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

Vern! Steven Seagal! Whattaya Need… A Road Map?!

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here.

It wouldn’t be a holiday weekend without our own Vern digging in with a review of a new Steven Seagal film.

Savor it like fine wine. I did.

FLIGHT OF FURY
Starring Steven Seagal
co-written by Steven Seagal

Well, it pains me to admit it guys, but Steven Seagal may be in a small rut here, at least movie-wise. Everyone knows his heart is in playin the blues right now, yet between guitar solos he’s still poppin out 3 movies a year. I’m definitely not counting my man out yet, especially with him directing PRINCE OF PISTOLS still a possibility. But after MERCENARY FOR JUSTICE, SHADOW MAN, ATTACK FORCE and now FLIGHT OF FURY all in a row, I feel like he’s not at his highest potential of achievement right now. Somebody forwarded me his tour rider for some reason (somehow people got the idea I was obsessed with Steven Seagal) and I noticed he’s drinking Red Bull, not his own Steven Seagal Lightning Bolt energy drink. So that might be part of the problem.

Flight of FuryDon’t get me wrong, these movies all have their moments, and they almost always seem a little more interesting the second time I watch them. But most human beings aren’t that dedicated, so I have no choice but to recommend FLIGHT OF FURY (which comes out this Tuesday) only to serious Seagalogists like myself, and then only for educational purposes. This only has traces of the various Seagals we love, such as the badass from OUT FOR JUSTICE, the holy warrior from ON DEADLY GROUND and the crazy weirdo swordsman from BELLY OF THE BEAST, OUT OF REACH, etc.

That said, there are a number of things he mixes up here to keep things fresh. While it starts typically with him escaping some kind of government plot to wipe his mind, we soon find out that he’s the world’s best Stealth pilot. I might have to go through my files but off the top of my head I’m pretty sure we’ve never seen Seagal fly a plane before – the closest we’ve seen was getting sucked out of a plane and plummeting to his apparent death in EXECUTIVE DECISION. Which in my opinion doesn’t count. (He did fly a helicopter in BLACK DAWN though.) Anyway, this is the first time we get to see Seagal in the RIGHT STUFF style slo-mo pilot stroll towards the camera.

Another thing that’s unusual, Seagal’s character doesn’t have a last name here. Everyone calls him John. It’s unusual to go by first names in a military setting, but John is just a likable guy I guess. I was worried that the end credits would give him a last name (IMDb claims he’s “John Sands”), but I was happy to see that the credits just call him John. One name, like Prince, or Vern.

During an off-the-books test flight of an experimental Stealth jet called the X-77, one of John’s former students (and the world’s second best Stealth pilot) steals the jet and sells it to terrorists in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, John is locked up for having a stolen car when he kills a bunch of armed robbers in a gas station. The military gets him out of jail in exchange for going with a young pilot named Jannick and an asset named Lisa to steal back the X-77 before terrorists use it to drop biological weapons. If this sounds familiar to you, you must be a Michael Dudikoff fan, because this is a remake of the 1998 Dudikoff picture BLACK THUNDER. The plot is the same, most of the character names are the same, but for some reason they didn’t credit the original writer (he just gets a special thanks at the end). Apparently he didn’t even know about this movie until he saw it on IMDb.

Anyway, the movie shows early promise with the scene where he happens to be in a gas station mini-mart when it’s getting robbed. In the HARD TO KILL days he used fancy tricks to knock these type of guys unconscious. He broke some bones but he purposely didn’t use his gun. At this age though he straight out executes the motherfuckers. He punches through glass to steal one guy’s gun, then unloads it into him, slides across the floor and shoots 1 or 2 other dudes full of holes. Once he’s out of bullets he faces the last robber, a guy with a switchblade. He puts down his gun and puts up his hands, but then produces his own knife and starts waving it around like it’s a fencing match. He’s clearly using some fancy knife fighting style that will shame whatever crude stab the dude was planning on doing. Then he just throws the knife in the guy’s neck. I loved this scene. At first it made me laugh because it looks so funny and then it impressed me because I realized that it really was a pretty good move. The knife fighting style comes up again later. I hope he’s not leaving his samurai sword phase from INTO THE SUN and OUT OF REACH, but this is a nice one too.

When the cops show up he’s in a room full of bloody corpses, but he tells them in a dubbed voice to watch the security tape. There’s alot of dubbing in this one, not just for Seagal but for a couple of his military superiors too. For this one they chose unusually GODZILLA-esque voices and even one guy that sounds exactly like that scene in THE ADVENTURES OF PEE WEE where he says “paging Mr. Herman.” Most of the dialogue is really plain too, which fits the dubbing style. My favorite attempt at a colorful line is when an admiral or something discusses the biological weapon that might infect the entire world within 48 hours: “This is no naval or air force matter. This is global. The whole damn kit and caboodle.”

One stunt I never seen Seagal do before, he rolls under a truck and holds onto the undercarriage. But then when a security team checks under the truck with mirrors he has somehow reappeared on the roof. That’s some ninja shit. There’s some pretty harsh aikido near the end too, and Seagal uses his trademark gun style where he supports an entire rifle with one fully extended arm, or sticks a gun around a corner and fires without looking.

But of course alot of the action this time is plane related. The X-77, by the way, is special because it has “active stealth” where it turns invisible for a while. Not like Wonder Woman invisible, with a little Seagal floating around, but Predator invisible, so you just see a little glimmer here and there but mostly see nothing. Unfortunately, invisible is not exactly the most cinematic image, especially if all it does is fly. Maybe if an invisible plane could pick up objects and carry them around or drink water or smoke or something, that would be cinematic. But this is just a plane. Who are you fooling, planes? Leave the invisibility to the hollow men.

In some ways the movie seems more competent than the last one, ATTACK FORCE. For example, we know they knew what the plot was before post-production, because it was already available on DVD as BLACK THUNDER. But in other ways you gotta wonder what the hell they were thinking. For example, most of the movie takes place in Afghanistan, but one of the characters is a woman who walks around in a silk bathrobe most of the time. I don’t care if it’s post-Taliban, no woman in Afghanistan is gonna answer the door in a silk bathrobe. Luckily, they are in some part of Afghanistan where everybody is westerners, and she is able to seduce the terrorists’ second in command for a lesbian make out session.

Anyway, we’ll save the more detailed analysis for a more scholarly forum, but let’s just say most people won’t find this one of the better Seagal pictures. If you are new to his DTV works you are better off with BELLY OF THE BEAST, OUT FOR A KILL and OUT OF REACH. In those days I was begging everybody I knew to watch these movies, but with these latest ones it’s just something I do in the privacy of my own home, you can’t push it on anybody. I kind of enjoyed it myself, but you know how I am.

Thanks, buds
–Vern

Originally posted at Ain’t-It-Cool-News: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/31627

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

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 2:47 p.m. CST

    Blocked

    by Kingdaddy

    This space blocked so the idiots can’t say it

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 2:50 p.m. CST

    vern

    by kwisatzhaderach

    your dedication to rubbish action movies is admirable. I take my hat off to you sir.

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 2:57 p.m. CST

    Steven Seagal

    by thecrimsoncurse

    the next anna nicole

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 3:04 p.m. CST

    Vern!?

    by TheNorthlander

    I don’t get it. Vern, what exactly would make someone watch a steven seagal movie twice? Even the prequel trilogy, or FF or Ninja Protector are better entertainment than seagal movies. How can you in one TB thread ask how people can defend Ghostrider, but in another thread say anything good about Steven Seagal?

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 3:04 p.m. CST

    Vern phones it in…

    by Alonzo Mosely

    Yeah it is still gold, but ya sense him knocking it out because he has to go to a dentist appointment at 4…

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 3:07 p.m. CST

    Is he still under investigation for putting a

    by Kirbymanly

    fish wrapped in newspaper on a L.A. Times reporter’s car?

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 3:06 p.m. CST

    I forgot to add…

    by TheNorthlander

    …this does not make any sense. If Chewbacca is a Wookie, you must acquit.

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 3:09 p.m. CST

    i was raped by an invisible plane once

    by thecrimsoncurse

    am i the only one?

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 3:16 p.m. CST

    Bless you, Vern

    by tiredpm

    This wasn’t a career highlight for you, mate, but I get the feeling that you were on a bit of a downer after watching the movie. You’re going to plotz if Seagal gets to make a high budget flick again, aren’t you?

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 3:20 p.m. CST

    ***SPOILER*** ENERGY DRINK!!!

    by captainCAPSLOCK

    i used to drink ’em everyday at work…no joke! they taste weird as hell but hey only one buck at Wal Mart.***END SPOILERS***

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 3:24 p.m. CST

    Northlander

    by Vern

    Well, the reason I’ve watched ALL of his movies more than once is because I’m writing a book about them so I gotta study them. But there are plenty of Seagal pictures that I’ve watched more than once purely for entertainment purposes and not just for the advancement of Seagalogical theory. These include but are not limited to OUT FOR JUSTICE, HARD TO KILL, FIRE DOWN BELOW, both UNDER SIEGES and especially ON DEADLY GROUND, which I’ve watched many times. And yes, all of them are better than GHOST RIDER.

    As for charges of phoning it in, sorry, I tried. At least acknowledge that if I phoned it in I used a land line and not a cell phone. And I didn’t put it on speaker.

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 4 p.m. CST

    Vern….please tell me…

    by Cheif Brody

    You are writing a book about ALL action movie stars from the 80’s….and NOT just a filmography on Seagal. For god sake’s man, who’s next? “Anna Nicole Smith: Her Life…Her Films”….by Vern. With so many cool moviw stars out there…why, for the love of Benji, do you pick Seagal? A Benji book would be a better read. What’s the title? “Steven Seagal: A Slow-Motion Train Wreck Into Oblivion”…by Vern? Will you autograph a copy for me before I throw it in the trash and light it on fire? Ok….off my soap box. Any chance Stallone will e-mail in as to why he and his entourage were detained at the Austrailian airport? Suspicious banned contraband? Yo, Rock….what the fuck are you travelling around with?

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 4:05 p.m. CST

    I’m glad he’s back to doing 3-word titles…

    by cornponious

    …because that’s right for his idiom.

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 4:15 p.m. CST

    Jeez

    by Stuntman Mike

    When masturbation lost its fun, I guess you can kill a few brain cells by typing up 1500 words on a friggin’ Steven Seagull movie review. Ferget it; he’s done. No one cares, least of all Seagal. There are better ways to pass a weekend than with this drivel. I suggest drugs.

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 4:28 p.m. CST

    Vern, Does Seagal Merely Makes Movies to Pay the Bills?

    by DarfurOnTheRocks

    I ask in all seriousness, because I believe that if he gets back in shape and takes a few supporting roles in mainstream movies, he could resurrect him career. However, this implies that he wants to act in action movies. I just pains me to see the now common Seagal waddle a la Ticker, when he can do better. Anyways Vern, do you have any insider info regarding the Gene La Belle incident on the set of Under Siege? Some say Gene did in fact choke Seagal out, but cannot speak of the matter because of some legal arrangement.

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 4:31 p.m. CST

    Sounds promising, Vern.

    by TheNorthlander

    I gotta go see Ghostrider now just to see for myself.

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 5:04 p.m. CST

    Why would terrorists want a stealth fighter?

    by FluffyUnbound

    How would they maintain it? Could they even fuel it? These sorts of logistical questions trouble me when watching action movies.

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 5:08 p.m. CST

    Harry’s fat ass sliding down a pole

    by dundundles

    Please spare us the torment and change it!

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 5:09 p.m. CST

    The only way I’d be excited about a Seagal movie

    by TheNorthlander

    would be if John Carpenter got Steven Seagal, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren together in a 80’s style modern day western where three hard asses team up to get revenge on some bad guy. That, I’d pay to see.

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 5:09 p.m. CST

    Chief Brody

    by Vern

    The title is SEAGALOGY and yes, it is only about the films of Steven Seagal. And if I do my job well the book will argue for itself why I chose Seagal. I’m not saying he is the best (I prefer Clint Eastwood, Lee Marvin, Charles Bronson, Steve McQueen, those type of guys) but I argue in the book why he is unique among action stars and also he is the one I am best equipped to write a book about. I don’t know much about Anna Nicole or Benji so I would encourage you to write those yourself, I would do a blurb for the back cover or something if you want.

    And to answer your other question, yes, if you purchase two or more copies of the book and ship one to me with return postage and packaging I would be more than happy to autograph it before you throw it in the trash and light it on fire. Wasn’t there a TV movie where Gary Coleman was an arsonist who lit garbage cans on fire? I believe there was. thanks bud.

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 5:12 p.m. CST

    lesbian make out session.

    by Col. Tigh-Fighter

    Luckily, they are in some part of Afghanistan where everybody is westerners, and she is able to seduce the terrorists’ second in command for a lesbian make out session.
    Luckily, they are in some part of Afghanistan where everybody is westerners, and she is able to seduce the terrorists’ second in command for a lesbian make out session.

    Very good

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 5:20 p.m. CST

    Vern’s book will be a hundred-seller.

    by darthuser

    Bigger than that Aliens cartoon they’re making without Fox. Who’s your publisher, Vern? I want to buy my copy ASAP!

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 5:21 p.m. CST

    Darfur

    by Vern

    That’s a good question, and I can only speculate, but it’s hard to argue he’s had his heart in these last ones. Less of his personality seems to be coming through lately, and there is more and more redubbing of his voice and ridiculous changing of the plots after the movie is already shot. We do know he has had some disagreements and lawsuits with some of the production companies, but you can’t really assume that explains everything. Also, in interviews now he always talks about how he just wants to be a musician.

    I guess what would really answer the question would be if he is able to shoot PRINCE OF PISTOLS. He had talked about filming it in New Orleans (before other productions had gotten there) to put money back in the city, and he was gathering a cast of blues legends to be in it. Since it would be directed by Steven Seagal (ON DEADLY GROUND) we would have no choice but to assume that’s where his heart is at right now, and the proof would be in the pudding. Unfortunately, something fell through, the movie got postponed and he went to shoot some other movie that he’s not directing, so I don’t know if that one will ever happen.

    As for the other question, I’ve probaly just read the same things you have. I don’t know. I think there’s a story like that for Van Damme too. It’s hard out there for an action hero.

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 5:29 p.m. CST

    I stand by my phoning it in comment, however…

    by Alonzo Mosely

    I still heart Vern like Chachi loved Joanie (although without the whole fucking the sofa thing), and as such I will buy a copy of the Seagal book, and get it autographed. However I doubt I will go the buy two copies and ship one to Vern route, instead I will just pop up when he is visiting his dying aunt and cause a really awkward situation.

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 5:31 p.m. CST

    The thing about Seagal singing

    by TheNorthlander

    The one time I’ve heard him sing and play the guitar was in his opening monologue on SNL sometime during the 90s when he (in his VERY monotone way) strummed and recited (without melody) the lyrics to Kung Fu Fighting. Does anyone else remember this?

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 6 p.m. CST

    vern have you seen Punisher 89 (why am i asking)

    by Prossor

    i don’t know who that woman was playing the Punisher in 2004, maybe they forgot a guy named Dolph back in 89 didn’t play Punisher, he WAS the Punisher, like he wanted to throw a bone to the populus and allowed a production crew to film his battle against the Yakuza and his sewer enclave. Kidding aside Dolph in my mind had the most potential as the B-80s action new guys. i wish that it would get a serious SE/director’s cut/unrated version,there are 16 mins of origin footage shown Castle w/ his cop partner and the actual hit on his family which is only shown as short flashbacks in the regular cut. there is also a lot more violence that had to be cut to get it R which is insanely cool since the movie as is, is extremely violent (3 head-shots into a Yakuzer’s face?!) i just love this film, my favorite comicbook movie (dc and marvel) period. I hope for that dreamy dvd w/ director’s/writer’s commentary and of course the Punisher himself (under his Dolph alias)

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 6:07 p.m. CST

    Vern…Thanks for responding…

    by Cheif Brody

    I was just messing with you, man. Good for you! Future generations of budding film geeks will be reading your Seagal opus long after I have died and withered away….having never contributed anything to society…a life wasted. You have inspired me to write that Benji filmography! CHAPTER ONE: Benji came into the world as “Fifi”. Her bitch of a mother left her all alone at the age of one (that’s actually 7 in human years!). She wandered the streets of Stockholm…begging for hand outs…and suffering the occasional shagging by a Rottweiler named “Deiter”.— Hey, I think this may sell!

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 6:16 p.m. CST

    Dolph Punisher

    by Vern

    I’ll answer your question but you’re not gonna like the answer. I enjoyed that movie because it had some funny shit like ninjas going down a slide firing machine guns and a lady with deadly earrings, but I think Dolph is completely miscast and totally unconvincing as that type of gruff American avenger. And all the dirt and facial hair looked painted on. I thought Thomas Jane’s version was much better, he was more convincing as that character and although he didn’t get tortured like Dolph did he had a better fistfight with the dude in the striped sailor shirt. I believe his name is Bluto. Also, Thomas Jane doesn’t spend half the movie hanging out naked in a sewer.

    My favorite Dolph role is the John Woo TV movie BLACKJACK, where he plays a gay bodyguard afraid of the color white. Usually he plays some oaf or Russian meathead who can barely speak English, but in that movie he has a natural charisma I didn’t know he possessed. Dolph himself is pretty interesting, he’s highly educated, I think he was some kind of chemical engineer or something but then his talent for karate turned him into the big oaf action star. And he’s directed at least two movies so far so that puts him ahead of Seagal (although neither is half as memorable as ON DEADLY GROUND).

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 6:33 p.m. CST

    I liked that movie that Dolph did with…

    by mrfan

    Brian Benben about the alien drug and Dolph was here to stop the bad guys.

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 6:35 p.m. CST

    at least the guy tries and puts them out there…good o

    by johnnyfavourite

    keep on with the menace steve

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 6:45 p.m. CST

    Seagal flew a plane

    by JuanSanchez

    in FIre Down Below. No stealth fighter – but still – to maintain accuracy.

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 7:03 p.m. CST

    Why I like the Seagal

    by AvengingFist

    I like him because he has this love for asian culture. He sincerely respect it and I find it different from other American action stars.

    But most of all, Seagal appears humble on screen. He has such a calming and reassuring presence. He comes off like the type of guy who would help a nerd stand up to a bully. Other stars give me this Im a big bad assh@le star vibe that I dont like. Hes not Tom Cruise and definitely not the irritating Will Smith. The guy is solid. I only wish that he choose better movies OR go to Hong Kong and work with people who can really appreciate his talents. I can picture him in a Johnny To movie. Or going one on one with Sammo Hung. Yea.. Vern if you read this, pass the idea to him.

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 7:02 p.m. CST

    “and then only for educational purposes.”

    by triplefive

    i find it a sad day when Vern can’t muster up the normal Seagal-sized bundles of love for these movies.

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 8 p.m. CST

    Yeah, Will Smth wouldn’t stand up for a nerd

    by FluffyUnbound

    You get the idea he would run over and act like he was helping, but only long enough to get his picture taken and deliver a one-liner and then he would take off and the nerd would get an even worse ass kicking than he originally was going to get.

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 8 p.m. CST

    Kill or be Killed/Kill and Kill Again

    by TORTURE PWN

    Vern vs.Steve Chase!C’mon,man!

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 8:22 p.m. CST

    The Northlander?!?!?!?!

    by snomusic

    Dude!!! I haven’t talkd to you in years! Ya ever get Northy’s Igloo up again? Ever hear from Schuyler and the rest of the gang?

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 8:59 p.m. CST

    Juan Sanchez

    by Vern

    Good call bud, he flies in at the beginning of the movie. Also I think he flies a small plane in OUT FOR A KILL, or at least takes lessons. So I blew it. I should’ve said this was the first time he was a JET pilot.

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 9:33 p.m. CST

    oh well…

    by Prossor

    the 2004 punny i felt was channelinig ennis’s works (which people say why the 04 is more essential because it’s closer to the comics when frankly some of the comic stuff can be awful, meat-fry/popsickle “torture” for example which was awful) while the 89 one was the 70s/early 80s punny vibe which i’ve appealed to more. Also i liked how in the 89 one he was a brutal psychopath that actually punished people left and right (i believe the movie has 90-some onscreen direct deaths not counting supposed deaths from explosions), Dolph was supposed to be that psycho alphamale talking to God whose dead inside and just slayin’, apples and oranges vern?

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 9:39 p.m. CST

    oh & he might’ve dyed his hair for the role…

    by Prossor

    but (reeve dyed his for supes anyway) but every stunt/fight you saw him do was done by the man himself, his hand-to-hand fights especially in the yakuza stronghold made me remember the dirty and brutal Connery/Shaw train fight in From Russia with Love. that evil mute chick was hot (one of em w/ the earrings)

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 10:05 p.m. CST

    Seagal vs. Van Damme

    by crackerfarmboy

    A fanboy can dream can’t he?

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 10:32 p.m. CST

    Why are they dubbing Segal?

    by SexyBeast

    Everyone knows he can’t act. Whys he need to be dubbed?

  • Feb. 18, 2007, 11:21 p.m. CST

    “One name, like Prince, or Vern.”

    by Billyeveryteen

    Vern may have phoned this one in, but it’s still fucking funny.

  • Feb. 19, 2007, 12:39 a.m. CST

    How ’bout a patented (pending) testimonial…

    by fight this generation

    to the finally released from the evil clutches of the c(r)ooked books of the Weinstein Bros. “Tears of the Black Tiger”, Vern? Not only do I think it’ll slot right up your badass alley, but it’s a helluva film, a loving letter to Leone, and Douglas Sirk…kinda like “The Killer” era Woo in that regard. Combine all those ingredients with lush cinematography, painted backgrounds that give some scenes a day-glo sense of heightened filmic reality and a Morricone by way of 50′-60’s Thai-pop soundtrack and what you’ve got is a potent cinematic blend that is as unabashedly in love with the moving image as your own (heterosexual) man-love for all things Seagal-ese…

  • Feb. 19, 2007, 1:12 a.m. CST

    snomusic

    by TheNorthlander

    sorry, that was prolly another Northlander.

  • Feb. 19, 2007, 1:20 a.m. CST

    This review is riddled with inaccuracies

    by Vern

    The girl is named Jessica, not Lisa. Lisa is a character in BLACK THUNDER. Come on ain’t it cool, let’s have some fact checking.

  • Feb. 19, 2007, 2:17 a.m. CST

    Seagal + Cynthia Rothrock = HK blockbuster

    by AvengingFist

    Bring them to HK!

  • Feb. 19, 2007, 2:23 a.m. CST

    Seagal was funny on The Friday Night Project

    by Franklin T Marmoset

    I expected him to be a bit out of it and maybe kind of a grumpy asshole, but he made me laugh quite a bit. Also, we got to see a bit of him playing with his band, who were not nearly as bad as you’d think an aging action star’s musical indulgence would be.
    Surprises all around, but I still can’t face watching his films.

  • Feb. 19, 2007, 2:31 a.m. CST

    Nice review, Vern! Can’t wait for your book!

    by Motoko Kusanagi

    And I’m surprised that there’s almost no Seagal-hate in this thread…

    Nice.

  • Feb. 19, 2007, 5:40 a.m. CST

    Steven Seagal gotta play blues!

    by Silver_Joo

    I think it’s great that you’re putting together a book on Seagal. He’s underrated, it’s as simple as that. Into The Sun was a really entertaining action oddity. I loved the neon scenes where Seagal is walking through the back of a store. It reminded me of Lost In Translation but even better (obviously).

    The new films do look a little weak but a third tier remake of a crap action film is inspired!

    You’re right about invisible planes though. Who do they think they are?

  • Feb. 19, 2007, 6:16 a.m. CST

    AAAARRRRRRGH!!

    by jiggertool

    I tugged on my Goji Berries and pulled my Cordyceps.

  • Feb. 19, 2007, 7:39 a.m. CST

    Let me get this straight …..

    by Dalius

    You’ve watched all of Seagal’s recent movies…… twice !!!

  • Feb. 19, 2007, 7:56 a.m. CST

    Thanks Vern…

    by brycemonkey

    It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it!

  • Feb. 19, 2007, 9:22 a.m. CST

    The world’s premiere Seagalogist

    by Drexl Spivey

    Thanks for fighting the good fight, Vern. Your reviews are the best on this site by far.

  • Feb. 19, 2007, 9:36 a.m. CST

    Silver_Joo

    by Vern

    Yeah, that part when he walks through the pachinko parlor with the little samurai girl behind him? That’s an amazing shot! This movie would be greatly improved by a shot like that.

  • Feb. 19, 2007, 9:40 a.m. CST

    The name’s John. Elton John.

    by Spandau Belly

    A way better name for a Seagul hero than Sands.

    “I’M STILL STANDING! COME AND GET IT! THE BITCH IS BACK!”

  • Feb. 19, 2007, 10:39 a.m. CST

    I’ve got video of Segal teaching Akido

    by NHRonin

    Yup, it’s back in the 80s and I think it’s before he was really famous. Yes, he was a real bad ass and even now would still kick 99.9% of the internet toughguy Talkbackers’ asses.

  • Feb. 19, 2007, 11:13 a.m. CST

    Vern……Please read this

    by liljuniorbrown

    First “Judo” Gene La-belle did NOT choke out Segal. I know because when they filmed Under Seige in my hometown Mobile,Alabama where I have resided for the entire 28 years of my life, my uncle and some of my cousins worked on the set. My uncle drove Mr.Segal and my cousin worked as an extra, and I have some stories about Mr.Segal. He was very generous, giving the entre crew all sorts of souveniors (T-shirts,tote bags,shell casings and bullets) and even though he had some strange requests he was an A-1 stand up guy.My uncle got to hang out at the battleship most everyday on production and there was no choke outs. So Vern please email me if you want some stories and ideas for the Segal film i’m writting.

  • Feb. 19, 2007, 11:48 a.m. CST

    i met him last night

    by davidlyons

    and he was lovely. and his band is pretty fucking cool as well!

  • Feb. 19, 2007, 3:03 p.m. CST

    he makes on shitty energy drink though

    by kilik777

    Heres a review of his drink.

    http://rants-raves-and-reviews.blogspot.com/2007/02/lightning-bolt-energy-drink-steven.html

  • Feb. 19, 2007, 5:37 p.m. CST

    Knife fighting

    by Hamish

    C’mon Vern, you gotta remember the climax to Under Siege! Knife fighting is where he lives! That samurai sword stuff is just for kicks.

  • Feb. 19, 2007, 6:32 p.m. CST

    ROFLMAO

    by Cyberfury

    Another classic Vern.

    I must confess that I was surprised to see the ingredients of the Steven Seagal Lightning Bolt energy drink. They contain the amazing Goji Berry and one can not drink or eat enough of this incredible stuff.

  • Feb. 19, 2007, 7:28 p.m. CST

    Seagal needs to do some 90’s action plots

    by Neo Zeed

    His DTV stuff (or at least what I catch for 15 minutes on the USA network) is way too convoluted. He needs to dump the globetrotting CIA shit and play a cop out for revenge beating up dudes in bars. It’s as if the writers are ashamed of Seagal’s flicks and try to get all “Alias fanfic” on his ass. Hey Vern do you think it’s either Seagal doesn’t wanna do cop beat-em ups OR maybe DTV guys actually forgot how to write formula action flicks. Anyway, nice review Vern. BTW what is this Prince of Pistols movie about? I’m strangely intrigued.

  • Feb. 19, 2007, 8:40 p.m. CST

    Who are you fooling, planes?

    by Gilkuliehe

    Vern you are THE MAN! “A little Seagal floating around”. I’m so your bitch.

  • Feb. 19, 2007, 9:19 p.m. CST

    “the Segal film i’m writting”

    by Alonzo Mosely

    You sound perfect for the job…

  • Feb. 19, 2007, 9:32 p.m. CST

    The problem I have with Seagal…

    by Professor Krapp

    …is that he’s not as cool as he thinks he is. In fact, he hasn’t been cool for a very long time. There are many actions starts much more cool who don’t even think they are, and I love them for it.

  • Feb. 19, 2007, 11:30 p.m. CST

    Neo Zeed

    by Vern

    I completely agree with you, I have made this argument in more than one of my reviews. Alot of the DTV era Seagals are way too convoluted, often difficult to follow and always taking away from what it is you want to see in a Seagal movie. I like to use a blues analogy (since it’s something Seagal could relate to) – playing the blues, nobody gives a fuck about originality, and you don’t want to do fancy guitar noodling all over the place. Simplicity is effective. You play an old tune but you play the hell out of it and your voice comes through, you put your spin on the old formula. That’s what those early Seagal movies like HARD TO KILL are. I would prefer to see him doing simple revenge plots but putting some weird touches on it.

    I don’t know why Seagal does these types of movies now, I think there are multiple reasons. One is that when you’re doing international co-productions in other parts of the world it’s hard to do an American cop movie. I have also been told by a writer of more than one Seagal movie that the writers have to put in things to please multiple producers who all have their idea of what should be in the movie, as well as Seagal, and that’s how it ends up getting so convoluted.

    But I also have a theory that the movies sort of reflect his view on life these days. Several years ago his long time friend and producing partner got the mafia to try to squeeze him. So he ends up testifying against mobsters, and now he has been linked (whether deservingly or not) to that Anthony Pelicano scandal. And he’s had various other troubles with producers, including lawsuits and countersuits. So whether it was conscious or not it’s interesting that at this point in his life he starts doing movies full of double and triple agents, often with amoral heroes and various betrayals. Lots of grey area and you can’t trust anybody. That might be his view of life these days, is my theory.

  • Feb. 19, 2007, 11:32 p.m. CST

    Li’l Junior Brown

    by Vern

    I’d love to hear your Under Siege stories, but I don’t have your email. You can drop me a line at outlawvern at hotmail dot com. thanks bud.

  • Feb. 20, 2007, 1:33 a.m. CST

    “While it starts typically…”

    by Bob Cryptonight

    “…with him escaping some kind of government plot to wipe his mind–” LOL! Nice one!

  • Feb. 20, 2007, 3:59 a.m. CST

    Thanks Vern

    by Neo Zeed

    Very indepth and interesting theories. Seagal’s mob troubles could definitely be affecting his movie choices. The producers fiddlin with the script is always a shame. However, it’s still kinda weird because you’d think they would be putting more action parts in them rather then adding boring exposition and endless double crosses. (And I’ve noticed this trend in other DTV movies other than Seagal’s flicks like Van Damme’s) I guess DTV has always been aping the big budget flicks, but without the old school movies out (Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, Bloodsport and their countless ripoffs) to remind them about working with formulas (which retains our attention throughout the entire movie cause it’s built for action)…they’re now running off they’re own juices making shit up(which aint good cause they suck.)

    I’d like to see DTV get back to the simpler stuff because I used to have a blast watching goofy shit like Michael Dudikoff’s Solider Boyz and C. Thomas Howell’s The Sweeper. Now I just fall asleep.

  • Feb. 20, 2007, 10:05 p.m. CST

    I knew when I saw the blurb box of “Vern” and “Seagal”

    by kabong

    that it would be worth reading the review.

    I’m starting to believe that Steve is even better than Van Damme, although JC does sail his own yacht.

  • Feb. 21, 2007, 5:50 a.m. CST

    The Obvious Thing To Do

    by CaptDanielRoe

    Is, while they are still all alive and kicking, to get Steven Seagal, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Norris, and Jean Claude Van Damme together for a movie. It would be two buddy flicks going mano-a-mano. Seagal would play a Basque separatist who is working for the Vatican. Lundgren would be an FSB agent who learned Kung Fu in an exchange program with Red China. Norris would play a cajun pimp from the Big Easy who has had to move to Hollywood due to Hurricane Katrina, and Van Damme would be his number one rent boy. Together Norris and Van Damme kidnap Milla Jovovich and Kate Beckinsdale, in order to steal their plans for cold fusion while pimping them out to evil oil zillionaires. Milla would be Dolph’s old Perestroika-era pen pal, and Beckinsdale would be the daughter of Seagal’s old flame who might be but turns out not to be his illegitimate daughter. I’ll expect the check in the mail, Carolco.

  • Feb. 21, 2007, 7:55 a.m. CST

    Good call on Blackjack

    by bender7

    I don’t know many people who have seen that Dolph film but it is easily his best. I also thought it was Woo’s best western film. Oh and Seagul’s recent movies need more fights with pool cues

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 Sunday, February 18th, 2007 at 3:43 pm and is filed under Action, AICN, 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.

4 Responses to “Vern! Steven Seagal! Whattaya Need… A Road Map?!”

  1. this one goes to the basement alongside with the submerged and attack force. nice startup, and “bad mojo”. saw it only once. maybe it’s getting better like fine wine. enjoyed a lot of uncut glimmer man after watching bunch of these seagal’s dtv-movies.

  2. The producer of “Flight of Fury”, William Steakley, also remade another Dudikoff film, titled “Counter Measures” (’98), as a Dolph Lundgren film titled “Agent Red” (’00). “Agent Red” reuses a lot of footage from a previous Lundgren film by Phoenician Entertainment titled “Storm Catcher” (’99). Both “Black Thunder” and “Counter Measures” were produced by Andrew Stevens and Ashok Amritraj. Stevens & Amritraj produced “Storm Chaser” and Stevens produced “Agent Red.” I almost wonder how deep this rabbit well goes.

  3. “We get inside this hangar where she is, can’t use any guns, only knives. We all know how to use knives. Take everybody out there, jump in the bitch, and fly her out, man. It’s possible.”
    -Seagal plans a personnel/materiel recovery operation at a heavily fortified OBJ

    In terms of military accuracy and in terms of directness of badass purpose, this infil-attack-exfil plan is sub-Buffy the Vampire in my opinion. But I’m for it.

    This review is spot on. I guess I now sorta count as a “serious Seagalogist,” because I really enjoyed BLACK THUNDER DUDIKOFF PROBABLY CAN’T AFFORD TO SUE US ANYWAY FLIGHT OF FURY. It was educational for the purposes of my Seagalogical studies *and* it was enjoyable. Somehow its predictability & low-budgetisms make it like a warm blanket.
    No surprises, no terribly memorable weirdness as far as generic Seagalogical filmatism goes, but just enough broken glass, just enough gruesome neck injuring, just a little “How badass is he?” dialogue, just the right pitch of generic top military brass banter, just one quick moment when Seagal elevates his voice above a despondent whisper, just enough suicidal motorcycle shootouts that end in a grenade explosion, and just enough gratuitous lesbian sexy time & lesbian-lust-based revenge to make it all worthwhile.

    I was engaged and smiled throughout, which is an accomplishment for one of the least loved Seagalogical specimens.

  4. Yup, I also like to cleanse myself in true nubian style.

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