Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here.
I can’t believe my weekend includes a brand-new Vern review for a brand-new Steven Seagal film. And, no, he doesn’t actually call it a masterpiece. But he does seem somewhat excited… and with good reason. He’s got something to announce. Something… oh, you’ll see.
I must have done something really right this week to deserve this, eh?
starring Steven Seagal
You know, there are movies, and then there are Steven Seagal movies. And you know what else? There are Steven Seagal movies, and then there are direct-to-video Steven Seagal movies. Seagal has made 13 DTV movies since his last theatrical, HALF PAST DEAD, came out in 2002. In 2003, 2006 and 2007 he was able to release three movies a year. For 2008 he already has three in progress. In 2005 he actually did four. So this is a guy who shows up in your video store almost as often as the seasons change. Which makes his DTV Era a god damn force of nature. Almost.
Personally I think he’s had a hell of a DTV run, putting his weird mark on all kinds of adventures for his secret agent, mercenary, freelance covert ops and Yale professor of archaeology characters. The movies he’s made are not always as competent as those made by Jean-Claude Van Damme and Wesley Snipes, but they are almost always more interesting and unusual.
Unfortunately, part of what makes them unusual is a turnoff for alot of people, because it’s the weird stuff that was not intended, the goofy mistakes and shortcuts that come from low budgets, tight schedules and conflicting ideas from too many producers. For example there’s the weird voice doubles. Seagal doesn’t have time or doesn’t get paid to come back and loop lines, so patches of dialogue here and there are dubbed in some other dude’s voice. This was done most hilariously in OUT OF REACH, where we heard letters to his penpal read in voiceover by some random dude.
And there’s body doubles too. Not just in the action, sometimes just to fill in a shot, you’ll see some dude with a leather jacket and ponytail coming out of a door or something, but it’s clearly not Seagal. (It must be one of those guys the bad guys see from behind and think it’s Seagal but then they turn him around and he just gives them that look that means “just because I have a ponytail and leather jacket doesn’t mean I’m the guy you’re chasing.”) In some cases, like SUBMERGED and ATTACK FORCE, the premise of the movie (mutants on a sub, alien invasion) was changed in postproduction, so they must need these doubles, they end up with some weird reshoots and plot elements (the poisoned water supply in ATTACK FORCE) that disappear without explanation.
Because of all the producers who get involved and come up with different ideas that they want added into the script, you usually get a ridiculously murky and convoluted plot. There’s too many factions, too many doublecrosses, the goals aren’t clear enough. The emphasis is all on this overly complicated plot that nobody gives a shit about, and meanwhile the simple appeal of a badass beating up motherfuckers to achieve a goal (or as the goal itself) is left behind like Kirk Cameron.
And probaly most disappointing for many of the fans is the decreasing amount of action scenes, the over-reliance on car chases or shootouts between other characters besides Seagal’s. Seagal’s first DTV movie was THE PATRIOT, where he plays a doctor, and the climax does not involve him fighting but instead boiling a bunch of chemicals. And the fans want to be paid back for that.
ACTUAL REVIEW PART
But, my fellow Seagalogists, the state of Seagal’s DTV Era is strong. I am here to tell you that Seagal’s November 13th release URBAN JUSTICE has NONE of those usual problems. NO voice doubles, NO obvious body doubles, a straightforward screenplay with some good tough guy dialogue, a good performance by Seagal, TONS of action. You hear that? TONS, plural, as in at least 4,000 pounds of action. And that is not a joke about Seagal being fat, you assholes.
This is still DTV, it’s not gonna win over people that aren’t into this kind of shit. The music is pretty cheesy, the look is pretty cheap, some of the actors in small parts are terrible, the cover has Seagal’s head hilariously photoshopped onto somebody else’s body. But the story is streamlined (son is dead, wants revenge), the action is brutal and frequent and the character Seagal plays is brooding and serious. URBAN JUSTICE is the kind of movie we were dreaming of when we picked up TODAY YOU DIE thinking maybe that blunt title and ridiculous cover signalled a return to the old school Seagal style of asskicking. This is definitely his best movie since at least INTO THE SUN and I think most people will go back further than that.
Seagal’s character Simon Ballister is what I would call minimalistic. They never fill in his background or say he’s ex-CIA or anything. People figure he’s gotta be ex-SOMETHING but he never admits it. We just know he’s divorced and he’s from out of town. He comes and rents an apartment above a liquor store. He’s just in town for the funeral and to kill some guys.
His son was a cop, and the murder had something to do with some corrupt cops and some gangs. One gang is led by Machete himself, Danny Trejo (who Seagal put in a trunk 17 years ago in MARKED FOR DEATH). He’s only in one scene. The more prominent gang leader is played by Eddie Griffin. I know, I laughed too, but I swear to Christ that Undercover Brother gives a good villain performance. He seems to mostly adlib, and I personally think he makes too many SCARFACE references, but even when he’s making jokes he comes across as a menacing, sadistic little fucker.
Seagal’s character is completely amoral. Well, not completely, because he gives a sandwich to a homeless guy in one part. But he has a code which requires no more or less than killing whoever killed his son. He doesn’t give a shit about crime or cleaning up the streets. He calls himself “a bad man with good intentions.” He calls truces with evil gangsters. But cross him and you’re double-fucked. He breaks wrists, tables, walls. He does a wrestling move on a big fat guy and snaps his neck. He grabs nuts. He shoots a guy’s ear off. One guy he kicks in the balls 11 times before kicking him in the face and throwing him down a flight of stairs. I counted seven fights (where he kills or knocks unconscious more than a dozen people), a car chase and two shootouts (he kills more than 20 people just in the gunfights). Sorry, no swords – it’s more of a streetfighting vibe and less of the usual Asian influence.
Alot of Seagal’s characters are really sarcastic, always joking around to piss off his enemies. Not this guy. His only joke is trying to bribe Danny Trejo’s security for five bucks. And he has one of the most badass lines ever uttered in a Seagal picture. When his daughter-in-law sees him preparing a bunch of guns she says “You’re as bad as they are!”
“No,” he says harshly. “I’m a LOT fuckin worse.” Not like he’s trying to brag. Like he’s stating the cold hard facts. There’s not that smugness in his voice. There’s anger and pain. It’s a good badass performance. And yes, it’s his own voice.
The director of INTO THE SUN, a guy called mink, described Seagal to me as “a John Wayne amongst WB tv actors.” URBAN JUSTICE showcases that man-from-a-different-era quality. It shows that he doesn’t have to desperately chase the young people by co-starring with rappers, fighting off wire fu or facing down a 360 degree view of a CGI bullet or arrow. That stuff is all nice, but URBAN JUSTICE doesn’t need it. It doesn’t try to distract you with flash and gimmicks. It’s open and honest: hello, my name is URBAN JUSTICE. Remember in the old days when a movie could just be about Charles Bronson as an old guy getting revenge? I am one of those movies. I’m not gonna pretend to be whatever crap the kids like in the post-MATRIX age. I am a movie where Steven Seagal kicks a guy 11 times in the balls and then throws him down a flight of stairs. If you have a problem with that, I will kick YOU 11 times in the balls and then throw you down a flight of stairs. Because that’s just who I am. I’m URBAN JUSTICE.
Okay, admittedly, the movie is called URBAN JUSTICE. That does not sound like a good movie. There’s no getting around that. But take my word for it. You’ll try to apply for a position at the Department of Urban Justice as soon as the credits roll.
So this is a great day for Seagalogy, because the last couple have been pretty lackluster, I heard even Seagal was disappointed in them. URBAN JUSTICE is a huge leap ahead, a very enjoyable picture. Seagal has shown that he can make a good Charles Bronson type of picture. Next I think he should show that he can still make a good Steven Seagal type of picture. He’s definitely got the badass side of the equation going. Now I want to see that combined with those weird touches, those quirks of personality that you wouldn’t see in a Charles Bronson movie, or a Van Damme, or a Snipes, or anybody else, because only Steven Seagal would do them. Consider this equation: the brutality of OUT FOR JUSTICE + the heart on its sleeve earnestness of ON DEADLY GROUND = the future of cinema.
Alot of you know I’ve been working on a book that would analyze all of Seagal’s movies, blow the lid off of film criticism forever, force all other film critics to retire in shame, etc. I started more than 5 years ago, after getting good reactions to some Seagal reviews I wrote here and wanting an excuse to take a closer look at the connections between all those movies. It started as an interest and sort of grew into an obsession. I just thought it would be funny to take the time to do it, but the movies when watched as a whole body of work and really examined turned out to be even more interesting than I suspected. One problem though: the force of nature thing. He keeps doing these DTV movies, when do I stop? I decided to cut it off after FLIGHT OF FURY and call it the first 25 films. That seemed like a good round number.
So of course the day after I decided the manuscript was 100% finished somebody hooked me up with the URBAN JUSTICE screener. And I had to include it because it gave the book a happy ending. Finally a new Seagal picture in the tradition of OUT FOR JUSTICE, which is still Seagal’s most badass movie in my opinion. People make fun of Seagal for his size and age, but I happen to think it suits him well these days. I prefer a Lee Marvin or a Charles Bronson to the shaven and oiled babies they put in action movies today. I want a guy with a face like a beaten up old shoe, a guy who has been kicked around, whose hard times have left tracks on his forehead. More than ever before the broken-in Seagal fits this role, because he’s the grieving father of an adult. And we can guess more about him from the tired look in his eyes than the innuendo made about his past.
Well, now I’m happy to announce that my book SEAGALOGY is finally available at this link. In the book I go through every Seagal picture in chronological order and analyze them in even more obsessive detail than I do here, finding their common themes and trying to compute what it’s all about. I also examine his two albums, his energy drink, notable TV appearances, even his cameo in Billy Crystal’s MY GIANT. Yes, I watched MY GIANT. That is the kind of serious discipline and sacrifice that was put into this project. That thing is 103 minutes long.
I hope it’s an enjoyable book that will make you laugh, but I also hope you know by now that I’m serious about this Seagalogy shit. It’s not some smug ironic wackiness like people try to pull with Chuck Norris. I honestly hope I have come up with some new insights and will change some people’s perception of Seagal’s movies. If not, at least I wrote the first book to discuss Seagal’s appearance on The Celebrity Guide To Wine. (Well, only in an appendix.)
To show that this is real cinema I got an acclaimed director to write the introduction. David Gordon Green, director of GEORGE WASHINGTON, ALL THE REAL GIRLS, UNDERTOW and the upcoming SNOW ANGELS and THE PINEAPPLE EXPRESS is a fellow Seagalogist and also happens to have a movie with a Criterion Edition. I wonder if he could help get a Criterion Edition of ON DEADLY GROUND? I should ask.
Also, I think alot of you are gonna be really thrilled to hear that I wrote it in Word with the automatic spell correcting on, so “alot” is always spelled as two words. So merry Christmas to you.
Anyway, if you would like to learn more or compare your Seagalogical theories to mine and write your own rebuttal book, consider checking out SEAGALOGY. As for URBAN JUSTICE, don’t even bother with the considering, you NEED to see that shit.
Originally posted at Ain’t-It-Cool-News: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/34507
View the archived Ain’t-It-Cool-News Talkback
Oct. 20, 2007, 6:41 a.m. CST
damn you, you ashkenazi crustacean
nearly had a hat-trick.
Oct. 20, 2007, 6:44 a.m. CST
he should pop out of a cake
and rub his moobs.
but he has a dojo, and has japaneese ladies who call him ‘master’.
Oct. 20, 2007, 6:49 a.m. CST
quiet you! *hits with rolled up newspaper*
I got to see billy west a week ago, in melbourne.
I had no idae he did ziodberg’s voice, fry and zap, obviously, but i thought john dimaggio did bender and zoidberg.
*scuttles off* WOOPWOOBWOOBWOOB!!!
Oct. 20, 2007, 6:51 a.m. CST
hooray for spelling mistakes!
Oct. 20, 2007, 6:53 a.m. CST
But what does this have to do with . . .
by Nice Marmot
. . . Dumbledore being gay?
Oct. 20, 2007, 6:58 a.m. CST
its got EVERYTHING to do with that!
“we’re through the looking glass here, people.”
Oct. 20, 2007, 7:10 a.m. CST
Dumbledore is gay?
That is so weird. Almost as weird as a Steven Seagal book.
Oct. 20, 2007, 7:19 a.m. CST
Dumbledore and Seagal have “alot” in common. Both wore robes. Like pony tails. And have mad skillz.
Oct. 20, 2007, 7:42 a.m. CST
This will be a day long remembered, Vern!
I’m buying SEAGALOGY right now. And can’t wait to see URBAN JUSTICE (even if the shitty cover ain’t that appealling I admit – albeit fucking hilarious), I’d love to see him go back to the OUT FOR JUSTICE roots.
Oct. 20, 2007, 7:55 a.m. CST
all the freakos and weirdos buy this book.
Oct. 20, 2007, 7:55 a.m. CST
A film called URBAN JUSTICE…
by Shady Drifter
… without a rapper? What’s the world coming to? Oh well, it sounds cool! I can’t wait to see Seagal kicking more dudes in the nads…
Oct. 20, 2007, 7:58 a.m. CST
Well done Vern. I always imagined Seagalogy as being like the mammoth second novel Michael Douglas was trying to write in Wonder Boys. Glad it is now complete, it’ll be my birthday present to myself.
I haven’t rented a Seagal movie this decade(usually I read your review and look out for them on cable) but this business of 11 nut-kicks obviously deserves my immediate attention.
Oct. 20, 2007, 7:58 a.m. CST
Vern do you make as much if I download it?
Because that’s what I’m doing…
Oct. 20, 2007, 7:58 a.m. CST
“he gives a sandwich to a homeless guy in one part”
I love how many Steven Seagal pictures include him doing a contrived, random act of kindness to emphasize to the audience that he’s a good guy, like in “Out for Justice” where some guy throws a puppy out of his car window while driving, and Seagal rescues the puppy, and then kicks that guy’s ass in the end. It doesn’t get more contrived than that. It wouldn’t surprise me if his DTV films have scenes where he helps old ladies across the street, or rescues kittens from a tree.
And congrats on the book, Vern.
Oct. 20, 2007, 8:02 a.m. CST
At least I would
if the fucking site worked.
Oct. 20, 2007, 8:25 a.m. CST
There was a politician named “Alot”.
But there still is no such word. And there never will be.
Oct. 20, 2007, 8:46 a.m. CST
I sometimes use the word “alot” to honor Vern.
by Bronx Cheer
And yes, I realize a kitten is set afire every time I do this, but damn it, sometimes you just have to make some sacrifices.
Oct. 20, 2007, 8:49 a.m. CST
2 B’s IN PROBABLY, VERN!!!!!
Now I’ll read the rest of the review.
Oct. 20, 2007, 8:51 a.m. CST
DOES ANDRE *FUCKING* BRAUGHER GET OFFED IN THIS?
He does great death scenes I heard.
Oct. 20, 2007, 8:56 a.m. CST
I THINK SEAGAL SHOULD GO ON CELEBRITY FAT CLUB LIKE KELLY LEBROC
She lost a lot of weight
Oct. 20, 2007, 9:04 a.m. CST
“What does it take to change the essence of a man?”
by Osmosis Jones
“The plankton are dying.”
Oct. 20, 2007, 9:25 a.m. CST
I’ll be getting the new Vern book
And I would recommend Vern’s first book, “5 On the Outside” to any talkbackers who can read or at least get their moms to read it to them.
Oct. 20, 2007, 9:29 a.m. CST
I don’t get as much if you download it but I do get a good chunk. I don’t really understand downloading a book myself but I thought more people would read it if there was a cheaper option. So thanks for trying to download it.
Let me know if it doesn’t get straightened out, I’ll throw somebody through a window or something.
Oct. 20, 2007, 9:39 a.m. CST
Jesus Christ Vern
Don’t over react until you can suss it out. Knee a guy in the nuts in the mean time or something.
Oct. 20, 2007, 9:40 a.m. CST
by jack Bauer
It isn’t him unless his voice has changed A LOT.
Oct. 20, 2007, 9:48 a.m. CST
Did you draw the cover too?
At first I thought Seagal was standing behind some glass that’d been shot out, then I clicked on it and it was helicopters, but I bet if I clicked on the helicopters, it’d turn out their windshields had been shot out.
Oct. 20, 2007, 9:49 a.m. CST
And fuck it, Vern
You got my money. Buying the hard copy.
I hope you give the speeded-up spinning back fist from Under Siege 2 a chapter of its own. Defining moment.
Oct. 20, 2007, 10:21 a.m. CST
dammit Vern, this better be as good as you say
I am going to break my own code and see a direct-to-video Segal movie. If it sucks then I will kick you in the nuts 11 times. Oh yeah and throw down a flight of stairs. And then kick your puppy.
Oct. 20, 2007, 10:51 a.m. CST
Vern is the best reviewer why?: I enjoy reading his reviews
More than the movies themselves. Mostly. Damn. Fine. Writer. Should have a syndicated column that gets referenced on movie jackets and press releases. You are my movie hero Vern. Alot.
Oct. 20, 2007, 10:53 a.m. CST
I don’t understand why they don’t just hire Will Sasso to overdub the lines when Segal isn’t available … oh, wait, he’s probably too expensive. Vern, does your book go into the possible connections between Segal’s sheer volume of work lately and the possiblility that he’s doing it to pay off depts to the mafia? That would be an interesting tie-in.
Oct. 20, 2007, 11:37 a.m. CST
Vern you lovely motherfucker.
I ordered a copy, enjoy my cash. I’m sure the book will be the tits. When it finally crawls across the Atlantic to my doormat in Scotland!
Oct. 20, 2007, 12:45 p.m. CST
Into The Sun was actually very entertaining
I did my first and last 3 days in jail last week, and Into The Sun really helped pass the time. Where the hell did Eddie George come from? Seagal is still the fucking man though. Loved seeing him with a samurai sword! Thanks for the heads up though Vern. Im gonna give this one a chance.
Oct. 20, 2007, 1:07 p.m. CST
There we go!
I had to sign up before I put it in the cart. It wouldn’t work when I tried to sign up as I checked out. There’s one digital sale for ya.
Oct. 20, 2007, 1:33 p.m. CST
5 by 5
by 5 by 5
And now I know why arsehole’s slow down traffic looking at car accidents on the other side of the road.
Oct. 20, 2007, 1:34 p.m. CST
I hear Seagulls Hair is spray on these days!
Never really had a big interest in the big, squinty eyed lunk before but watched him a wee while ago hosting the Friday Night Experiance here in the UK and it was a hoot!
Oct. 20, 2007, 1:53 p.m. CST
Will Sasso Vs. Steven Segal
Sasso does a great impersonation of him! You could have bad Segal vs. good Segal. Pee Wee Herman as the mad scientist that creates the evil twin with Brooke Shields as “The Mayor.”
Oct. 20, 2007, 2:16 p.m. CST
Seagal as The Punisher
In a decent world.
Oct. 20, 2007, 2:32 p.m. CST
SEAGAL AS SHIA LAEBOOF SR!
You know you want that to happen,
Oct. 20, 2007, 2:38 p.m. CST
Urban Justice League
Starring 50 Cent as Superman, Ice Cube as Batman, Eddie Griffin as the Green Lantern, and Damon Wayans as the Flash.
Oct. 20, 2007, 2:54 p.m. CST
2 Bits of Good News in One Post!
My to do list now reads buy Seagalogy and rent or buy Urban Justice at earliest convenience.
Oct. 20, 2007, 3:05 p.m. CST
Vern, I love ya but…
…how could you go the whole review without mentioning the bizarre “ghetto” affectations that Seagal keeps slipping in and out of? “Muthafuckin’ thang” and what not? One more pleasure in a picture of many. Looking forward to your book, of course. Keep the faith.
Oct. 20, 2007, 3:24 p.m. CST
I now have popped my vanity-press cherry. There’s a gal where I work who publishes romance and erotica under a similar imprint.
I love that they have a 100 buck overnight delivery option (I downgraded to media mail) and that they offer a sixth motherfucking star on their reviews. Normally, that might seem a little wasteful, but I have a hunch Vern turned this fucker up to 11 and I’ll need all the stars I can get.
Oct. 20, 2007, 4:24 p.m. CST
by Burton Radons
Vern, I’ve never understood your … complex regarding Seagal, but you haven’t written anything that hasn’t at least been interesting yet (and your article about Seagal’s blues band is one of my favourites), so I’m going to buy it.
I’d like to know – and excuse me if you think this is a personal question now – how goes your walk with Christ these days. Everybody in America’s being polarised these days but it must be particularly hard for a good Christian who’s being told that Christ’s way is to act like the Romans – to enslave, forcibly convert, execute, and hate. If you are still a Christian – I don’t think you’ve referenced it in years – I hope you put your thoughts about that in a Tell’s It Like It Is sometime.
Oct. 20, 2007, 4:45 p.m. CST
Re: What the fuck is this talk about christ?
by Burton Radons
I’m an atheist, and can see nothing of what I said in the phrase “the practice of attempting to convert people to another opinion”.
Oct. 20, 2007, 4:54 p.m. CST
A LOT is two words.
I have A LOT of things. Would you ever say I have acar? No, a car!
GODDAMN!! TWO WORDS- IS that so hard to comprehend? Especially for a guy writing reviews?
Oct. 20, 2007, 5 p.m. CST
I also fucking love that when you click on their best sellers it gives you the all-time list, but then when you click on “this week” and “this month” you get nothing. Have they not sold any this month, yet. If so, I have singlehandedly put Seagalogy at #1.
Oct. 20, 2007, 5:43 p.m. CST
URBAN JUSTICE = VERY GOOD SURPRISE
I saw it too, and it is indeed a good surprise from Steven Seagal. Of course this low-budget direct-to-video feature doesn’t equal the brutal vigilante movies of his early days, but still it’s a nice return to form for Steven. The fights are clumsily shot, still too close and often in dark places… but they’re still much better than in his other DTVs. They are fortunately numerous enough and most importantly deliver in the brutality department. His merciless attitude is reminiscent of the good old times (Marked For Death, Out For Justice). Steven breaks necks and arms once again, delivers some solid Aikido moves on stupid gangbangers and I loved that. He bruises them, slams them, breaks them, kills them, shoot their ears off. There is even a scene where Steven kicks a crooked cop in the balls repeatedly around a dozen times! The shootings were not realistic at all, but ridiculously over-the-top and fun when it comes to the amount of blood spraying all over the place. I’m talking about blood-covered walls and fountains of blood ! Urban Justice is without a doubt his most violent flick since The Glimmer Man. Maybe even Out For Justice. Of course that’s a huge plus!
Another thing is that I hate gangs. They’re just a bunch of heartless cowards and brainless monkeys. And I just love watching them suffer the most possible. I always wanted to see Seagal beat the shit out of those west-coast rapping niggas, and the film gave me exactly that. With the whole LA gangsta theme it also reminded me of Dark Blue, and the Early Nineties in LA, the riots and all… The good old times !… man I really miss the nineties. The acting… well who really gives a fuck about it? Seagal plays Seagal. Yes he is still fat and gross but at least here he fights and kicks ass once again. There’s some decent acting in the rest of the cast. Eddie Griffin plays perfectly the gang leader, swearing to the extreme, shooting a lot. The rest is a bunch of unknown actors, apart from a short cameo by the always cool Danny Trejo. Overall the film is the best Seagal movie in years and the most entertaining Seagal flick since his last theatrical release, Exit Wounds.
Oct. 20, 2007, 6:11 p.m. CST
Seagal Is Back! Tripple Hard Style.
by Alex Trevelyan
Just watched ‘Urban Justice’. Its brutally violent. Old school Seagal. Great fun. Its not the recent crap like Submerged etc.. Its his hardcore early 1990’s brand of justice. I was surprised!
Oct. 20, 2007, 6:30 p.m. CST
Seagulls are flying jerks!
But that has nothing to do with this book. I look forward to reading it and learning about this “Steven Seagal”. Just so y’all know – “Glimmer Man” is great!
Oct. 20, 2007, 8:16 p.m. CST
by Guy Who Got A Headache And Accidentally Saves The World
If you drew that vern maybe you should throw a picture in a review every once in a while.
Oct. 20, 2007, 8:24 p.m. CST
to Dr. Freudstein
You’re right – he does that in alot of his movies actually, picking up a southern twang or a little ebonics or whatever he wants. I think his possibly Cajun but I’m not sure accent in SUBMERGED is the weirdest. He’s always adopting cultures (most notably Japanese culture including Aikido and samurai swords) and he does the same with accents. There’s an URBAN JUSTICE chapter in the book and I talk about that a little bit. I forget how many times he said motherfucker but I have a count in the book.
Oct. 20, 2007, 8:41 p.m. CST
a special Seagal moment by me
by Spandau Belly
Okay, so by some wierd fluke I never saw a Steven Seagal film in my life. It was really wierd. He was big when I was a kid, and I remember seeing a couple Van Damme movies as a child and thinking they were okay but just assumed Seagal would be kinda more of the same and never bothered to see his movies.
My brother-in-law is a huge Seagal fan. Seagal is his favortie action actor. I’ve exposed this guy to so many classic action movies that he now loves that his jaw hit the floor when he found out I’d never seen any of Seagal’s films. So I browsed his collection and found one called FIRE DOWN BELOW that looked pretty funny. The jacket Seagal was wearing and the rustic setting made me hope he was playing a Native Indian getting revenge on whitey and I thought that would be pretty funny and so we watched it together a few weeks ago.
I have to say, I was blown away. This film was hysterical. Seagal is not an Indian, but he’s an FBI agent trying to infiltrate a small town by pretending to be a labourer who happens to wear the hottest most expensive city clothes least suited to any kind of physical activity or even standing in the sun if you’re a sweaty type. But what blew me away was that even though Seagal couldn’t make his character look and act more ridiculously out of place, he actually wrote the entire soundtrack full of totally authentic hillbilly sounding banjo music. After laughing at the whole movie when the credits wound up at the song list and all of them were creditted to Seagal even my brother-in-law, Mr. Seagalist, was speechless. I’m pretty sure Vern’s book will be my Christmas gift to my brother-in-law and I know I’ll see another Seagal film now.
Good night you kings of New England, you princes of Maine.
Oct. 20, 2007, 9:14 p.m. CST
I love you for the ‘alot’ comment. I am by no means a grammar nazi, but that annoys the shit out of me when I see people spelling it as one word.
Oct. 20, 2007, 9:22 p.m. CST
you guys worried about “alot”
need to get laid more.
Oct. 20, 2007, 9:22 p.m. CST
and don’t we all
Oct. 20, 2007, 9:58 p.m. CST
Thanks for sharing that story. I think FIRE DOWN BELOW is the most underrated Seagal movie. It mixes the environmental preachiness in a little more organically than ON DEADLY GROUND did (he’s not actually an FBI agent – he’s EPA – but for some reason he’s armed!), it has some good action (the truck chase is great), it has Kris Kristofferson as the bad guy, it has glowing green “toxic waste,” it has Seagal playing a guitar, and it even has Harry Dean Stanton.
My favorite scene in that one is when he walks into church, tells everyone to be seated and starts lecturing them. It’s so funny that he does that but what he’s talking about in the speech (selling out the future of their children for a satellite dish) is pretty accurate.
I would definitely recommend you check out ON DEADLY GROUND, from what you said I think you will be even more blown away by that one. Also Seagal directed it so it’s his definitive statement.
Oct. 21, 2007, 1:40 a.m. CST
What Exactly Were The Good Steven Segal Movies?
Even with Van Damme I have a vague recollection of a time when he made reasonably entertaining movies that were popular and profitable. The career of Steven Segal seems more nebulous, almost as if we all agreed to believe he was star at one point without having any proof.
Oct. 21, 2007, 2:33 a.m. CST
by Guy Who Got A Headache And Accidentally Saves The World
Everything from his first movie up to Under Siege is probably what you’re looking for. The “Golden Age” as vern calls it.
Oct. 21, 2007, 3:01 a.m. CST
“Who killed my son?!?”
Just might become the next “Anybody seen Ritchie?!? Anyone know why Ritchie did Bobby Lupo?!?” Not because it’s as memorable a piece of dialogue, but because Seagal gives it something of the same gusto and delivers it ALOT (sans space just to spite some of you). Vern, you’re absolutely right about Seagal’s career-spanning affection for curious accents — of course I would expect nothing less from the world’s foremost Seagalogist — which I first remember popping up in the all-time Seagal classic OUT FOR JUSTICE. I know you’ll correct me if I’m wrong. With Motherfucker Counts, I don’t see how your book can miss. Congratulations, sir.
Oct. 21, 2007, 4:05 a.m. CST
Seagal the Bluesman
Dude had a gig playing his guitar and singing at the humble little restaurant where my ma hostesses. Like 100 seats on a beachside wooden deck in Anna Mairia Florida.
The spot is usually reserved for chumps who strum along to their Casio rhythm maker and sing Margaritaville and Brown Eyed Girl for tips in a goldfish tank. Got to hand it to Seagal for the workman attitude that he shows. Same with the DTV films I guess. He keeps on working even if the crowd has become smaller, no complaints. There’s no shame in that. That being said, I’m pretty surprised that so many of the posters here actually like his films. Dear God. I mean, Damn! Those movies were bad, and so much fond reminiscence going on in here. I’ve always grouped Seagal with bad Hair Bands, Acid washed Jeans, and all manner of tasteless dreck excreted during the 80’s. But I guess one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. This is especially true in gay relationships.
Oct. 21, 2007, 5:10 a.m. CST
Vern, a minor princeling
Long may he live…
Oct. 21, 2007, 5:13 a.m. CST
As for Seagal directing ON DEADLY GROUND
Didn’t Irvin Kershner hold Big Steve’s hand throughout?
Oct. 21, 2007, 6:11 a.m. CST
had fantastic boobies
Oct. 21, 2007, 6:14 a.m. CST
Kershner was Lucas’s tutor at UCLA
Notwithstanding that, Kersh was the director on ON DEADLY GROUND, and Seagal got the credit, due solely to his early 90s success. That’s not defending Kersher as a director, that’s just the way it was…
Oct. 21, 2007, 6:53 a.m. CST
How many interesting shirts in Urban justice.
I love Stevens taste in shirts. Is he wearing any Native Indian type shirts in Urban justice?
Oct. 21, 2007, 7:35 a.m. CST
Hello, my name is AICN JUSTICE.
I’m not gonna pretend to be whatever crap what you stupid morons like in the post-TELETUBBIES age. I am a movie where Steven Seagal kicks BringingSexyBack 50 times in the balls and then throws him down a flight of stairs. If you have a problem with that, I will kick YOU 50 times in the balls and then throw you down a flight of stairs. Because that’s just who I am. I’m AICN JUSTICE.
Oct. 21, 2007, 9:35 a.m. CST
first Tobe Hooper and now this?
I never heard anybody giving somebody else credit for ON DEADLY GROUND. Irvin Kershner does have a cameo (playing the director of a PSA) but even in his scene his star (Michael Caine) takes over and won’t let him direct.
I’ve never heard that claim before, but I have heard stories about Seagal’s directing. Who was the talkbacker who was an extra in that movie? He told a great story about the stunt director giving a big speech to all the extras about how they don’t have to get too close to the explosion if they don’t feel safe and after he’s done Seagal takes the megaphone and says “But if you do what he just said you’re a pussy.”
I’d like to see Irvin Kershner do that.
Oct. 21, 2007, 10:13 a.m. CST
Just placed my order
paid cash for the paperback, downloading is for pussys.
Oct. 21, 2007, 10:44 a.m. CST
That review was longer than the screenplay.
Oct. 21, 2007, 2:24 p.m. CST
Thought S.S. only made 3-word movies…
He’s really changing his style!
Oct. 21, 2007, 4:40 p.m. CST
Seagal Title Trick
A friend pointed out years ago that every Seagal title forms a proper sentence with the word “is” inserted between his name and the title.I hope you cover this in the book Vern and congrats on the book in general.I hope it sells more than the Maltin guide.
Oct. 21, 2007, 5:10 p.m. CST
CONGRATS VERN / HAS THE SS CONTACTED YOU?
Hey Vern, just wanted to say congrats on the book. That’s a major accomplishment in a man’s life and career and most people don’t realize the lengths it takes to make it a reality even with the Internets. I was wondering if the SS has contacted you b/c I’m sure he’d sit down for an interview or at least a phoner. Obviously, the SS is nearing a theatrical comeback don’t you think? I think with Rambo, a lot of these dudes will get that opportunity at least one more time. And not an Executive Decision type role either. Headlining bitches. It’s sort of like porn if you think about it, once you make a movie alongside a dumb rapper your bigger windows close. I’ll give the SS credit for being on that Llama shit way before Gere and right after Murray. The man rocks shawls in his sleep. Then again, if the SS stuck to wearing just black like in his Out for Justice days, my mom would probably still know who he was.
Oct. 21, 2007, 6:51 p.m. CST
Congratulations on the book. Cannot wait to read it. Maybe I missed but how many pages is it? When will the book signing tour begin? Again, congrats.
Oct. 22, 2007, 12:34 a.m. CST
It’s 327 pages of pure justice, both urban justice and regular justice.
Oct. 22, 2007, 4:03 a.m. CST
I am a student of The Seagal…
I used to study Aikido, and my sensai was actually trained by The Seagal in Japan. He said that he was the biggest asshole he has ever met but also the most brutal and devastating exponent of Aikido he has ever encountered. He said that you’d go for him, then he’d disappear and then there’d be a bit of a blur and you’d find yourself lying on your back with a sore wrist.
Anyroad, I love The Seagal. I went to see him on his Mojo Priest tour ealier this year and was lucky enough to meet The Great Man afterwards. It was the most important five seconds of my life.
Jolly well looking forward to Urban Juctice (or Renegade Justice as it’s being called here in Europe), it’s sounds like the Seagal movie I’ve been waiting for.
PS. I’ve just ordered your book by the way. Can’t wait to get down to some serious revising.
Oct. 22, 2007, 4:08 a.m. CST
I´d love to buy not just one copy, but one for myself, and one as a gift, but I cannot get the damn Lulu site to work! When I press the “Add to cart” button, the browser just goes white, and keeps hanging on the page loading. What to do?
Oct. 22, 2007, 4:12 a.m. CST
That was weird
Apparently I just had to make a post complaining about it here on AICN. Now it works! Awesome! I´m looking forward to watching Urban Justice too, and love to hear that the ponytail has gotten back at least a sizeable part of his old thunder. I´m one of those freaks that think that Out for justice is probably the best action movie ever. Yes, that means better even than Die Hard. Or on par. Or something. Have to go finish my order for that book now.
Oct. 22, 2007, 12:46 p.m. CST
If it resembles Out For Justice …
I will be a happy camper. Out For Justice is badass. A movie for guys. I just don’t understand how Seagal doesn’t get more badass roles instead of lots of weak ones. Once I would love to see a movie in which Seagal is the bad guy and takes on Jet Li, Jackie Chan and Jason Statham at once and kicks their asses. Now that would be cool.
Oct. 23, 2007, 5:37 p.m. CST
Get the word, muthas.
Oct. 23, 2007, 5:38 p.m. CST
DIGG SEAGALOGY The Correct Way
In my haste and excitement, I posted the Lulu info in the post above. My bads.
Oct. 25, 2007, 3:12 p.m. CST
I’ve taken Vern as my personal savior…
by Master Darque
and so should the rest of you. In my opinion, his absolute funniest and most entertaining piece of writing (not to mention deadly accurate) would be his review of “The Secret”. I wish that AICN would post that just to see the talkback that would ensue. It would be interesting to see just how many deluted dipshits there are that ascribe to that. But anyway, congratulations Vern. You’re one of the most gifted writers currently putting pen to paper.
Nov. 11, 2007, 2:46 p.m. CST
Seagalogy download version
Vern, not sure if you knew this, but the download version doesn’t include the front or back cover in the pdf. Very minor quibble, but I was wondering if you were aware.
VERN has a new action-horror novel out called WORM ON A HOOK! He has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the film criticism books Seagalogy: A Study of the Ass-Kicking Films of Steven Seagal and Yippee Ki-Yay Moviegoer!: Writings on Bruce Willis, Badass Cinema and Other Important Topics as well as the crime novel Niketown.