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Archive for the ‘Seagal’ Category

Code of Honor

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

tn_codeofhonorIf you are absolutely dead set on seeing no more or less than 1 (one) of the 2 (two) Steven Seagal films that came out last week, and you can’t be talked out of it, I highly recommend CODE OF HONOR for your specific circumstances only. Here, my friends, is a movie where Seagal seems almost like a co-lead. Where he sort of fights a guy once or twice. Where he stands up and/or walks in many of his scenes. This is the hardest he’s worked on film all week!

On the other hand, it’s sort of a distressing sign that he came out with two movies within a few days of each other where his main activity is using a sniper rifle. He even uses the phrase “watch your six” again. You can tell he’s into that, because it was part of the tag line for SNIPER: SPECIAL OPS. Playing a sniper is a distressingly convenient way for him to do action scenes without having to do any choreography, martial arts moves, or acting with other actors. Also sometimes he’s sitting down in a chair. This could be a big problem. If he’s a sniper in his next movie it will be a bad, bad sign.

This sniper obsession is a period within his current Goatee Era. These days his characters always look the same, with too much shit on. The goatee, the tinted glasses, a bulky coat, a scarf, a backwards hat, and now he’s big on ear protection like he’s at the gun range. (read the rest of this shit…)

Sniper: Special Ops

Monday, May 9th, 2016

tn_sniperspecialopsRemember the opening/teaser trailer scene of AMERICAN SNIPER, where Bradley Cooper (THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN) and his partner are on a rooftop somewhere in Generic Dusty Middle East, watching a woman through a sniper scope, not sure if she has a bomb or is just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and they’re agonizing over whether or not to shoot her? Steven Seagal’s latest as of last Tuesday (but since surpassed by a new VOD one on Friday) opens the same way, except there’s no agonizing, they just know he’s a bad guy and they shoot him.

Seagal plays Jake Chandler, the eye in the sky for a group of special ops soldiers on a mission to save a Congressman abducted by an evil Taliban leader. They get attacked, leaving Seagal and an injured soldier behind, but then they help a local woman who turns out to be the Taliban guy’s daughter-in-law. Also there’s a whole thing with an embedded reporter (Charlene Amoia, AMERICAN REUNION) who they kind of condescend to because she’s a civilian and a woman, but she steps up and impresses them. They have some shootouts and a tense hostage exchange and what not. All very small scale, maybe one CGI explosion, but at least the gun flashes are real.

Despite the title, this is not related to the SNIPER series, nor is it very much about snipers, and despite Seagal being the only person Photoshopped onto the cover he’s not the main character at all. That would be Sergeant Mosby (Tim Abell, MERCENARIES, SPECIAL FORCES), a likably gruff lug who reminded me of Kevin Nash mixed with Ron Eldard on Justified. The story mostly centers on him, and he’s the one that makes the decisions and talks with the lady and stuff. (read the rest of this shit…)

Under Siege 2: Dark Territory – celebrating 20 years of nobody beating him in the kitchen

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

tn_us2us2-20I know the internet reminds us that every day is the 20th anniversary of something or other, and that’s not always a good thing. There is too much nostalgia, and too many factoids. We need to learn how to live in the present, otherwise what the hell anniversary are we gonna celebrate 20 years from today? But today, my friends, is an important one: July 14th, 1995 was the day the world was gifted UNDER SIEGE 2: DARK TERRITORY.

I think you know how I feel about this movie. It stands as one of Seagal’s best big studio movies, one of the great sequels in the history of action, and one of the best DIE HARD rip offs. It’s a cool, accessible Seagal with a great supporting cast (especially the villains) doing enjoyable special-effects-based spectacle action while also spreading the gospel of choking and wrist-snapping. I’m not sure I can write a new review of it, since of course I wrote a whole chapter about it for my book Seagalogy: The Ass-Kicking Films of Steven Seagal and talked a little more about it in my Cinefamily Journal last year. So instead, to honor the occasion, let’s take a look at some of the key players and consider how much they’ve accomplished in the two decades since. (read the rest of this shit…)

Absolution

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

tn_absolutiona.k.a. Mercenary: Absolution

ABSOLUTION is the latest from Steven Seagal, and his first to go straight to VOD before going to video this week. I guess it also played a couple theaters, although I have not heard any reports of anyone seeing it in one. I think this is more a sign of changing markets than of this particular movie’s quality. It’s not markedly different or better than his other recent works.

In ABSOLUTION Seagal faces a villain known only as “The Boss,” but I don’t think it’s supposed to be Bruce Springsteen. Either that, or there’s alot I didn’t know about Bruce Springsteen. Vinnie Jones (SUBMERGED, GUTSHOT STRAIGHT) draws upon his experience in BRADLEY COOPER’S MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN to play this tweed-wearing kingpin who works out of a professorial type office with globes and bookshelves and stuff, but his hobby is video taping himself in a fetish mask torturing and murdering prostitutes in a kitchen in the back of his 24-hour dance spot Club One.

Two things happen here. First, John (Seagal) and his life-debt partner of three years Chi (Byron Mann, BELLY OF THE BEAST, A DANGEROUS MAN, True Justice) have done a murder-for-hire on a  whore-loving, coke-snorting gangster called “The Afghani,” (a very good douchebag performance by Sergiu Costache, who’s actually Romanian) and are killing time before extraction by having some Johnnie Walker at the Danube Blues Club. Second, one of The Boss’s victims (Nadia, played by Adina Stetcu) escapes him, runs through the Club One dance floor, onto the streets, into the Danube, and literally into John’s lap, begging for help as The Boss’s underlings try to drag her away. (read the rest of this shit…)

A Good Man

Monday, September 15th, 2014

tn_agoodmanex3-seagal“The rate this is going we’re going to run out of Russians soon.”

A GOOD MAN – not to be confused with A DANGEROUS MAN, A SERIOUS MAN, A SINGLE MAN, A SOLITARY MAN, HE WAS A QUIET MAN, etc. – is the latest Steven Seagal picture, continuing what at first glance looks like Seagal’s Goatee Period (SGP). The new facial hair seems to represent the evil Seagal from another dimension, or at least a slightly darker Seagal. In the opening narration he explains that he has both light and darkness in him. Later he calls himself “a regular man who does bad things to bad people.”

He doesn’t seem like as much of an anti-hero as the Russian gangster he played in his last movie, FORCE OF EXECUTION, but he is a guy who goes around literally chopping up gangsters and leaving them strewn across alleys. Technically that’s not that different from what he does in other movies, but it’s presented differently. The first pile we don’t see as an action scene, we see it as a crime scene investigated by detectives. And he leaves a calling card – incense in their hands, the Chinese characters for “Gwai-Lo” – like a serial killer.

But on closer examination, this gangster-slayer actually is an alternate reality version of the guy from the last movie. On a behind the scenes featurette writer/director Keoni Waxman says they originally started writing it as a sequel to “our last movie,” which would explain the returning beard and that both characters are named Alexander. (read the rest of this shit…)

Seagal related song of the week

Friday, September 5th, 2014

Yes, it’s true, there has been a new Steven Seagal film out for 2 weeks and I haven’t seen it yet. I hope to view and write about A GOOD MAN (and also Michael Jai White’s FALCON RISING) soon, thanks for asking about it. To hold you over, I want to share this song that a rapper named Gutta sent to me.

Seagal has been referenced in many rap lyrics, most notably when Inspectah Deck says “Bust this, I’m kickin’ like Seagal, Out For Justice” on Wu-Tang Clan’s “Bring Da Ruckus.” Here Gutta, who told me he read Seagalogy in the middle of working on this, blows away whatever was the previous record for most Seagal movies mentioned in one song. He goes deep. He mentions CLEMENTINE, for crying out loud (the Korean tearjerker where at the end the hero has to fight Seagal in a competition).

Enjoy, and have a good weekend.

 

Vern’s Cinefamily Journal

Friday, June 20th, 2014

tn_cinefamilyWell, 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:

(read the rest of this shit…)

Maximum Conviction

Monday, December 17th, 2012

MAXIMUM CONVICTION is one of these powerful action team ups we get now in a post-EXPENDABLES world. Second-billed Steve Austin is probly the most reliable DTV guy after Scott Adkins, with a bunch of pretty good ones under his belt (DAMAGE, RECOIL, HUNT TO KILL) and a durable persona as seen-it-all-skullcrusher-with-an-inherent-sense-of-decency. Headliner Steven Seagal is… a guy I wrote a book about.

To tell you the truth I didn’t have alot of faith in him for this one. He seems to have grown comfortable as boss man on his ensemble TV show and lost the DTV eye of the tiger he had a few years ago when he did the historic URBAN JUSTICE/PISTOL WHIPPED one-two punch. His recent efforts (although some might not call them efforts) have been worthwhile for my deep Seagalogical analysis, but not too inspiring as works of entertainment. And the trailer for this looked pretty crappy, I thought.

(read the rest of this shit…)

Seagal + Stone Cold Steve Austin = MAXIMUM CONVICTION

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

tn_keeperJust when I was thinking Seagal didn’t have any movies in the can this article on Heat Vision informs us that Anchor Bay has purchased the rights to MAXIMUM CONVICTION, a movie where Seagal is one of two security contractors hired to decommission an old prison that comes under attack by mercenaries. So, HALF PAST DEAD in an empty prison? The good news is that for the first time this will team Seagal with WWE Superstar™ Stone Cold Steve Austin. Which is a huge upgrade from Ja Rule. (read the rest of this shit…)

AGAINST THE DARK taking over the world

Friday, February 25th, 2011

tn_atdghanaIt has been brought to my attention that a hand-painted AGAINST THE DARK poster from Ghana is for sale on the ebay for $250.75. That may seem like alot, but please keep in mind that it’s 15% off of the regular price. And it’s not like it’s $251. It’s a quarter cheaper than that. Not bad.

Nah, I’m just fuckin with you, actually it is a reasonable price for an artifact like this. If you’re not familiar with the Ghana approach to movie posters, they are literally one-of-a-kind original paintings, usually done on cut open flour sacks, that hang outside of the little shacks where the movies (I believe on DVD now) are shown on a TV screen. I have a really good book about it called Extreme Canvas: Movie Poster Paintings from Ghana, but I think that one’s hard to find now. There’s another one that’s supposed to be good called Ghanavision. I enjoy these posters because of their crude look and occasional extreme disregard for movie accuracy. Also I like when they obviously didn’t have much reference material, so they’ll put Arnold Schwarzenegger in his RAW DEAL undershirt for T2 or something. (read the rest of this shit…)