Well, it happened. Last Saturday, after 15 years of admittedly weird dedication to anonymity, I went and stood unmasked in front of the Cinefamily theater to publicly share my love of the action films of S. Seagal. A couple of you who were there kindly told me not to worry, that I looked exactly like Lee Marvin, but on the internet I saw my looks compared to two different comedians. I won’t say which ones, so go ahead and assume Roddy Piper and Chopper Read. But now there are a couple blurry Loch Ness Monster type photos of me out there, and Griff says I am not buff and I look like his dad. Giving my reputation a hit like that was not what I had planned for my summer vacation.
But I got no regrets and the reason why can be summed up with one frame of film:
That’s right, it’s OUT FOR JUSTICE’s classic opening freeze frame of Seagal as Detective Gino Felino grimacing through a pimp-shaped hole in a windshield. For years it has been a Hall of Fame movie moment for me, and yet I never even contemplated the idea of one day sitting in a theater full of people going fucking nuts for that credit.
In the context of the evening it was a culmination of 4 or 5 hours of buildup. I know from talking to people that HARD TO KILL and UNDER SIEGE 2: DARK TERRITORY had gained some new converts, and reignited some lost love. Even for the seasoned Seagalogists it was impossible not to be hyped up by seeing those two classics in a row with what I think is an ideal audience, one ready to laugh lovingly at absurdity but equally able to cheer in genuine excitement. The only audience mishap was when “I’m gonna take you to the bank, Senator Trent” got such a loud reaction that first-timers probly missed “To the blood bank.” So here it is for you:
Now, what you wanna do, you wanna take a theater full of movie lovers, spend a few hours setting them to peak Seagal appreciation levels, and then you wanna throw this in front of their eyes:
I kinda get a chill just thinking about it. By the way, Phil Blankenship – the god damn saint who put this whole thing together, obtained the prints, hosted and convinced me to take part – asked the film’s editor Robert A. Ferretti on stage if he had any inkling when creating that sequence that it was, like, the most badass thing ever. He said yeah, it was obvious.
Phil is also the guy who programmed the trailers, including several Seagal classics and things he said were there for historical context (LOCK UP, FAIR GAME, COP AND A HALF, LAST ACTION HERO, LAST BOYSCOUT, a ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES teaser that came attached to OUT FOR JUSTICE…) He and Jeremy Smith (formerly Mr. Beaks) of The Ain’t It Cool News, whose drunken tweet to Phil apparently ignited the whole thing, did the hostly heavy-lifting, which was a real blessing for me. You know, I am not generally what you would call a public speaker. I don’t even like to talk loud on the bus. There were two months there where I was more scared of this thing than excited. I would think about it and feel my innards involuntarily clenching like I was gonna implode. I’d been writing up notes and practicing different things but I was sure I was gonna either shit my pants live on stage or open my mouth and not be able to speak human words. Just make squeaky little bird sounds or something.
To psych myself up the morning of the event I thought about a trip I took to Dollywood a month earlier, when I made a point of not looking at the tracks before going on the rollercoasters. I had no idea how many loops and high drops I’d have to deal with until they were right in front of me. I just had to trust in the professionals to keep me safe. I told myself to do that here, but I knew I’d still be terrified when the time came.
Except I wasn’t. Those guys made me feel so welcome and appreciated that even when I was standing alone outside hearing them overhype me to the crowd I hardly even felt nervous. And I think I did pretty good. Better than I thought I would, at least.
I instantly fell in love with Cinefamily, or I think technically The Silent Theater, a historic 175 seat theater run by the non-profit Cinefamily. There’s a little patio out back where they had a barbecue and hung up a display of some of Phil’s collection of foreign Seagal posters. The front section of the theater has couches instead of regular seats, and I got the best couch in the house for a marathon almost literally made for me.
Of these films I’d only seen UNDER SIEGE 2 on the big screen, unless you count Bob Odenkirk (Fargo) and David Cross (ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS) playing a DVD of ON DEADLY GROUND and making fun of it at the Olympia Film Festival. Of course this crowd was infinitely better.
I can’t help but think back to myself in the little bedroom I lived in in the early 2000s, watching VHS screeners of OUT FOR A KILL and shit, filling out my chart of Seagal motifs and amusing myself with the idea of doing a fairly academic study of every one of them. I thought it would be fun and I told myself I had to go through with it because even if it wasn’t very good it would still be cool or funny for such a book to exist.
I stuck with it for about 5 years before I finally self-published it on lulu.com. That whole time I figured selling 100-200 would be the highest thing to aim for. That around 12 years later that idea caused a total stranger to fly me out to Hollywood and watch beautiful 35 mm prints of some of Seagal’s best – including god damn ON DEADLY GROUND! – with an enthusiastic crowd… it just seems impossible.
Seriously, you guys, follow your creative whims. Sometimes they know where they’re going.
And I think with all his hard work Phil did what I was trying to do with that book: find the other people who love these movies and recruit some new ones. It’s evangelical. It’s saying yeah, people make fun of Seagal movies, they make jokes about Seagal being fat or whatever, but why care what people who don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about talk about? If you think Seagal never had it then you are simply incorrect. Allow me to introduce you to exhibits A, B, C and D. That’s what Phil did, and it worked!
A rundown of the festivities with some thoughts:
(disclaimer: as if you can’t tell already, this is gonna be a little long and self-indulgent. I’m not some guy who writes a diary, so this will be my record to help me remember the details of this historic night)
HARD TO KILL
Before the movie we talked a little about how ABOVE THE LAW established the premise of Steven Seagal and why everybody should see it. I argued that HARD TO KILL stood out because they almost kill him, when in most of his movies he’s not injured in any way. I think I said that he rises like a phoenix from the ashes.
The movie went over like gangbusters. Actually I’m not sure what gangbusters are, so instead let’s say it went over like HARD TO KILL deserves to go over. I was especially gratified that the horse escaping captivity after the shootout received applause.
A stupid detail I really noticed on the big screen was the portrait of the Storm family hanging in the stairway at the beginning. That would be great if somebody still had that and they made a print of it. Or maybe I should try to re-create it for a t-shirt.
Also, I feel that on this viewing I appreciated the one-liner “Now you’re a good cop” more than ever before. I never really thought about it that a normal movie would have to have a part earlier where somebody says “The only good cop is a dead cop,” and this would be a callback. I even checked the script, but this line wasn’t even in there, let alone some sort of set up for it. No, HARD TO KILL trusts you to get the reference.
And man, I always forget that he turns into a slasher villain at the end. He’s fuckin hunting the last couple guys from the shadows. He even writes “YOU’RE NEXT” on the wall, like in that recent indie slasher movie. I forget what it was called.
Afterwards we talked about the “blood bank” line, the fact that he actually doesn’t bring him to the blood bank, and what happened to Senator Trent in the script that I read (spoiler: he gets his head impaled upside down on the fireplace grill and his hair catches on fire). We discussed one of my favorite aspects, the juxtaposition of the opening attack with GANDHI sweeping the Oscars, and what that means. Jeremy thought I was joking about the script specifying that Sonny wanted E.T. to win, but I wasn’t. It’s first mentioned in an unnecessary pre-stakeout opening:
Storm and Felicia come down to car, his arm around her. Sonny grabs his father's shirtsleeve.SONNY Daddy ... (very serious) Daddy, is E.T. gonna win?STORM He's got my vote.Storm laughs and ruffles his son's hair.
and later, after Storm returns from the stakeout and the liquor store robbery…
He comes into the room, sits on the edge of Sonny's bed -- tousling his son's hair with great affection. Sonny takes the stuffed toy sleepily, pulls it into bed beside him.SONNY E.T. lost.Storm knows E.T. is not just a movie character to Sonny; he's a real person.STORM Who won?SONNY I dunno. Candy.STORM Candy?FELICIA (from doorway) Mahatma Candy. He was a great man.Storm moves closer to his son. He sees how much E.T.'s loss has hurt his son, and wants to make it better.STORM (very gently) You know why E.T. lost?SONNY Why?STORM Cause they only let grownups vote. If kids had voted --SONNY (cheered by this) -- We would have gave E.T. everything!STORM We would have given him everything.SONNY Yeah.
That’s really from the script, I didn’t make that up. I wonder if they filmed it? ‘Cause they could use it in some E.T. anniversary tribute montage some day.
Also, wouldn’t it be funny if we tried to do a double feature of GANDHI and HARD TO KILL? I’m not sure if that would work.
Before the movie I’d mentioned that Andy does some “unethical nursing” in my opinion (the part where she checks out his dick while he’s in a coma) but afterwards I meant to bring up that she’s also the world’s worst housesitter. She brings a fugitive to her friend’s house, causing the place to get shot up, priceless antiques to get smashed and the horse to escape. In the book I wasn’t sure whose horse it was, but of course it has to be on their property since it leaves through the hole they make by crashing the Jeep through the gate. Speaking of the Jeep, they give it away to some car thieves. Not responsible.
I was also happy that Phil brought up the eagle caw at the end of the training sequence, always a favorite detail of mine.
(SIDE NOTE: The marathon inspired a controversial piece on Grantland. I like the piece because their Seagalogist knows his stuff and this is much more thoughtful and respectful than the kinds of thing you would’ve seen several years ago. If that’s my influence then it makes me proud. But of course I do have some disagreements and one is on their characterization of the training sequence. They don’t seem to remember that he’s weak because he’s rehabilitating himself after a 7 year coma. That’s why it’s not the same as a sequence in ROCKY.
Also, before you start voting for “saddest training montage ever put to film” I think you need to check out the one in PUSHED TO THE LIMIT, which includes a game of hide and seek.)
UNDER SIEGE 2: DARK TERRITORY
Before our second movie we talked of course about how great Eric Bogosian is in it (and my wish for Miranda July or Julia Sweeney to be the villain in a potential part 3). I tried to explain my concept of Golden Age vs. Silver Age Seagal. I fumbled a question about what to look out for in the movie, and was reminded later that “the recipe for fruit salad with crystallized ginger” would’ve been the correct answer.
Afterwards we talked with Richard Hatem, who wrote the original draft of the script with Matt Reeves. Reeves went on to direct CLOVERFIELD, LET ME IN, DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES and that show they used to have with Keri Russell, I forget what it was called, while Hatem wrote THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES and writes and produces for a ton of TV shows (Supernatural, Dead Zone, Grimm), so he thought it was hilarious that we wanted to revive this silly first produced script of theirs. He told great stories I had no idea about. It turns out they did not set out to write UNDER SIEGE 2, they set out to write a rip off of DIE HARD with a train expert as the hero. (I didn’t take the chance to bring up UNSTOPPABLE.) Theirs was one of three scripts shown to Seagal as potential sequels, and he chose a different one, but the studio made him do this instead.
(Maybe train movies test well?)
He talked about how putting Seagal in the movie changed the whole thing, that it couldn’t help but be a Steven Seagal movie, which of course supports the thesis of my book. He described his one scary meeting with Seagal, which involved being invited to a private island where they would’ve done the rewrites but he was afraid Seagal would hunt them. He listed a bunch of people who did uncredited rewrites, and the one that got me was Brian PAYBACK Helgeland. An Academy Award winner as well as Freddy alumni. I never knew that!
I had two stupid questions to interject. One was about Travis Dane saying “Chance favors the prepared mind.” It’s a quote from Louis Pasteur, and I always wanted to know why he’s so into Louis Pasteur, but Richard didn’t write that line. He said that pretty much all of his dialogue was changed except for Dane’s “This is your captor speaking” speech, which is certainly one he should be proud of.
The other question was if Dane really thought ahead and brought that backdrop of the Eiffel Tower onto the train, which got an emphatic yes from Richard.
Not surprisingly he was very happy about Bogosian’s performance in the movie. What was really cool though was that it sounded like he liked the movie much more than when he saw it back in the day. It seemed like he had some good humored bitterness about what it became but looking back with distance and with the help of an amped up crowd he saw how enjoyable the movie turned out.
Phil in particular was excited about how well DARK TERRITORY went over. We’d been criticized on the talkbacks for choosing it over the original UNDER SIEGE. We all thought it was a better choice for what we were doing – it’s undervalued, probly less seen than the first one, and we had Richard to talk about it – and after we watched it we knew we were right. That movie is awesome, you guys.
OUT FOR JUSTICE
I believe in the intro we all agreed that OUT FOR JUSTICE is the most badass Steven Seagal film. Phil had me explain The Badass Auteur Theory, we talked a little about our love for John Flynn, and I tried to describe how in other movies the villain has some master plan but in this one he does what he’s gonna do (kill Gino’s partner) at the beginning of the movie and then he’s just gonna fuck around (shoot random people, smoke crack, pick on the disabled) in the neighborhood until Gino inevitably kills him. (spoiler)
As much as I loved seeing all of these movies on the big screen, it was OUT FOR JUSTICE that I got into the most. It’s just so relentlessly badass. My favorite scene is the bar scene where Richie’s brother won’t give Gino any information, so Gino goes through and taunts and beats up every single other person in the bar and then comes back and threatens the brother again. This is such a long and intense sequence and when it was over that was another very satisfying applause break.
As I mentioned earlier we got to have a Q&A with the editor, Robert A. Ferretti. He’s an old school Hollywood guy who edited a ton of movies we here hold dearly: GYMKATA, LOCK UP, TANGO & CASH, DIE HARD 2, SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO… With Seagal he did not only OUT FOR JUSTICE but also UNDER SIEGE, ON DEADLY GROUND, OUT FOR A KILL, TODAY YOU DIE, MERCENARY FOR JUSTICE, and even the aikido video THE PATH BEYOND THOUGHT (didn’t get a chance to ask him about that). He also told me he’s doing a new one with him called FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC.
Obviously he’s very close with Seagal, so I was a little worried he might think we were making fun of him. But I don’t think he felt that way because he said he called Seagal at the end of UNDER SIEGE 2 to let him hear our applause. When we were asking about his relationship with Seagal he said “I don’t know, you want me to call him?” Then he proceeded to do just that on stage, holding the mic up to the speaker phone. Of course we got to cheer for the man and he was filled in that we’d been watching his movies for 7 hours and were about to dip into ON DEADLY GROUND. He joked about our “stamina” and “You aren’t sick of me yet?”
We just left it at that, we didn’t try to interview him, but of course we were all in disbelief that this was happening. Later Tawdry Hepburn asked me why they didn’t give me the phone, but jesus, I was relieved. What the fuck would I have asked him?
But Mr. Ferretti had alot more to offer than that. It turns out he knew everything about ON DEADLY GROUND because he was heavily involved, doing research, the shot list and working on the edit on set with a digital system he invented. “You directed ON DEADLY GROUND?” Phil joked.
He told great stories, and happened to confirm some of my long held beliefs about these two movies:
1. Yes, Billy Bob Thornton did improvise all his lines. Also he told us a story about Thornton (who directed ALL THE PRETTY HORSES) hating horses.
2. Yes, the dog scenes in OUT FOR JUSTICE were added in later. Also, it turns out, that pimp-throwing opening.
One great OUT FOR JUSTICE anecdote was about the Warner Brothers brass wanting to cut out Richie executing the random woman in traffic. They were all worried about it and then they had a test screening where the audience burst into applause at that part. (I don’t think we even did that!)
I asked if it was true that the ON DEADLY GROUND environmental speech was originally even longer. He didn’t really answer that specifically but told us about the studio heads begging Seagal to take it out, trying to negotiate all kinds of trade offs like releasing it separately as a documentary short. That shows you how much clout Seagal had at that time, and probly never again. They wanted him to make it a more normal action movie and he basically said fuck you, I’m right about this. And he was, even if the world wasn’t ready for it at that time.
Ferretti laughed about his “kitchen sink” approach to editing the scene, throwing in every piece of appropriate stock footage he could find to avoid having to show Seagal standing there behind a podium. He also agreed that the speech was very heartfelt, accurate and ahead of its time. But also weird at the end of an action movie.
He told stories about how much they worked with the Natives, having all kinds of blessing rituals and weather prayers.
Before we started the movie of course I gushed about its sincerity, its containing the #1 and #2 Just How Badass Is He? scenes in all of Seagalogy, and I think I said “the bar fight that ends in the most unpredictable and awesome way.”
ON DEADLY GROUND
Obviously I’ve done some studying of ON DEADLY GROUND; it is after all Seagal’s only directorial work and the key to all of Seagalogy. But here’s a little detail it took the added clarity of 35mm projection onto the big screen to notice: the first guy Taft takes out in the bar fight has a fuckin Tong Po haircut!
It’s hard to make out on the DVD there but I swear it’s true. I haven’t seen KICKBOXER 4: THE AGGRESSOR yet, but I’m gonna go ahead and assume that Tong Po survives, because clearly he moved to Alaska to start a new life as an oil worker. Either that or this happened first (both movies came out in 1994) and after he brushed himself off he realized he needed time to change back into a guy who fights in death matches.
Another thing I definitely never noticed about this movie before: if you watch it late at night after 7 hours of other Seagal movies then that middle vision quest/Spirit of the Man Bear part seems kinda long. I think the excitement level on this one definitely suffered a little from our fatigue, but only in comparison to how well the other three movies played. This was still a revved up audience, and I was very happy that the theater was almost full at the end (I was worried about how many people would get tired and clear out before the most important film of the night).
Even if there were some bleary eyes it was just what you would’ve wanted: cheering for “I need time to change,” for R. Lee Ermey’s bikini underpants speech, for Billy Bob Thornton’s lines and most of the other great moments. I feel like if we had watched it earlier in the night when we were at 100% awakeness then the perfect comic timing of the “Where are you going?” “To the bathroom” scene would’ve gotten more of a laugh, but that’s okay. ON DEADLY GROUND definitely went over well and left people smiling more than yawning at the end.
(That reminds me, I didn’t tell them this, but I have some cans of Lightning Bolt in my cupboard, and I thought it would be funny if I had one there and just casually popped it open and started drinking it. But then it occurred to me that those cans are several years old and one of the ingredients is a type of fungus. It coulda gotten ugly I think.)
Anyway, seeing ON DEADLY GROUND in that context felt like we were the ones going on a sacred journey that will be good for all people. I can’t believe I got to see that shown to a receptive audience! I can’t even call it a dream come true, because I never would’ve dreamed it.
NOTES ABOUT VISITING HOLLYWOOD
I’ve been in L.A. a bit, but never really seen Hollywood proper. They were nice enough to put me up in a fancy hotel, and it was one of these hipster ones I’ve heard about, but I never knew what that meant. When I walked in it seemed more like a satirical movie than real life. Guests who looked like models and/or actual hired models were hanging out in the lobby, which included shag carpeting, hanging bubble chairs, a DJ playing electronic dance music, and a bouncer with a velvet rope that I thought was for a VIP party but was just theming for the elevator. Connected to the lobby is a 24 hour diner and a Warby Parker eyeware show room. As I walked up to the billygoat-bearded attendant to check in it took me a minute to realize there was also an afro’d model in her underwear, laying in a glass box behind the desk, reading a book (I didn’t see what it was, but wouldn’t it have been perfect if it was Seagalogy?). Of course I played it cool, like this was all normal. No problem. I see this typa shit all the time. I couldn’t be that cool though when I kept making him repeat his questions because I couldn’t hear him over the music.
My room was next to the pool, which had its own DJ and an all day, most of the night party. In the morning I thought there was an ambient DJ but it turned out to be a guided meditation session. In the hall they projected experimental film loops. I joked that that was all that would play on the TV too. Not true, but they did have a channel where you could watch it.
This all sounds, and is, very ridiculous, but I loved the experience. After the marathon on Saturday night I came in about 2:30 am and there was still music playing and people wearing red fur coats and shit standing around like it was daytime. I felt sorry for a normal looking family I thought might’ve gone there by mistake (I wonder if the kids saw the naked lady stencil art in the stairwell?) but thank you hotel-that-Brad-Pitt-owns-in-the-beginning-of-OCEAN’S-TWELVE, I enjoyed my stay.
It’s weird being in the city most responsible for creating our entertainment, and realizing that means you’ve heard of everything. All the major street names are familiar from either movies or west coast hip hop. In this area on Sunset Boulevard and around there I saw too many legendary establishments to keep up with: The Comedy Store, The Whisky A-Go-Go, The Viper Room, The Chateau Marmont.
I’d heard this about California before, but it was especially true of this area: almost everybody you see is really good looking, well dressed and hip. (Or a stripper.) If they weren’t I usually assumed they were tourists, like me. Walking around I was surprised to realize that I felt more out of place here than when I walked among the country music fans in Nashville. Maybe I’m just more intimidated by these people. I tried to be in good shape and well dressed for this trip (attention to detail note: I even wore a vintage 1970s kung fu belt buckle and circa 2006 Muhammad Ali Adidas that I’d been saving for a special occasion like this). But I can’t compete with these people. You order food at a diner and the waiter looks like he could be on Days of Our Lives.
That made Cinefamily even better, because it’s right in the heart of this exotic weirdness and yet it was instantly clear that these were my people. People who get excited about a 20 year old action movie that your average moviegoer doesn’t know is a classic. And of course it didn’t hurt that they treated me like the Ewoks treated C3PO, or like I was a Make a Wish kid. My god you guys, I was not prepared for the reception I got. I was worried I brought too many books, but I should’ve brought more. Sorry I only had five copies of Niketown – I really didn’t think anyone would want it. I didn’t know it would be like this. I spent all the time between movies signing books and shaking hands, and everybody was so incredibly nice to me. I met a Dirty Dozen of regular commenters here and several people whose writing I know from movie websights or who I recognized from Twitter.
There was a guy whose son had taken him there for Father’s Day.
“Did you take him to violent R-rated action movies when he was growing up?” I asked.
“Not really. But we’re catching up now.”
Another guy had me sign one for his buddy for a wedding gift. There was a guy wearing a Viva Val Verde shirt, another with a home made Seagalogy jersey I saw from across the patio, but didn’t get a good look at. One guy told me he flew in all the way from Nashville! There was a self-declared Bruce Willis obsessive who quizzed me on Bruce’s birthday (I didn’t know it, she did). There was a woman who showed me her FIFTH ELEMENT wrist tattoo. I met Joseph Maddrey, who did that book with Lance Henriksen, Not Bad For a Human. And Patrick, who won one of my Titan Books video contests. And I sold a book to fucking Bill Lustig! I told him I was a big fan of his movies but I was too flustered to remember that VIGILANTE was called VIGILANTE, otherwise I would’ve tried to discuss with him the concept of the look. I just kept thinking “No, it’s not VENGEANCE. What is it called?” and then I gave up and only mentioned MANIAC. Well, if he gets to page 35 in the book he’ll see that I mention VIGILANTE as a comparison to MARKED FOR DEATH.
That reminds me. Confidential to whoever asked me about STREET WARS and I said I had only seen it as True Justice episodes. I’m an idiot. Not only did I see it, there’s a whole chapter in the updated book about it because it came out as a PAL dvd a long time ago. Sorry about that bud. Don’t tell anybody though because I have this reputation as knowing stuff about Seagal. You understand. Thanks bud.
And holy shit, I gotta thank some people for the incredible gifts they brought me. David Lambert, who has linked us to his great portraits of Badass Cinema icons, gave me this original drawing of Seagal:
david j. moore (who I was honored to finally meet in person) gave me a print of the cover of his great new book
World Gone Wild: A Survivor's Guide to Post-Apocalyptic Movies, which I did the introduction for and which pretty much all of you would love because it’s a coffee table book about post-apocalyptic movies. (I’ll do a separate post about that shortly.) He also gave me a soundtrack CD of “The ANGEL Trilogy” (the official packaging takes the understandable position that part 4 does not exist), which was a very appropriate gift since those movies are such a love letter to Hollywood Boulevard, which I’d visited earlier in the day.
Eric Perrier, who already generously sent me some incredible t-shirts after I bugged him about a THEY LIVE silk screen on his twitter avatar, came up and handed me this new masterpiece:
As of now he doesn’t sell any of these shirts but if he ever decides to I will let you all know because I promise you every one of his designs will be up your alley. If I was a rich guy I would hire him to be my personal t-shirt maker.
Also, Frank S. gave me medals so secret I can’t show them to anyone. Not necessary, very appreciated.
And who was it that handed me a twenty saying it was a face-to-face Paypal donation? You guys – and this includes those of you who couldn’t be there – are so nice to me. It’s overwhelming. I honestly never expected to get this kind of validation ever in my life. I kinda feel like an asshole talking about it because I’m used to being self-deprecating, but this thing went so well all I can do is gush.
I can’t possibly thank you all enough. Especially Phil and Jeremy, all the staff and volunteers at Cinefamily who were so nice and accommodating to me, Richard Hatem and Robert Ferretti, everybody who came up and talked to me, everybody who just came and laughed and cheered for Seagal, and of course that poor lady that had to be in that glass cage with no pants on. I hope to some day jump in front of bullets for all of you (and then shrug it off like Ryback does in DARK TERRITORY.) It was pretty damn close to the best day of my life, and I hope to use its memory as Striving For Excellence fuel for many years to come.
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.