond known space, he and his crew crash land on a craggy and primitive, yet strangely Californian landscape. The planet’s fashion level correlates strongly to late 1980s America, specifically the dark-clothed third season of Miami Vice. The action switfly moves underground, away from expensive horses and digital matte paintings, as a succession of damn dirty apes sneak up on, or are sneaked up on by Col. Hesterton, and subsequently have their joints snapped or are shot with a wry non sequitur. At too-sparse intervals, the underground system of the same repeating tunnel passes by covert human discoteques wherein girls with good, albeit primitive, boob jobs gyrate in sequined dresses and are shot seconds after falling madly in love with the Colonel. Finally, the tunnel let’s out on a giant statue of Steven Seagal in 1980s fighting shape. Col. Chesterton collapses, flailing and screaming at himself: “You blew up like a damn Michelin Man, you buddha-bellied bastard!:

  • April 18, 2006, 12:32 p.m. CST

    Ultimate Action Flix

    by lofe101

    When are they just going to end it and throw all of these asshole’s in one movie together. Sagal, Van Dame, Norris Vs. Stallone, Lundgren, Arnie. just 2 hours of pure ass kicking by the best of the best.

  • April 18, 2006, 1:32 p.m. CST

    Bryce

    by Vern

    I got bad news for you. Seagal rarely does sequels. Under Siege 2 is his only full on sequel. Black Dawn is technically a sequel to The Foreigner, because he plays the character Jonathan Cold in both, but most people won’t notice that and if they’d changed his name there’d be no connection. So I’m afraid the chances of a Mercenary For Justice 2 are unlikely. I know, I know, it’s disappointing. But Seagal would prefer that the adventures of the Mercenary For Justice characters live on in your imagination after the credits roll instead of ruining it for most people like they did with The Matrix.

  • April 18, 2006, 1:40 p.m. CST

    to Veritasses

    by Vern

    I have the answers to all your questions and concerns. First of all, Seagal has not actually surpassed Marlon Brando in weight, or at least not in bulk. He’s taller so maybe heavier overall (I doubt it) but he’s definitely not as big around as Brando was, or even close. Even if he was, that wouldn’t necessarily mean he couldn’t do martial arts, see Sammo Hung for more information. But as for your question about Woo Ping style wirework. OUT FOR A KILL is his first picture to address the popularity of wirework. But his method is aikido, where you use the opponent’s aggressive energy against them. So what he does is just stand there while a guy flies around the room and climbs the walls like a monkey, and when the guy gets close enough Seagal punches him. His next one, BELLY OF THE BEAST, was actually directed and choreographed by Ching-Siu Tung, a legend of Hong Kong cinema who directed the Swordsman trilogy and many other classics that use wirework. In this one Seagal actually does some kung fu and he kicks people who then fly away on wires, but I don’t believe he himself ever is attached to a wire. I hope this answers your question.

  • April 18, 2006, 1:44 p.m. CST

    Darn it Vern…

    by brycemonkey

    I was also hoping hoping that there would be a Glimmer Man 2. I know that Keenen Wayans needs the work…

  • April 18, 2006, 2:32 p.m. CST

    Seagal is quickly approaching Marlon Brando’s

    by veritasses

    …acting skills! No? Ok, “weight” then. If he hasn’t already surpassed Brando in mass, he’s certainly headed in the right direction to do just that. Seagal better watch it or his next fight is going to be against gravity with his knees buckling under him.

  • April 18, 2006, 4:42 p.m. CST

    That’s pretty superficial though

    by Vern

    I mean whatever happened to looking beneath the surface. Yeah, he’s fatter than he used to be. But back when he was skinny he didn’t know jack shit about goji berries or cordyceps, let alone enough to formulate two different flavors of energy drink using those ingredients. Also I’m sure his guitar playing has gotten better over the years. I cannot deny that his fight scenes have gotten bad over the years, but in this particular one he is doing the fast aikido handwork again, and I appreciate that.

  • April 18, 2006, 6:26 p.m. CST

    Who’s your favorite Seagal baddie?

    by Neo Zeed

    Mine’s the coked out mobster played by William Forsythe in “Out For Justice.” Great review Vern! Hope you enjoy Zero Tolerance with the T-1000 himself Robert Patrick. When you get the chance of course. Like to know what you think of it ;)Peace!

  • April 18, 2006, 7:10 p.m. CST

    Seagal alone is responsible for who he has become

    by veritasses

    You can’t blame the audience for not seeing (or not wanting to see or not capable of seeing) “beneath the surface.” Making straight to video B-grade action movies isn’t exactly the right place to go to for people to see a person’s inner aura. Bottom line, Seagal is a Hollywood actor (and I use that term loosely here) who has an image that the public sees. And 90%+ of that image is based on his body of work. Seagal has to take ownership of his own image and quite frankly, he’s done a horrible job of that. He never was and still isn’t a good actor so I’m guessing he never bothered taking acting classes or did but had a really bad teacher. So there go his chances of doing any other type of movie. He’s an “action star” that’s let his physical appearence deteriorate to the point where he loses credibility as someone who can kick ass (let alone the ass of a worthy martial arts antagonist). And clearly his girth/weight has had an impact on his fight scenes. So what’s an action movie with fight scenes that are lame because the featured martial artist can’t move around credibly? Especially when we have Jet Li and even an old but still nimble Jackie Chan and others that make his fight scenes laughable? Should we be forced to love him for a handful of films that he did 15 years or so ago? It’s his own fault he’s lost credibility and has become a laughing stock because of the crap he’s created the past few years. If he want’s the audience’s respect again, he’s going to have to build his cred from the ground up. Lose some weight. Take some acting classes. Choose better scripts. Maybe choose minor roles in bigger/better movies instead of insisting on being the featured actor. Work on his martial arts and physical fitness so he can make more exciting fight scenes. etc etc etc. Basically, if the guy wants to stop making straight to video stuff and doesn’t want to be a laughing stock anymore then he needs to do something about it. Because we, the audience are under no obligation to stop thinking of him as a sad has-been.

  • April 18, 2006, 7:40 p.m. CST

    Dude, the best Seagal baddie’s gotta be…….

    by Doc_Strange

    Screwface. Also look up the word simpleton. That’s the word to describe those who now enjoy his movies. Hell, under siege was probably the only Seagal film to be only semi-simplistic. Under Siege 2 and after is where it went all to hell.

  • April 19, 2006, 12:58 a.m. CST

    Above the Law

    by darthbinks1220

    I liked that movie. It was a clone of the Chuck Norris movie “Code of Silence”. Same director(Andrew Davis), setting(Chicago), and villain (Henry Silva). Why I liked it better was mainly Segal. “Above the Law” was made back in ’88, I believe. Back then Steven was, dare I say,…. an attractive man. Tall, dark, handsome, and with a presence. Segal’s aikido was far more visually impressive on screen, than Norris’s karate. He brought more menace, and had an intimidation factor Chuck lacked. While Steven’s acting in the film was poor, it did not detract much from the movie. (Plus, he was surrounded by many talented name actors like Pam Grier, Sharon Stone, and the aforementioned Silva, among others). Segal’s next project, “Hard to Kill” was vastly inferior, though it made far more money. It was “ATL”, though, that put him on the map. I always wished there would have been further adventures for Nico Toscanni. — and who better to play an Italian than Steven Segal? lol

  • April 19, 2006, 7:33 a.m. CST

    Which Segal Film Is This?….

    by IAmMrMonkey

    It’s fairly recent and has Segal going up against the bad guy from The Transporter to save the life of a little girl. I remember one scene where she uses sandwiches to send a secret warning to Segal at a dinner party. Oh, and great review Vern!

  • April 19, 2006, 10:34 a.m. CST

    MARKED FOR LUNCH

    by tripp5

  • April 19, 2006, 1:05 p.m. CST

    More comments

    by Vern

    First of all, Mr. Monkey, you’re thinking of OUT OF REACH, where his penpal gets kidnapped by whiteslavers and he somehow senses this and goes to rescue her and yes, she leaves him a secret code in a plate of hors dourvres. Secondly, Veritasses, I never said I wanted him to stop doing DTV movies. I just think it’s sad that a guy makes movies that crazy and some talkbackers (not you) still can’t get past 100 different variations on “ha ha, look at the fatty fat fat.” I mean even if you despise the fuckin guy and his movies there’s so many more interesting topics to discuss about him. And finally, I think I’m gonna agree on William Forsythe’s character from Out For Justice being the best villain. Mainly because he’s so crazy he rides around in a car smoking crack, getting in road rage incidents and is so evil he shoots a disabled guy. Runners up include Michael Caine and R. Lee Ermey from On Deadly Ground, the aforementioned Screwface from Marked For Death, Henry Silva from Above the Law, and Senator Trent (William Sadler) from Hard to Kill because he’s having champagne with a girl in a hot tub and then when he gets a message about Seagal he says, “Hey, we’re not gonna make it to the ballet tonight, so beat it. GET OUT!”

  • April 19, 2006, 2:20 p.m. CST

    Vern:

    by veritasses

    I should start by saying that I respect people having their own opinion. We’re all going to disagree about something so we might as well agree to disagree. However, the issue I was raising isn

  • April 19, 2006, 5:48 p.m. CST

    I’ll agree…

    by Neo Zeed

    That “bedsheet” scene was certainly cringe inducing. Seagal has always been an asshole like that. Whaddya gonna do? P.S. DTV needs to quit being so fucking ambitious with the overwritten plot/ international intrigue and shit. Wake up you DTV fucks..You’re direct to fucking video! You’re only hope is to lean on action cliche, so at least the movie will have a tight 3 acts. Sometimes Hollywood needs a bit of this lesson too. That way Mr. and Mrs. Smith would have a proper ending and 2 Fast 2 Furious wouldn’t put me to sleep.

  • April 19, 2006, 7:01 p.m. CST

    i like in Under Siege where he and a bad guy

    by HypeEndsHere

    (tommy lee jones) have a steak knife fight as if they’re swords. and then he sticks the knife in the guy’s head.

  • April 19, 2006, 10:54 p.m. CST

    FUCK YEAH! Omar is in this movie!

    by Sworn42Enemy

    I just started watching Mercenary for Justice and Omar from The Wire is in it!!

  • March 3, 2007, 5:53 p.m. CST

    MERCENARY FOR JUSTICE

    by GRUMBLE911

    I did have the opportunity to se this moving and I was not to impressed. The first 30 minutes or so of the movie is like a GI-Joe flick. It was Ok…except Steven Seagal is old now and when you watch him talk he looks like it hurts to open his mouth to talk. He looks a bit bloated. And thank God he didn’t have that dam ponytail. Now on the other hand I did like Chapel’s character slightly. I would slao like ot see more of Roger Smith. Most of every film I’ve seen him in he is always the bad guy to get killed. Deep Cover, All About the Benjamins, Atwa, Shade…to name a few. But he was dam good to do the one man play(A Huey P Newton Story).

  • March 3, 2007, 5:56 p.m. CST

    MERCENARY FOR JUSTICE

    by GRUMBLE911

    I did have the opportunity to se this moving and I was not to impressed. The first 30 minutes or so of the movie is like a GI-Joe flick. It was Ok…except Steven Seagal is old now and when you watch him talk he looks like it hurts to open his mouth to talk. He looks a bit bloated. And thank God he didn’t have that dam ponytail. Now on the other hand I did like Chapel’s character slightly. I would slao like ot see more of Roger Smith. Most of every film I’ve seen him in he is always the bad guy to get killed. Deep Cover, All About the Benjamins, Atwa, Shade…to name a few. But he was dam good to do the one man play(A Huey P Newton Story).

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 Monday, April 17th, 2006 at 10:19 am and is filed under Action, AICN, Drama, Reviews, Seagal, Thriller. 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 Ponders Seagal’s MERCENARY FOR JUSTICE Linguistics!!”

  1. You know, I actually ended up really kinda liking this one. In the long and dull stretch of films which begins SUBMERGED and goes all the way to FLIGHT OF FURY, this is the only one which I even remotely enjoyed, or that in any way resembles a real movie. It’s a bit amateurish at times and the plot is as murky as most of the other crap from this era, but the supporting characters are much better, the gist of the plot of more enjoyable, there are some great hateable villains, and the African locale makes it a little more unique. It even has some nice story touches, like the great double-cross of Mercenaries for Racism. It also iexplicably shows Seagal at his most amoral (can he really be a mercenary for Justice after mercilessy gunning down the security gaurds who are just doing their job gaurding a bank? And how fucked up is it to let the villain go only to blow him up as he’s driving away [the bomb equivalent of shooting a man in the back]). Anyway, much more enjoyable than everything else from this era, which I call his “Wilderness” DTV sub-era where every movie is unwatchable boring crap (URBAN JUSTICE marks the beginning of his “Promised Land” DTV sub-era).

    I’ve been trying to break down the DTV era into subperiods, to better describe its evolution. I’d like to propose we break it down as such:

    So, FOREIGNER – INTO THE SUN (“Foreigner” DTV sub-era, where Seagal plays a cultural outsider in every film.

    SUMBERGED – FLIGHT OF FURY (“Wilderness” DTV sub-era, where is just seems like Seagal isn’t even trying to make a real movie most of the time)

    URBAN JUSTICE – THE KEEPER (“Promised Land” DTV sub-era, where Seagal embraces his DTV persona and focuses more energy on domestic, less plotty and more competent DTV films) Of course, I’m not sure how AGAINST THE DARK fits in here, and their quality has been all over the map, so it’s possible we should end the “Promised Land” DTV sub-era with only URBAN JUSTICE and PISTOL WHIPPED and deal with the new films in some other way. I guess maybe a few more films in will give us a better idea what path this period of his career will follow.

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