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

Vern Vs. Seagal Vs. Vampires In AGAINST THE DARK!!

Over my several years as a rising Seagalogist I have been asked many times who would win in a fight between Seagal and Van Damme. I have also been asked who would win between Seagal and Bruce Lee. I have never been asked who would win between Seagal and vampires, but I know now that the answer is Sea(SPOILER)gal. But this is also one of those whoever-wins-we-lose type scenarios because, I’m sorry to report, AGAINST THE DARK may be the least interesting movie Seagal has ever made.

Some might disagree. Many who don’t like Seagal’s movies criticize him for the exact reason why I think he’s interesting: he keeps making the same type of movie over and over again. To me it’s the perfecting, tinkering, and slow evolution of that formula that makes the movies cool. You don’t listen to blues to hear brand new riffs. Still, it SEEMS like it would be interesting to see his first attempt at a horror movie. But let’s be honest, nobody’s expecting it to work as a horror movie, and it doesn’t. So it should be a real Seagal movie, but it isn’t. It’s a shitty Sci-Fi-Channel-worthy vampire siege movie where one of the characters happens to be played by Seagal. And not even the main character.

Against the DarkFor better or worse it is a landmark in Seagalogy. As my fellow scholars know, Seagal has tried at least twice to dip his toes into genre movies. SUBMERGED was filmed as a movie about mutants on a sub, ended up being about mind control. ATTACK FORCE was supposed to be about an alien invasion but was released as a story about stylish European gangsters on performance enhancing drugs. Producers resisted and made them science-fictionless in postproduction. Now Seagal has succeeded, he has faced (sort of) vampires.

When I saw the bloodsuckers on the cover for the screener I still wasn’t holding my breath. They could’ve re-dubbed it by the time the disc got in my player and it would just be about Russian mafia with bloody lips. But sure enough there is Steven Seagal as swordmaster Tao leading a team of leather-jacketed hunters in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by vampires. Unfortunately though they’re not the cross-fearing, bat-turning type of vampires, it’s more a 28 DAYS LATER deal where they say it’s a virus. They’re not undead I guess, they just enjoy blood. The opening narration says the survivors can move around during the day, but they never say or show what would happen to the vampires if they were in sunlight. For all we know it just gives them gas.

Seagal has done such a good job of sticking to one type of movie that suddenly showing him cutting up vampires with a sword is a real novelty. Here’s the catch: he’s not in the movie very much. Even when he is he’s not much of a character. Most of the movie is about a group of survivors walking around in a shadowy abandoned hospital. I already forget their names and if they had personalities or what they were trying to do. Eventually they run into the group of hunters led by Seagal and Tanoai Reed, who is The Rock’s stunt double and looks the part. (Hey, how about this guy in SCORPION KING 3?) He’s pretty cool looking but has even less of a character than Seagal.

There’s no background on Tao, no detail. All we know is what he says his name is and that he has a sword. In the first half of the movie he doesn’t get that much screen time and his only dialogue is generic commands like “Clear the area!” If it was a good movie and Seagal was only in a supporting role then it wouldn’t matter (see EXECUTIVE DECISION). But when it’s a generic, poorly made vampire movie Seagal is the ONLY thing going for it and they don’t keep him on screen enough to take advantage of the vampire/Seagal juxtaposition.

That’s kind of the evil nature of DTV though. “Ha ha ha, Kris Kristofferson and DMX together in LORDS OF THE STREET? Sign me the fuck up! How could that NOT be awesome?!” And then you watch it and you say, “Oh. That’s how.” Same thing here.

If you like gore there is some, including alot of intestine munching like in NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. In one of the very few effective moments an infected woman franticly files her own teeth into fangs, which is pretty disturbing. Seagal chickens out from being shown killing a little girl vampire (you just see a knife – not even his hand – raising and then it cuts to a different scene) but does allow a brief shot of him killing a little boy vampire. And the dude always looks cool with a sword so that’s a plus (too bad he just starts shooting them after a while.)

That reminds me, these vampires die the same way humans do. You just gotta shoot them or cut them. It’s not really clear why the non-hunters don’t arm themselves.

There are a couple enjoyable goofy moments. Seagal saves a little girl who says “Who are you?” He just says, “My name is Tao,” then dramatically turns around and leaves to the tune of rockin guitars. (okay, I guess you had to be there.) For me the biggest laugh is when he frees a guy who’s tied up, being tortured by a mad scientist. The guy says, “Thanks man,” and Seagal says, “Get out of here buddy.” It’s a little casual in my opinion. If I ever escape and/or rescue somebody from mad scientist torture I hope to say something more dramatic.

In a later scene the torture victim tries to explain to the others that “we’re the monsters now” because he was attacked by a guy who wasn’t a vampire, just crazy. Seagal says, “Man, I’ve seen that. People do what they have to do to survive.”

What? You seemed pretty high on vengeance a minute ago when you shot that guy! Now you act like you’re hearing about it for the first time and you sympathize with the dude. See, this movie would be better if it either a) was good or b) had more ridiculous crap like that. But this is about all you get.

The cast also includes Linden Ashby from MORTAL KOMBAT and the great Keith David. I knew David would have to be a small role but I was excited for his reunion with Seagal, since in MARKED FOR DEATH he was Seagal’s all-time best sidekick – in fact, more of an equal partner than a sidekick. So, of course, David plays a military commander ordering the hospital bombed (for some reason “there’s no time” – not really sure what they are trying to stop) and never has a scene with Seagal. Same goes for Ashby.

The main problem is that Seagal isn’t using his home field advantage. He’s going into a shitty vampire movie instead of bringing vampires to his own turf. It would be more fun if he was still an opinionated ex-CIA martial arts expert turned freelance intelligence operative and while he was in Japan as a youth he picked up the ancient secrets of vampire hunting and he discovers a nest of suckheads working with Yakuza or international arms smugglers or somebody. Or his brother is a vampire and he has to get revenge on the vampire slayer that staked him. I don’t know. I also think he should do a werewolf movie called HOWL FOR JUSTICE where he’s a cop framed by corrupt cops and he has to clear his name but also doesn’t want anybody to find out he’s the one eating everybody’s pets. And after that of course THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK OPS LAGOON.

I guess I published SEAGALOGY at just the right time. I was able to give it a happy ending because URBAN JUSTICE and PISTOL WHIPPED were sort of a return to form for the big guy. But KILL SWITCH and especially this one kind of undo that luster, he’s back to FLIGHT OF FURY levels here. I also got some thinking to do some day down the line if I update that book, because on a first viewing anyway this thing seems to challenge my theory that Seagal always puts his personal touch on every movie he’s in. You can definitely still say that with KILL SWITCH but this one it literally could’ve been anybody playing the character. Well, I guess if they had no arms it would be hard because they couldn’t hold the sword. Other than that anybody with a stunt double could play this character. In fact, any stunt double could play this character. It’s not Seagal-specific at all.

Sorry guys, don’t mean to piss on the parade, but this is not the hilarious movie everybody expects when they hear about it, or the actually good one a guy like me hopes for. Hopefully Seagal put more effort into one of the other two movies he has on the way, or the reality series, or something. I have my hopes pinned on this one:

That trailer alone has a hell of alot more of interest than STEVEN SEAGAL AGAINST THE DARK. Sorry, but I’m gonna have to give this one to the dark.

thanks,

Vern

Originally posted at Ain’t-It-Cool-News: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/39496

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

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 4:11 a.m. CST

    First!

    by Bob Loblaw Law Blog

    Oh yeah.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 4:14 a.m. CST

    Sounds ok

    by chuffsterUK

    For a laugh!

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 4:14 a.m. CST

    Great review!

    by Russkov

    Awesome writing as always, Vern. So it’s not even good in the “so-bad-it’s-good” way, huh? Oh well…

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 4:18 a.m. CST

    fuck it, I will rent it

    by redfist

    cant be worse than 28 weeks later…can it?

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 4:39 a.m. CST

    Howl for Justice

    by Midnightxpress

    I’d buy that for a dollar…

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 4:42 a.m. CST

    Hey Vern, i saw your seagalology…

    by Citizin_insane

    …on shelf in a mainstream bookstore here in Australia. Nice one

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 4:42 a.m. CST

    That’s the review I was waiting for.

    by DerLanghaarige

    Too bad that the movie sucks (And no, this was no vampire-pun.)

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 4:47 a.m. CST

    sign of the Apoclaypse?

    by Rocco Curioso

    When Vern himself CAN’T find a reason to recommend a Steven Seagal movie… can the end be too far off? If that’s the case, I’d better dig into my new copy of “Seagalogy”… 395 pages of unparalleled wit & wisdom. Merry Fucking Christmas, indeed.<P>Better be patient, redfist. “Against The Dark” doesn’t hit the video stores until February 10th.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 4:59 a.m. CST

    Is Seagal trying to be the new Blade?

    by Franklin T Marmoset

    It’s funny, I saw Blade 3 last night and was just rambling in the Twitch thread about various ideas for a new Blade, and now here is Vern with a Seagal take on the cool badass who fights vampires genre.<p>Now, I am not a huge Seagal fan, but I do enjoy cool people (male or female) fighting vampires, so I have a question for you, Vern:<p>How does this one stack up next to the various incarnations of Blade? Is he as cool as Blade? Do any motherfuckers try to ice skate uphill in against the dark?<p>Sorry, that is more than one question.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 5:16 a.m. CST

    Hey! Nosferatu!

    by nolan bautista

    what is the measure of a man? *SMACK*

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 5:43 a.m. CST

    But does he run like the girl he kills?

    by Pondscum is Banned

    I thought Seagal was already in a vampire movie, wasn’t he that fat woman in a tub in the first Blade movie?

    <p>

    And you forgot another potential Segal horror – a remake of the Blob. (Meow! I am bitchy today).

    <p>

    28 Doughnuts Later? No? Okay, I’m off. Toodles.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 6:09 a.m. CST

    hey Vern, I also saw Seagalology….

    by The Amazing G

    at my local Books-A-Million

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 6:20 a.m. CST

    “I’m gonna take out the posse.”

    by kwisatzhaderach

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 6:21 a.m. CST

    “One thought he was invincible…”

    by kwisatzhaderach

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 6:21 a.m. CST

    “…the other thought he could fly…”

    by kwisatzhaderach

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 6:21 a.m. CST

    “…THEY WERE BOTH WRONG!”

    by kwisatzhaderach

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 6:28 a.m. CST

    At least Seagal wasn’t in the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” remake.

    by Kevin Holsinger

    I don’t know if Vern could take that level of betrayal, given how much he hated that movie.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 6:41 a.m. CST

    such a sad, missed opportunity

    by just pillow talk

    Maybe Seagal needs to fight Yeti. Yeah…that would be the perfect match.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 6:46 a.m. CST

    Seagal and Van Damme, who will die of hunger first?

    by ricarleite

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 6:48 a.m. CST

    dead link

    by Epleterte

    what trailer’d you embed? it’s all gone, pete tong. Anyway, vampires on Seagals turf would be cool- maybe the drunk guy that recruited him into the CIA (in the first film) was actually a vampire, and thereby created his worst enemy, as Seagal excelled in CIAs fighting vampires programme.. who knows.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 7:05 a.m. CST

    “Time…

    by DocPazuzu

    …I need time…” sobs Nosferatu through broken fangs and pulped gums.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 7:26 a.m. CST

    by DocPazuzu

    Seagal: “I’ll take him to the bank… to the BLOOD BANK.”

    <p>

    Nosferatu: “Err, thanks.”

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 7:29 a.m. CST

    I also think he should do a werewolf movie called HOWL FOR JUSTI

    by Darth Busey

    “Seagal playing a werewolf” is the type of out of the box thinking that Hollywood needs to do more of.

    Bravo, Vern.

    p.s. Would the werewolf still have a ponytail in wolf form?

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 7:36 a.m. CST

    look at this shit Batman 3 rumour from Britain’s own gutter pres

    by jacksparness

    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/bizarre/artic le2048300.ece

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 7:37 a.m. CST

    sounds like it was written for Snipes

    by Spandau Belly

    Trying to go DTV with his Blade schtick, but since he’s in jail they probably gave it Seagal.<br><br>For the record, I would be fine with DTV sequels to Blade once Snipes gets out of prison.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 7:39 a.m. CST

    heh…I find that quite funny DocP

    by just pillow talk

    You thing your above the law, but you ain’t above mine.<p>Sure I am, I’m a fucking vampire.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 8:03 a.m. CST

    Keith David

    by Flyingcircus

    Is awesome and doesn’t get enough work. I agree he was Seagal’s best partner. I want to see another movie with the two of them “taking out the trash.” Hmm. Maybe literally. They could be ex-CIA guys turned garbagemen. There’s some kind of corrupt waste management organization. You could call it “Recy-kill” or “The Compactor” or something. Just thinking out loud.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 8:12 a.m. CST

    Hey Vern, I bought AND read your book…

    by Motoko Kusanagi

    …and I gotta say that it was totally focking awesome! A couple of times I laughed so hard that I almost suffocated. You’ve done a man’s job! :-)

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 8:30 a.m. CST

    Vern, I couldn’t even finish this movie. Damn shame.

    by Stuntcock Mike

    Too bad, Keith and Seagal need to do another Marked for Death.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 8:32 a.m. CST

    JUSTICE WOLF: FANGS A LOT

    by Stuntcock Mike

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 8:45 a.m. CST

    VERN PLEASE!: Talk to me about Punisher War Zone

    by Stormwatcher

    I totally missed it in theatres as I was waiting for your words on it. Also your thoughts on the Stallone Expendables, Come on dude, while you don’t owe us you can extend a little credit at least.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 8:54 a.m. CST

    I have to see just to say I watched it

    by Purgatori

    I think he should do a zombie film. I mean everyone else is, why not Seagal? Out for Brains?

    Anyone? Anyone?

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 8:56 a.m. CST

    Pretty Impressive for a 70-Year-Old

    by Aquatarkusman

    To be fair, though, Tom Cruise only has one more acting move (2 total) than Seagal.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 9 a.m. CST

    Happy Holidays From Steven Seagal

    by Aquatarkusman

    http://screaminseagal.ytmnd.com/ and he’s good with children http://stevenheartkids.ytmnd.com/

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 9:03 a.m. CST

    Stormwatcher

    by Gilkuliehe

    He wrote about it on his own web sight. http://www.geocities.com/outlawvern/ReviewsP.html#punisher_war_zone remove spaces, bla bla.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 9:07 a.m. CST

    My Name Is Tao

    by Crow3711

    Seagal saves a little girl who says “Who are you?” He just says, “My name is Tao,” then dramatically turns around and leaves to the tune of rockin’ guitars. I can only pray I make something as hilariously badass as that moment some time in my career.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 9:14 a.m. CST

    Where the hell is your PUNISHER: WARZONE review vern?!!

    by Mike_D

    wtf?

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 9:19 a.m. CST

    “For all we know it just gives them gas”

    by Rickey Henderson

    Hah, funny funny stuff Vern. Great work.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 9:25 a.m. CST

    PUNISHER WAR ZONE REVIEW by VERN

    by Gilkuliehe

    FFS people: http://tinyurl.com/4vrfjv

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 9:25 a.m. CST

    hancock ad

    by jacksparness

    please get rid of it, its slowing down my pc!

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 9:57 a.m. CST

    Vern: Seagal’s Lost His Passion…

    by DarfurOnTheRocks

    The man simply does not care anymore. It used to be about the martial arts and that was good. Then it was about that the environment and that was still good. Then it was about the philosopher tough guy that heck I even enjoyed that. But what does Seagal show us that he cares about now? Music? I am not sure. But the close ups of his head and the body double acting 80% of the time for him is very disappointing.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 9:57 a.m. CST

    GOD BLESS MR. SEAGAL!

    by DANNYGLOVERS_DICKBLOOD

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 9:58 a.m. CST

    and he has…..God has bless him….

    by DANNYGLOVERS_DICKBLOOD

    …with a fantastic physique and the cock of an elk.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 10:13 a.m. CST

    Thanks for the Punisher link, glad to have read it

    by Stormwatcher

    Confirms that its a must rent Blue Ray. Can’t wait.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 10:19 a.m. CST

    why the fuck wasn’t that Punisher review posted on here?

    by DANNYGLOVERS_DICKBLOOD

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 10:20 a.m. CST

    So what was the deal with Seagal and the NY mafia?

    by Darth Macchio

    Remember all that? I heard something about the mafia financing some of his productions and I guess Seagal didn’t pay them back so some shit was going down?<p>You know the media…it’s always those god damn water skiing squirls and never any real news.<p>He hasn’t been “hit” obviously but could he have ourselves the making of a JCVD only with Seagal? Steve acting as Steve fighting the mafia Godzilla vs King Kong style would be awesome. Not a vendetta movie trying to avenge a partner or dead wife and kids but just sheer “I’m Steve and am obviously going to stomp your ass into the ground…probably more than once” kind of film would be the sweetness.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 10:20 a.m. CST

    Great idea JPT – Seagal vs. Sasquatch

    by Coma Baby

    Has there ever been a martial arts movie with a yeti or sasquatch? If not, this is a gap that needs to be filled now and I think Seagal would be perfect to fill it. Seagal could play a mountain guide who maintains a peaceful coexistence and spiritual understanding with the sasquatch who inhabit the mountains. Mercenaries hired by a logging company are sent in to wipe out the sasquatch. He has to defend a group of hikers from sasquatch attack (who think they are allied with the mercenaries) and then team up with the sasquatch to take down the logger mercenaries. Seagal, call me people. I’ll write it. It will be awesome.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 10:23 a.m. CST

    “as a rising Seagalogist”

    by kabong

    Vern is the ONLY Seagalogist.

    And doing a fine job of it.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 10:24 a.m. CST

    Sorry, Coma Baby….

    by SubliminalJones

    but I already registered that script with the WGA and the Library Of Congress 3 years ago. But I was thinking Chuck Norris ;)

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 10:32 a.m. CST

    Why not…

    by Gislef_crow

    Steven Seagal as the Punisher? Seems like a match made in heaven.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 10:35 a.m. CST

    I learned my lesson with “Into the Sun”

    by turketron

    My roommate rented that movie and it was one of those times where you feel like you’ve been cheated out of hours of your life. Boring as shit, and there was bizarro shit in it like Seagal speaking Japanese to Japanese people who were speaking English. What a piece of shit movie, and I usually love bad movies.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 10:39 a.m. CST

    seagal and vampires!

    by LordTwinkie

    i’m so buying this movie, well maybe it depends on how much seagal is in it, MORE SEAGAL!! IN EVERYTHING!!! never has a man looked so manly running like a girl.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 10:39 a.m. CST

    Darth Macchio – re: MAFIA

    by DANNYGLOVERS_DICKBLOOD

    I remember there was some shady deal that involved money laundering and the mob agreeing to finance some of his films. Something went wrong with the deal and they pulled out– Seagal showed up at their compound and busted some fucking heads. He pointed to his chin and said “Here’s your prize. Now fucking take it.”

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 10:44 a.m. CST

    See?! That’s freakin awesome…

    by Darth Macchio

    …and it’s TRUE! Fuck JCVD…made up bullshit pretending like it happened when it didn’t actually happen. Seagal could play himself in a movie about Seagal going to the Mafia’s secret headquarters and basically beating them all into putty that he then uses to caulk the upstairs windows of the secret mafia hideout (you know how brutal those NY winters are).

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 10:49 a.m. CST

    All about Seagal’s and the Mafia…

    by Gilkuliehe

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 10:51 a.m. CST

    Sorry. Again: All about Seagal and the Mafia…

    by Gilkuliehe

    On Seagolgy, chapter 4. Available in stores everywhere.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 10:52 a.m. CST

    I meant Seagalogy.

    by Gilkuliehe

    WTF is wrong with me.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 10:52 a.m. CST

    SEAGAL VS. THE MOB — THE TRUE STORY

    by DANNYGLOVERS_DICKBLOOD

    Starring: Steven Seagal (as himself) <p> He could just steal a bunch of Bale’s lines from TDK. “I knew the mob wouldn’t go down without a fight…..” <P> He can also steal Statham’s entrance into the mansion in Transporter 1. Knocks on the door– goon looks through peep-hole and we see his POV of Seagal charging straight at the door– BOOM!! Motherfucker slides 20 feet across the fine Italian marble. <p>I want this fucking thing real time. It should be a tight 1 hour, 35 minutes from the time Seagel enters the compound, to the time he gets back in his car holding the mob boss’ fucking scalp. And I want a KILL COUNT and a ticking CLOCK in the bottom corner of the screen.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 10:54 a.m. CST

    SubliminalJones

    by Coma Baby

    Damn!

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 11:05 a.m. CST

    Seagal and The Mob….from seagalology.com

    by DANNYGLOVERS_DICKBLOOD

    The actor was a martial artist who specialized in playing tough-guy heroes on the big screen. Throughout his career, the star had made several claims of real-life heroics, including black-ops jobs for the CIA and encounters with organized crime figures around the world. The actor also apparently had a fixation with urban Italian-Americans, claiming at one time to be half-Italian when in reality his mother was Irish and his father Jewish. <p>

    On the FBI tape, they say that the tough-guy actor was “petrified.” At this meeting Anthony “Sonny” Ciccone, an alleged capo in New York’s Gambino organized-crime family, and his “right-hand man,” Primo Cassarino, joked with Vincent Nasso about Seagal’s less than heroic reactions to their shakedown attempts.<p>

    When the feds eavesdropped on the mobsters’ conversations about Seagal, the wiseguys and their associates seemed pretty confident that they had the tough-guy actor running scared, and they thought it was absolutely hilarious. Vincent Nasso was caught on tape saying, “It was like right out of the movies.”<p>

    At least one of Ueshiba’s students remembers Seagal being around at the time but doesn’t recall Seagal being on the mat very much. He remembers Seagal as the kid who was always playing guitar.<p>

    Seagal returned to the United States and married Adrienne La Russa while he was still married to [Miyako] Fujitani. When Fujitani learned of her husband’s new marriage, she filed for an annulment.<p>

    While promoting [Above the Law], Seagal gave an interview for the Los Angeles Times in which he obliquely referred to work he’d done for the CIA in Japan. “They saw my abilities, both with martial arts and with the language,” he said. “You could say that I became an advisor to several CIA agents in the field and through my friends in the CIA, met many powerful people and did special works and special favors.” <p>

    Acording to Vanity Fair, his first wife stated flatly, “He was never in the CIA.”<p>

    On the set of one movie, he challenged a stuntman, who was a black belt in judo, to try to choke him out, a judo technique in which pressure is applied to the carotid artery in the neck until the victim is rendered temporarily unconscious. According to one source, Seagal claimed to be impervious to the technique. He was wrong. The producers of the film became frantic when they saw their NBA-sized star lying unconscious on the ground.<p>

    Throughout the nineties, Seagal was accused of sexual harassment by employees and prospective actresses. Ned Zeman in Vanity Fair quotes an actress who described Seagal’s new spin on the casting-couch lure. According to the woman, Seagal had asked her to take off her top and groped her breasts in order to show her where her spiritual “meridian points” were located.<p>

    Not surprisingly, according to Vanity Fair, the last words Nasso [Seagal’s partner] said to Seagal were, “Go fuck yourself.”<p>

    For four hours, the defense circled and jabbed at Seagal. Many of Seagal’s claims from the past came back to haunt him. He was asked at one point if he had once hired “someone to set up a man in a compromising homosexual situation.”<p>

    Seagal exploded. “I’m not on trial here! … This is crazy.”<p>

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 11:05 a.m. CST

    I like our version of the Mob story better….

    by DANNYGLOVERS_DICKBLOOD

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 11:07 a.m. CST

    Vern– I’ll have you know I ordered 2 books…

    by DANNYGLOVERS_DICKBLOOD

    …for Christmas presents.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 11:14 a.m. CST

    Does Vern actually *like* Seagal or is it one long joke?

    by JackPumpkinhead

    I don’t really care, but I wondered at one point. I can’t really think of anyone over the age of 14 actually, genuinely *liking* Seagal (perhaps with the exception of his old films for nostalgia’s sake, or in the “he’s so lame” way someone might claim to “like” Vanilla Ice) – and for a joke, it’s been reeeeeeeeally stretched for too long…

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 11:15 a.m. CST

    JackPumpkinhead

    by DANNYGLOVERS_DICKBLOOD

    I genuinely like Seagal. So fuck off.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 11:23 a.m. CST

    VERN you need to review the ROME series

    by IAmLegolas

    Since you like Ray Stevenson. It’s not an action thing, but there is some good violence in it. Most of it done by him. Plus I would love to read a review on some outside-the-box like that.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 11:23 a.m. CST

    some=something

    by IAmLegolas

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 11:24 a.m. CST

    At least Against The Dark has that classic

    by skimn

    three word structure. Why does sound like a I Am Legend knock-off?

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 11:35 a.m. CST

    Tom Cruise gets the shit left and right

    by skimn

    for his Scientology beliefs and his general wacky (its like the guy has Red Bull running through his veins not blood) attitude, but I have heard stories similar to and including the ones Danny stated in his post about Seagal. Talk about living your life built on a foundation of bullshit.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 11:38 a.m. CST

    then you’re genuinely lame

    by cloudrider`

    and you have genuiely shitty taste in films.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 11:44 a.m. CST

    cloudrider`

    by DANNYGLOVERS_DICKBLOOD

    I hope you genuinely die in a car accident on your way home.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 11:46 a.m. CST

    The video was a trailer for THE KEEPER

    by Vern

    Which looks like kind of a MAN ON FIRE ripoff but crappier and more enjoyable.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 11:53 a.m. CST

    Transporter 2 was the MAN ON FIRE ripoff….

    by DANNYGLOVERS_DICKBLOOD

    ….it there is something crappier than that– I’m totally fucking in.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 12:05 p.m. CST

    no, really.

    by cloudrider`

    is it the ponytail, or the squinty eyes? oh, wait… maybe you genuiely like his movies for the stories.

    <p>stallone says seagal’s a pussy in one of his 20 rounds. i think that says a lot.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 12:07 p.m. CST

    Who cares when RUSLAN is fucking our eyeballs in 2009!

    by Stuntcock Mike

    Complete with Russian accent.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 12:09 p.m. CST

    thanks for the comments

    by Vern

    Lots of good ideas for movies. In all seriousness Van Damme was supposed to do a yeti movie a few years ago, but I don’t think he ever did. If I remember right it was called ABOMINABLE, but before the sasquatch movie of the same name came out.<p>

    Seagal’s movies were not financed by the mob as far as has been reported, but his long-time producing partner was affiliated with some mobsters and when Seagal wanted to stop making violent movies they attempted to shake him down. He was ridiculed in the media for these claims until an FBI wiretap proved he was right.<p>

    Yes I do genuinely like Seagal, I enjoy the goofiness of his movies but also think many of them are awesome. If you are curious enough to need an explanation my book only costs about eleven bucks on Amazon and seems to make an effective argument. Some of my best reviews were from snobs who said they never saw a Seagal movie in their life but somehow enjoyed the book. Be careful though because I have received word of many wives disappointed that their husbands started renting the whole Seagal filmography after reading the book.<p>

    Sorry I didn’t submit the Punisher review here, that would’ve been a good talkback. I usually only send reviews here if I see the movie early. That one I saw on opening night and it had already been reviewed here by Massawyrm and I think maybe one other person. But I agree there has not been enough post-release discussion of that one. Somebody sent me Patton Oswalt’s review – I think he gives it too much credit but it is an interestingly crazy movie worth checking out.<p>

    As for AGAINST THE DARK vs. BLADE, there is no comparison. They don’t bother to give Seagal’s character a personality and doesn’t have enough screen time to compete. Also they don’t have enough time to give him the kind of choreography and presentation that Snipes and stunt double got in the action scenes. To me Blade is one of the all time great iconic action characters, Tao is just kind of a throwaway.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 12:09 p.m. CST

    Who cares when THE KEEPER is fucking our eyeballs in 2009!

    by Stuntcock Mike

    Complete with Mexican dialog.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 12:13 p.m. CST

    I don’t know…

    by wampa 1

    …but it sure smells good!

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 12:13 p.m. CST

    Van Damme would die of starvation first

    by ArcadianDS

    Because Seagal has been following a strict diet of seal fat given to him by an Inuit holy man who said, “dude – you’d better fatten up or you’ll freeze out here!”

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 12:36 p.m. CST

    Genuinely like Seagal?….

    by Darth Macchio

    …how can you not like that totally kick ass heart punch he gives that big fat dude in ‘Aboive the Law’ after he tells that one guy that if he find out he’s lying he’s going to come back and kill him in his own kitchen! And people think “I’ll be back” is the best one-liner? Nonsense! “I’ll come back and kill you in your own kitchen” – now that is a fucking one-liner to tell mom about! That heart punch tho? That’s genius Seagal long before Wo Ping turned on-screen martial fights into a dance (not knocking the Ping here, the guy’s a genius…but there’s lots to love about a simple and elegant heart punch).

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 12:50 p.m. CST

    Actually, Seagal and Yetis is kind of a good idea.

    by subtlety

    Actually, as a Seagalogist I really dig the idea of Seagal as an ex-CIA black ops guy who is repenting by spending his time in a buddhist monastary. Then, the lead monk tells him in order to achieve peace with himself he must use his powers for good, and sets him out to fight a group of mercenary poachers who want to kill a Yeti and bring its hands back to civilization. The Yeti is a sacred animal to the monks and Seagal must fight the mercenaries and the elements in the himalayas as a lone man standing against the Yeti-poachers. Here’s the thing: unlike all those crappy Bigfoot or Yeti horror flicks (ie, Clawed, Sasquatch hunters, etc) in this film the Yeti would be kept as a colorful macguffin, not as the primary antagonist. Have Seagal doubt they even live up there, but slowly be convinced throughout the film that they just might be, as a parallel to the growth of his spiritual self. You can’t really use akaido on a Yeti, but the concept is pretty mysterious and intriguing and would help draw people into the conlifct with the poachers (let’s make them agents of an evil US corporation for good measure). Film it on location, and it’s a cheap make since it’s a small cast with almost no sets or major production necessary. <br><br>I know, I know, no windows to throw people through. But as a Seagalogist, I like the idea that it ties the buddhism, the environment, and the CIA stuff together and would finally let Seagal get back to a simple story with solid martial arts. You can even give him an excuse to speak another language or give him an equally ass-kicking Sherpa partner if you want. But I think that would be a pretty fantasic little film.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 12:50 p.m. CST

    ABOVE THE LAW IN 4 minutes….

    by DANNYGLOVERS_DICKBLOOD

    …watch and learn. <p>http://tinyurl.com/3nqz96

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 12:52 p.m. CST

    Subtlety

    by DANNYGLOVERS_DICKBLOOD

    That would honestly be a fun fucking movie.

    <p>You FUCK WITH THE ENVIRONMENT– SEAGAL FUCKS YOU!

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 12:54 p.m. CST

    even haters must admit– ABOVE THE LAW…

    by DANNYGLOVERS_DICKBLOOD

    ….is the greatest screen debut of all fucking time!

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 1:01 p.m. CST

    Seagal vs. THE THING: Return to Antarctica

    by Stuntcock Mike

    Keith David fucking LIVED!

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 1:41 p.m. CST

    I HAVE

    by cocolopez

    a real soft spot for the older Seagal actioners. “Anybody seen Richie? Anybody know why he killed Bobby Lupo? Alright- all the finocchs- get on the fucking pool table.”

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 2:01 p.m. CST

    and that great line….

    by DANNYGLOVERS_DICKBLOOD

    “Your brothers a fucking puke that touches kids and shit.”

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 2:12 p.m. CST

    what does it take to change the essence of a man?

    by subtlety

    not a transition to genre movies, that’s for damn sure. Well, other than the action genre, anyway. Having read Seagalogy, I now feel fairly deeply invested in Seagal’s career and now have genuine hope that he turns things around. As for all the people claiming he’s a jerk or idiot in real life, who fucking cares? I’ll never meet him; the only Seagal I’ll ever know is in the movies. And among his peers, he is among the more interesting figures out there for the very reasons that make Seagalogy a viable study. Sometimes it takes a fairly difficult person to make something interesting. Not that, ahem, he has recently. But still.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 2:34 p.m. CST

    if he was anything less than a dick in real life….

    by DANNYGLOVERS_DICKBLOOD

    ….I’d be disappointed.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 3:45 p.m. CST

    I have a lot of man love for Vern*

    by IAmMrMonkey!

    He’s probably the only guy here that I could imagine sitting down with a few beers watching a bootleg copy of Punisher: Warzone with. And he could tell me some cool prison stories too I guess. And then we’d watch a few Seagal movies whilst sniffing cocaine off a stripper’s back**.<p>* No gayness intended in that sentence.<p>** Only joking about the coke. But we could still hire the stripper.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 3:52 p.m. CST

    Marked for Devils

    by johnnyangelheart

    Steven Seagal and his family are killed but the Devil sends him back to get revenge!

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 5:27 p.m. CST

    Interesting

    by Arioch55

    As the Rod Blagojevich scandal continues to unfold, it’s worth recalling that Democrats in 2006 -led by Representative Rahm Emanuel- ran on the theme that they would end “the culture of corruption.” Indeed, Emanuel, in dismissing wrongdoings by Democrats at the time, explained them away as simply the actions of a few individuals. About Republicans, Emanuel said, “They have institutional corruption.” The argument put forth was that Democrats would bring ethics and high standards to public office and that the Democratic Party would embody integrity and police its ranks.

    It hasn’t quite worked out that way.

    As the sportscaster Warner Wolf used to say, let’s go to the videotape. In 2008 alone, we have the arrest of Democratic Governor Blagojevich on charges of public corruption, which include trying to sell Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat. Former Democratic Representative William Jefferson, a nine-term incumbent, lost his seat in Louisiana because of corruption charges, including allegations that he took bribes -of which $90,000 were allegedly found in his freezer during an FBI raid- from a company seeking lucrative contracts in the Nigerian telecommunications market. Tim Mahoney, the Democrat who succeeded Republican Mark Foley after the latter resigned due to a sex scandal, lost his seat when he, Mahoney, became embroiled in a sex scandal of his own. Former Democratic Governor Eliot Spitzer resigned in disgrace after he was caught up in a call girl operation. Democratic Representative Charlie Rangel is now under investigation for reportedly helping to retain a multimillion-dollar tax loophole for an oil drilling company at the same time that the company’s CEO was pledging $1 million to the Charles B. Rangel School for Public Service at City College of New York. Also, former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick resigned as part of a plea bargain in which he pled guilty to two felonies for obstruction of justice.

    Democrats seem to be doing a rather fine job at building on a culture of corruption rather than ending it.

    Corruption and scandals plague individuals in both parties, of course, and Republicans have had their fair share of them (including the conviction of Senator Ted Stevens earlier this year). There are scoundrels and honorable people in both political parties. But three things are worth bearing in mind at the moment:

    The first is that Democrats, in their effort to gain political power, made ethics a defining issue. They are the ones who set the expectations and the ethics bar very high. Having so far failed miserably to meet their own standards, they are vulnerable to the charge of hypocrisy.

    Second, when enough scandals occur in a concentrated time period, they reach a tipping point. The public begins to associate corruption not simply with individuals but with the party they represent; and that, in turn, can do tremendous damage to the “brand” of a political party. Such a thing happened to Republicans in recent years, and they paid an enormous political price for it. Now that same thing may be happening to Democrats.

    Third, President-elect Obama made the centerpiece of his campaign the promise that he would “turn the page” on the old politics and clean out our political Augean stables. As head of the Democratic Party, he is now responsible for its conduct, including its ethical behavior. It looks as if he has his work cut out for him.

    The Democratic Party has, in a matter of mere months, succeeded in creating a record of corruption that extends from mayors to governors to member of Congress. And the Blagojevich scandal is not only far from over, it may well extend beyond what we now know. It’s fair to assume that a lot of people are beginning to talk to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald in the hopes of gaining leniency, so we will see how far the tentacles of this scandal extend.

    The “culture of corruption” appears to be alive and well, aided and abetted by Democrats at almost every level. I rather doubt the national media will be as eager to highlight this issue as they were with Republicans. But the public might connect the dots anyway.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 6:47 p.m. CST

    Shout-outs to Blade and Keith David? Kewl!

    by Stalkeye

    Good call.

    As for that argument on who could kick who’s ass in a fight between Segal and Lee; My salary goes on Bruce hands -fucking- down.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 7:21 p.m. CST

    Fuck your wall of text

    by ebonic_plague

    Arioch I hope Seagal assaults your balls. <p> Now fuck off.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 8:19 p.m. CST

    Nightmare on Deadly Ground

    by johnnyangelheart

    Seagal has nightmares about a powerful industrialist raping the Alaskan wilderness. He must pull the industrialist from his dreams into the real world in order to inflict a beatdown that will change the essence of a man.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 11:10 p.m. CST

    “How could that NOT be awesome?!”

    by Billyeveryteen

    Oh, that’s how…<p>Pure gold. Good work sir, sorry about your hero.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 11:46 p.m. CST

    This movie would have been better if it had been good.

    by otm shank

    LOL Thanks Vern. As always, another great review.

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 3 a.m. CST

    Subtlety

    by Vern

    I would definitely be excited to see that movie. It works in the Seagal themes that AGAINST THE DARK does not. Maybe if they threw some buddhism into the vampire story he would’ve put more elbow grease into it.

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 7:50 a.m. CST

    Suggestion For The Ponytail

    by Aquatarkusman

    Re-team with Pam Grier, ya dumb bastard!

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 12:29 p.m. CST

    Vern

    by subtlety

    yeah, it kinda seems like Seagal has really stopped believing that anyone cares about his movies, just as Seagalogy is finally gaining some traction (yup, saw it in my local bookstore yesterday). I mean, I think reading it really got me to understand why Seagal has always struck me as more interesting than peers like Chuck Norris… its the unique touches that make all the difference. Kinda heartbreaking to find him taking just any old role at this point in his career. He needs to get a script by someone who really understands the essence of the iconic Seagal to get back on his game. And with Pistol Whipped and Urban Justice, I think it fair to say that he puts forth the effort when there’s material which can effectively make use of his talents.

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, December 21st, 2008 at 4:01 am and is filed under Action, AICN, Reviews, Seagal. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

9 Responses to “Vern Vs. Seagal Vs. Vampires In AGAINST THE DARK!!”

  1. Seagal must stop these crossoveracts. Attack Force was his scififilm = BOMB. Submerged got also some futuristic tone = BOMB. Against The Dark is his horrorfilm = BOMB.

  2. Wow, I gotta say you guys are harsh on this one. Yes, even you, Vern. (Betcha didn’t expect to hear me say that.)

    What didn’t work – a lot of the dialogue felt scripted. These characters don’t talk with urgency, they talk like they’re reading lines from a book, even when they’re fighting off vampires.

    Seagal himself is a fairly minor character, yet is introduced with rip-roaring musical cues every time he’s onscreen. (Remember what I said in another talkback about music making or breaking scenes in a film? Here the effect is that Seagal’s character is made to feel corny. It’s not his fault, it’s just that every time he appears, we get a crescendo of noble beats that don’t appear anywhere else in the film.)

    A deeper problem for me is that, as usual, everybody loves Seagal. This was a problem in “The Patriot” (not that that film didn’t have enough problems to deal with aside from that one) and it’s a problem here, because what it essentially means is that everybody unquestioningly obeys whatever Seagal says, and nobody wonders whether or not he might be wrong. Add that to the divine musical cues and lack of backstory, and Seagal’s character becomes a kind of divine figure, literally appearing out of the darkness to light his followers’ way. Trouble is, it also means that there is zero conflict between him and the people he’s leading. He really has no character, nor has he any meaningful interaction with any of the others.

    Oh, and talking of which, they have a great setup for a “fifth column”-type twist at the end, and I thought they were going to use it. Apparently they decided not to. I’m not sure if the film is better or worse for this. It’s probably good that they decided not to turn the film into a cut-rate version of “The Thing”, and there’s nothing more annoying than a group of protagonists who let petty stuff override their survival instincts time and time again. (As so often happens in low-budget horror.)

    So this lot… they get on well, when they’re together. And they have no problem fending for themselves when they’re not. I like that. One does wonder how three of them in particular survived as long as they did, and then it turns out that these three are the final survivors.

    And it has to be said, their vampire defence strategy sucks. I know the movie wouldn’t be any fun if the lead females were wearing full body armour instead of tight cleavage-displaying tops, but you’d think they’d at least have the sense to carry improvised weapons or something.

    Other bad points… while mercifully light on avid farts for the most part (“Submerged” had them coming out of its ass – and that mixed metaphor worked so much better than I’d thought), this movie does drop the ball in the action editing department. I also thought it was funny that they credited another guy as “voice of Tao”. What happens in the foreign dubbed versions?

    Good point now… there’s kind of an interesting theme throughout the film about the humans being the real monsters, “Omega Man”-style. I thought that worked better than it should have done, considering what it’s ripping off to do it. The actors manage to rise above the uncomfortable script, for the most part. Nobody does a really bad job, except on occasions the editors. There’s a little girl character that’s played well and manages not to be close to as irritating as she should have been, again considering what she’s ripping off here. (In a word: Newt.) It was fairly well paced, tense at points, and, some shaky editing aside, there was nothing too objectionable about it.

    So in summary – far better and more interesting than “Submerged”, in my opinion. Not close to “Marked for Death” or “Fire down below” or any of Seagal’s greats, but not as complete a disaster as it could have been either.

  3. So come on… which DVD should I watch next? Here’s what I haven’t seen yet: “Above the Law”, “Out for Justice”, “Ticker”, “Half past Dead”, “Belly of the beast”, “Out for a kill”, “The Foreigner”, “Clementine”, “Out of Reach”, “Into the Sun”, “Black Dawn”, “Shadow Man”, “Today you Die”, “Attack Force”, “Mercenary for Justice”, “Flight of Fury”, “Urban Justice”, “Kill Switch”, “Pistol Whipped”.

    So what’s next? Vern, hit me. I was going to see “Pistol Whipped” based on your review, but on the whole I think I could definitely go through this with a “start with the worst, end with the best”-type philosophy. And I find it hard to believe there are any on that list that are worse than “Submerged” (I might end up regretting saying that, but oh well.)

  4. Paul – You could do that, but thats like starting off hooker sex with her bitting your ass than fellatio and then intercourse. Its your right man, but…why?

    Of course if you ask me, the only three movies you mentioned I would consider recommend about be ABOVE THE LAW (very slick actioneer), OUT FOR JUSTICE (very trashy actioneer) and then after them, URBAN JUSTICE (slick trashy actioneer).

  5. Thanks RRA, I’ll leave those ones until last then. I think I’m going to go with what I’ve been doing so far, if only because I don’t want to be in the position where I’m thinking “Damn, I’ve watched all the good ones, now the rest will be a chore rather than a pleasure.”

  6. It’ll be a chore regardless of order, and what if after all that hours wasted you discover that maybe ABOVE THE LAW or OUT FOR JUSTICE weren’t worth it after all?

  7. Yeah, but RRA, somebody’s got to see them all. And you know, I’d rather savour the anticipation for the good’uns, even if they don’t finally live up to it. At the end of the day, Vern can’t be the world’s foremost Seagalololololologist forever. He needs somebody to pass the crown to. And that somebody should be a person with the enthusiasm, drive, and critical mind to take this thing forward. Who better than myself?

    You remember when Superman went into retirement, passing the burden of crime-fighting onto the son he’d had with Lois Lane? This is something very similar.

  8. Paul – Well kudos if you want to bear the cross, just don’t whine about getting nailed, ok? Rock on dude.

    As for Superman, if I know DC Comics writing of the last 20-25 years, Superman would eventually take the mantle back and that kid goes away to obscurity, later to be randomly killed in some overlong, silly epic storyline that won’t matter 6 months later.

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