ON DEADLY GROUND: Still ahead of its time

I’m sure I’m not the only one this has occurred to. In the end of his directorial debut ON DEADLY GROUND, Steven Seagal did a speech and slide presentation about the environment that seemed to predict Al Gore’s Oscar and Nobel Peace Prize winning AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH. Seagal was mocked and ridiculed (admittedly partly because the movie is hilariously absurd) but the essential truth contained in the movie can’t be denied. And now, with this disastrous oil spill, his points seems more relevant than ever.

I was thinking about that when I came across this article from the Huffington Post about a whistleblower in the Alaskan oil industry who talks about oil workers faking test results for “preventers” similar to ones that failed to do their job of preventing the explosion in the BP spill. This whistleblower could almost be Seagal’s late, lamented buddy in the movie. He told Forrest Taft about the “faulty preventers” that were being used despite the danger of causing something like this. In the movie, Taft snuck onto the rig and heroically imploded it. We weren’t so lucky in real life.


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73 Responses to “ON DEADLY GROUND: Still ahead of its time”

  1. brad greenspan

    May 13th, 2010 at 3:20 am

    Hi Vern,

    I know this is totally off topic but please review Robin Hood.

    You haven’t done a review on sword and sandals movie since like Gladiator and we can definitely do with one.

    Your No. 1 Fan

  2. Aikido master, actor, bluesman, lawman … and prophet.

  3. This movie continues to creep it’s way to being my favorite Seagal film with each viewing. It’s currently at #3 now.

  4. What are numbers 1 and 2? I’m going with Out For Justice and Marked For Death, but I can understand if Under Siege is in there.

  5. Mr Majestyk,

    Ahem… Hard to Kill?

    I really want to rate On Deadly Ground higher among Seagal’s work, but his earlier stuff is just better.

    On Deadly Ground is the most pure of his visions, but that doesn’t mean its a better film because of it. It’s just so damned weird.

  6. I used to think Hard To Kill was better than Marked For Death, but I’ve changed my mind in recent years. Having Screwface as the villain just takes it over the top.

  7. Yeah, Screwface is pretty awesome. Completely insane, blue eyed voodoo blackmagic Jamacian: thats good. Make him identical twins and its even better.

    But the dickhead from Die Hard 2: Die Harder isn’t a bad consolation prize, he really can pull of the snide politician asshole. Plus, there are so many great moments in Hard to Kill – the weird sex scene right before his family is killed, him coming out of the coma with the Genghis Khan beard, the training montage, the ‘blood bank’ quote, etc.

    To each their own though, can’t really go wrong either way.

  8. I got this email from a buddy on May 3…

    “About half way through the article they mention that the blowout preventers failed and that BP still doesn’t know why…
    I think those of us who have seen “On Deadly Ground” know exactly why… ”

    I probably love MARKED FOR DEATH best, but DEADLY GROUND produced several of the finest and most enjoyable viewing experiences of my life. One time a friend and I watched it and paused it to recreate the classic hand slap game… which turned into like a hour-and-a-half tournament to the death. Also, we were pitiably drunk. Anyway, it is great. Unlike the amateurish later efforts, the fact that its so bugnuts crazy and yet still looks like a classy, big-studio effort just makes it all the more surreal. And actually, bananas as it is, its a pretty nicely structured and narratively cohesive effort.

    I’d say my Seagal favs go like this:
    Honorary mention: BELLY OF THE BEAST, INTO THE SUN, OUT OF REACH, MERCENARY FOR JUSTICE, URBAN JUSTICE, and (of course) HARD TO KILL. But bear in mind I’ve only seen everything up to and including KILL SWITCH. AGAINST THE DARK is an almost impassably terrible roadblock. Ive only been able to make it through like 15 minutes intervals of it. But I’ll perservere. Hopefully he’ll make a few down the road that get my excited to work my way to them.

  9. It’s really just a judgment call. There are no losers in Golden Era Seagalogy.

  10. mathias, don’t forget sex slaver.

  11. that segal, still looking for holes.

  12. When I heard about this the first thing I thought was “I wonder did Hugh notice the stress cracks on the faulty preventers and then get his fingers broken off by that fucker from Scrubs?” Seagal was way ahead of his time with ON DEADLY GROUND, he was right about the plankton too.

    My brother and I would watch that bar fight scene from ON DEADLY GROUND every day after school. We even knew all the off screen comments from bystanders by heart (“What is that – halibut?” “Maybe he ate that in Maggie’s in Beldine”). That one, OUT FOR JUSTICE and FIRE DOWN BELOW are my absolute favorites with the rest of the golden era coming close after. Although I have a soft spot for UNDER SIEGE 2, a fun time at the movies. As Vern says in Seagalogy though, that “how badass is he?” speech from ODG is amazing.

  13. Mr. Majestyk, I have to agree with you, Out For Justice is # 1 and Marked For Death is a close second.

    Seagal, should make an On Deadly Ground 2 he could brutally beat the shit out of some corrupt BP execs.

    It could open with a press conference with a high level BP exec denying any accountability for the spill suddenly he is interrupted by Forest Taft (wearing a buck skin coat with fringe of course) who confronts him with some incriminating information. The exec denies everything and calls Taft a lunatic activist, but Taft warns the exec that he better hope the law gets to him before he does. The image freezes after Taft’s warning and the camera zooms out to reveal that the press conference footage is being watched on a big screen monitor by the exec in his office with a number of big bad looking dudes and a few suits. The exec lectures the men in the room about the danger Taft represents to them and their business, he tells the big bad looking dudes he doesn’t want another situation like the one in Alaska and to take care of Taft by any means necessary. The thugs nod in compliance before exiting the room. Once they have left one of the suits asks the exec if he believes they will be able to handle Taft. The exec responds that he is not sure so just to be safe get the fixer on the phone this may require someone with his unique skill set. The exec returns his attention to the still paused image of Taft on the monitor and the camera begins to zoom in on the image of Taft. The Exec remarks, “Mr. Taft today the hunter becomes the hunted”. Cut to the title card On Deadly Ground 2: Black Tide.

  14. Hey Majestyk, did you just post a review of KNIGHT AND DAY over at AICN or did somebody bogart your name?

  15. Nah, that ain’t me. Apparently somebody’s been using that name over there intermittently since before I had an Internet presence, so it’s the only site I go to where I’m not Mr. Majestyk. (Speaking of which, which one of you guys is Juanito, who gave me a shoutout over at the AV Club?) When I post over at AICN (which is a very, very rare occurrence), I go by TheContinentalOp. Not ContinentalOp, that’s another guy. He starts a lot of shit and then I get blamed for it. Needless to say, this identity crisis is one reason why I don’t really fuck with that site very often.

  16. Ah, because I was going to say, that review sure as hell didn’t read like something written by my favorite watermelon farmer/student of badass cinema.

  17. I think it would be hilarious to make a Seagal movie out of the BP thing, once it’s over and doing so would be considered “tactful”. If Charles’ version was made I would absolutely watch it, although there’s enough funny-sad moments in this whole crisis on its own. My favorite part is the American group that insists that the American Government should “sieze” BP’s assets (because what the Americans really need when they’ve got to deal with an oil-spill is to get into a hot war with the United Kingdom!)

    Anyway, Seagalology debate. Let ‘er rip.

    There’s an easy favorite for me: “Marked for Death” is very very far ahead of Seagal’s other body of work – at least the parts of it that I’ve seen (which is a lot). Without giving away too many spoilers here, if any other film has a more plausible way for a character to survive a decapitation, I’d like to see it. Plus, Basil Wallace is easily Seagal’s best antagonist, beating out the likes of Michael Caine, Billy Bob Thornton, Tommy Lee Jones, Gary Busey**, Isiah Washington and Kris Kristofferson with worrying ease.

    My top picks: “Marked for death” (by a mile), “Fire Down Below”, and “Under Siege 2” (which I found more amusing than the first one, if only because it rackets up more drunken debauchery in the old drinking game of “count the phallic symbols in movies” than just about any other film I can think of. Seriously, just try counting the moments where giant choppers rise up from the ground, missiles become erect, and trains go in and out of tunnels. I guarantee you’ll run out of beer a lot sooner than the movie’s 100-plus minute running time.)

    My least favorite picks: easily “The Patriot” and “Hard to Kill”. I know “Hard to Kill” gets a good reputation but I just don’t get it… it’s not “so bad it’s good” so much as “so bad it’s just boring”. I couldn’t get through it. “The Patriot” did nothing for me, and I think most people probably agree on that one.

    **Although the little improv bit with Busey in makeup and women’s clothes demanding to know whether or not he needs a “psychological evaluation” from “Under Siege” still ranks right up there with the Seagal canon’s best moments. Just wanted to throw that out there.

  18. I like THE PATRIOT a lot actually. Its basically a real movie which inexplicably has Seagal in it. If it were Kevin Costner or someone it might have been better received. Interesting plot with some worthwhile political pondering and pretty scenery. Almost no action at all, but I can deal with that. Plus, Seagal’s final kill is pretty epic. Yeah, I think its a nicely made and very watchable thriller/drama. With, ah, Steven Seagal in it.

  19. It’s true. Everybody loves my melons.

  20. Paul,

    Of course everyone has their own opinions regarding Seagal’s work, but I’m a little stunned by your dislike of Hard to Kill.

    Steve is at his best: young, quick, brutal and silly.

    The villain is hateable enough: Slimy politician who’s in bed with the mob. Plus he’s played by Major Stewart.

    The plot is simple: they killed his family, now he’s gonna kill them.

    The action is good: plenty of shooting, akidoing, etc.

    And the moments of hilarity are frequent. That makes for a totally sweet Seagal movie, at least in my opinion. All due respect, but Fire Down Below? Really? If you would do us the honor of an explanation, I would appreciate it.

  21. I really like Fire Down Below. It’s weird to see Seagal try to be a sensitive hippie who just wants to play guitar and fix a nice widow’s porch swing and shit, but then he forgets about all that peace, love, and understanding crap and starts blowing up everything in sight. I think it’s the last truly top-shelf Seagal vehicle.

    As for Hard To Kill, I was kind of surprised to find that it didn’t hold up as well as I’d thought it would. Of all the Golden Era films, I think it looks the most rinky-dink and generic. It’s still an enjoyable movie, don’t get me wrong, but I think it’s the weakest of the first wave of Seagalogy.

  22. Yeah despite some great moments I find HARD TO KILL a little disposable and generic. Not a lot of style, pretty standard 90s low-rent action stuff with a light dusting of crazy. Not bad by any means, but not gonna be up there with my favs.

  23. Here’s a question that has vexed man since time began. Which scene is better: The bar fight in ON DEADLY GROUND, or the pool hall fight in OUT FOR JUSTICE? For me, nothing beats the cue ball wrapped in a towel. “Anybody seen Richie? Anybody know why Richie killed Bobby Lupo?” Classic.

  24. The JUSTICE fight is better. Great choreography, inventive moves, nice escalation, clear camerawork. But the DEADLY GROUND fight is the real classic, because of the unexpected way it ends.

  25. Darth Irritable

    May 13th, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    The first four films in the Seagal Canon are far and away the best, followed by On Deadly Ground, though I am still trying to work out what the hell was going on with Michael Caine’s makeup. Out for justice was the weakest of the first four, but that pool hall scene was pretty good.

    I have to admit to enjoying Seagal’s venereal disease movie (forget the title but something about he has a fire down below and needs to find lots of barrels of glowing green VD creme) to make it all better.

    Has anyone noticed that Seagal foreshadowed the Wesley-Snipes-as-Blade dramatic head movement in Marked for Death?
    “One thought he was invincible. The other thought he could fly.”
    Dramatic turn of head plus dramatic pause:
    “They were both wrong.”

    The man is a pioneer in so many ways.

  26. “Fire Down Below”… well, it has a great cast of bad guys, and Seagal demonstrates the ability to deal with them in many different ways. Some he negotiates with, some he threatens, some he (Marg Helgenberg’s brother is my personal favorite. That guy is NUTS.) It has a good plot. It has a believable setting. To me it was one of the most entertaining Seagal movies, and also one of the most engrossing. I know it’s not one of Vern’s favorites, but hey, we’ve demonstrated that we have different tastes in some of these things.

    I can’t remember enough about “Out for Justice” to comment on its bar fight, it’s so long since I saw it; but the “On Deadly Ground” fight is probably the best scene in the movie.

    And I’ve never seen “Pistol Whipped”. Would like to remedy that some day.

  27. Incomplete sentence up there should read: “Some he negotiates with, some he threatens, some he deals with by breaking their arms, and some he just sets on fire.”

  28. Well shit it sounds like its time to revisit Fire Down Below. It’s been a while since I last saw it, but the memory is Seagal being a little chubby and the commando park-ranger thing being sort of lame. Thinking about it now, a commando park-ranger guy sounds cool, perhaps my Seagal palette has matured.

  29. Oh and the bar fight in On Deadly Ground is the best. Along with the hand slapping, the comments he dubbed in through the whole scene are a funny indulgence. The whole fight is Seagal tooting his own horn, hard.

  30. Steven Seagal IS…Mark Trail.

    They made Marmaduke into a movie. Why not?

  31. I know I’m gonna have to turn in my Vern fanclub membership card after saying this, but the only Segal movie I’ve ever seen is Under Siege and I confess that I mostly watched it just to see Erika Eleniak’s big ole boobs

    I plan on changing that soon though…

  32. I have to agree with Mr. Subtlety. I also find Hard To Kill kind of generic. In addition I also agree with his assessment of the Out For Justice bar fight in comparison of the bar fight from On Deadly Ground. Another great Seagal fight is the chase scene through downtown and fight in the department store from Marked For Death. It is equal parts absurd and brutal.

    Griff, if you are going to get into Seagal start with Out For Justice. It is a great action movie, and Seagal’s best.

  33. Mark Trail… Yeah that sounds good.

    Someone get Micheal Bay on the phone.

  34. The ranking of Seagal movies is, of course, an absurdity. As Vern has said, Steven Seagal is an auteur who visits the same themes in different ways over his canon of movies and finds new ways to explore these themes, whether animal compassion, ecology, political corruption, criticisms of violence and so on. On the human level (where we forgive and enjoy) I think the hardcore fans view the sequence, through golden, silver and DTV era, as a continuous unfolding narrative, telling the story of Seagal’s various alter-egos, some of which collide with reality (or don’t), others of which may inhabit a darker inner world. As my son and I say to each other – whether watching the amazing, quintessential ODG or the curious Kill Switch: “It’s just always good to see him again!”

  35. I have to go with Out For Justice as being my favourite Seagal film. It literally kicks ass and has the best moments in all of Seagology. Bar fights, one liners, Seagal monologues, Gina Gershon, I could go on and on. I don’t think I can down the road of a second or third favourite as it does seem to differ on my mood.

  36. I like HARD TO KILL, an enjoyable action movie with just enough Seagalogical touches. I agree that it’s probably the most generic of all the golden era ones, but come on, that is in no way an insult or means it’s bad. I love the sequence when he wakes from the coma and escapes from the hospital, and the whole training and regaining his strength is brilliant. Writing the list of medicines, running up the mountain, giving himself acupuncture. “You give me this beard?”

    The whole thing with his cop buddy and son was a bit crap all right, but the final showdown definitely satisfies. Shotgun shoved into Senator Trent’s mouth, “this is for my wife, fuck you and die”. Stabbing guys with a pool cue.

    Regarding the bar fights debate, for me it has to be the ON DEADLY GROUND one. It’s just so damn unique. And has the “little native guy” (Wheelub I think) drunkenly prophesize the rest of the movie. The OUT FOR JUSTICE one is of course awesome and totally badass, but I never bought the whole “he ain’t so tough without that badge and gun” thing. Of course he is.

  37. so majestyk, you aren’t the conti over there who wrote that bale tirade comic I started then put off, the professionals?

  38. I like out for justice because of gina gershon talking about giving head.
    she did it with such anger, I wonder if there wasn’t some life imitating art going on there.

  39. Jareth Cutestory

    May 14th, 2010 at 9:02 am

    Seagal’s involvement in MACHETE isn’t central, but some FOX News guy is predicting that the film will cause a “race war.”


  40. edc: I don’t know what you’re talking about, so I’m gonna say no, that probably wasn’t me.

    What’s a conti?

  41. Mr. Majestyk.

    Out For Justice is my #1. (“You know, the one with the nipples you could dial a phone with”)

    Marked For Death is #2. (“Quit the blood clot cryin’ “)

    I also have quite a soft spot for Under Siege 2: Dark Territory. (“MMMMMMMMMRYBAAAAAACKKKK!!!!!”)

  42. All goofin’ around aside, On Deadly Ground has some sweet-ass cinematography going on in the landscape department. It really is a good looking film.

  43. I think my favorite line from OUT FOR JUSTICE is “He’s killin’ people like it’s free.” To this day, I’m always mentioning that somebody who’s doing something too much is doing it like it’s free. It works best when the thing in question is actually free. People get confused.

  44. I remember Vern mentioning in Seagalogy the voiceover dialog during the fight scenes in ODG.

    I always crack up when SS puts the whipping on some random 70 year old guy.


  45. Majestyk, Out for Justice is just so damn solid beginning to end.

    “You wouldn’t say that shit if Richie was here.”

    “Yeah, but Richie ain’t here! Know why? ‘Cause he’s a chickenshit fuckin’ pussy asshole.”

  46. conti would be the other continetalop.

  47. Oh. Yeah, no, that’s not me. I had a little chat with him once and I basically ceded him the name. He was getting a lot more use out of it than I was.

  48. Why has no one mentioned Above the Law in their favorites? it is surely a contender. Hard to Kill is kitsch and borders on crass sometimes, Marked for Death is OTT very often and Out for Justice always struck me as a bit seedy and dirty in places. ATL, on the other hand, suffers less from any of these afflictions, as well as being SS’s introduction to the world of celebrity, with the fantastic, unrepeatable, quasi-autiobiographical beginning sequence being almost a mini-movie in itself.

  49. I’ve got your back Faisal, while I think MARKED FOR DEATH is probably more fun and I’ve grown fonder and fonder of HARD TO KILL’s early 90s kitsch and purity/simplicity over the years and viewings, I would say ABOVE THE LAW was the “best” Golden Era (cf. SEAGALOGY) Seagal flick.

  50. I’ll add another one to the list of films that deserve a mention: “Exit Wounds”. While by no means one of the best, I found it enjoyable to watch. The twists are both predictable and dumb as hell, but a train-wreck isn’t any less fun to watch if you know it’s coming. It’s got an all-star cast including Anthony Anderson (at his utmost best), Isiah Washington and DMX (although both are somewhat wasted in it). It has a great cast of misfit police officers, corrupt or otherwise, and one of the highest testosterone levels of any movie I’ve ever seen. To counter that they throw in an utterly ridiculous supermodel police chief (in one of the roughest neighbourhoods in the city) and an anger-management class. Also, there’s a scene where Seagal throws the vice-President (I think) of the United States off a 100-ft bridge and causes a helicopter to violently explode by shooting it in the door. If all that happens to be your “thing”, you will like “Exit Wounds”.

  51. Alright PacmanFever, let’s move on shall we… to the Silver Era. Now this is much more tricky, no? Fire Down Below, Under Seige or… the underest¡mated (even by Vern, I think) The Glimmer Man. What d’yer think?

  52. Well I’m certainly more enthusiastic about THE GLIMMER MAN than Vern is (going by SEAGALOGY). I mean I can’t dispute the word of the world’s foremost Seagalogist, but personally I certainly wouldn’t take any of the DTV era efforts over it. But ultimately I have to be honest if slightly safe and admit ON DEADLY GROUND is my favourite “Silver Seagal”. I’m not sure how much of my enjoyment of it is ironic (there’s certainly a lot of it I find funnier than I’m supposed to…) or sincere (…but there’s a lot of great action, and it’s technically far in advance of most Seagal pics), but I do know the film is 100% pure Seagal, and of that batch it’s the one I’ve seen the most, and the one I think of the most (and with the only friend of mine that’s a fellow Seagalogist, quote the most)

  53. Well, how about this for the Silver era:

    On Deadly Ground
    Fire Down Below
    Under Siege
    The Glimmer Man
    Under Seige 2: Dark territory
    Executive Decision

    … and, moving on, for the transitional period:

    Exit Wounds
    The Patriot
    Half Past Dead

  54. Honestly the only Silver Era entries I would consider “good” without blinking an eye would be the UNDER SIEGE series and FIRE DOWN BELOW. I mean Andrew Davis made perhaps the best DIE HARD knock-off in US, outside of the DH sequels I suppose. And US #2 is to US #1 is like IRON MAN 2 is to the first IRON MAN. Undenialby not as good, but still a terrific fun time at the movies.

    FIRE DOWN BELOW, as Vern excellently put it, is delicious B-exploitation action cinema. If anything I think Seagal figured out that preaching with sledgehammer to the skull like ON DEADLY GROUND is not going to get out his environmentalist message. In fact in FDB it almost at times threatens to be a MacGuffin plot device, but Seagal gets out his propaganda by pointing out that fucking the environment is bad not because the environment is getting fucked, but because it fucks us too in the process. That is something most of these environmental message movies like that shitty DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL remake keep forgetting.

    Plus in spite of Seagal and his foreign schtick (and tacky warddrobe), FDB does come off as being part of the redneck action cinema tradition of say WALKING TALL (original) so good job there.

    GLIMMER MAN isn’t a bad movie, but I can’t exactly say its a good one either. Such an uninspired by the numbers forgettable buddy cop movie. The only touch I still remember is Seagal using that credit card to cut a bitch. That was good.

    I don’t consider EXECUTIVE DECISION to really be a Seagal movie, I mean we might as well include MY GIANT too if we’re playing by those rules.

    And dammit, I refuse to.

  55. Jareth Cutestory

    May 16th, 2010 at 11:31 am

    Or that episode of ROSEANNE where Seagal turned up.

  56. The one weak part of FIRE DOWN BELOW is

    the whole incest/ molestation angle. wtf was that? Terrible idea to put that alongside of the glowing ooze plot, it just makes everything kind of tense and uncomfortable. I feel like it might have worked in the script but as Seagal added his goofy touches to it someone should have known to change that.

    EXIT WOUNDS, however, I have no love for at all. Just a drag. I almost prefer HALF PAST DEAD. I actually even enjoy the horrible meandering GLIMMER MAN more (maybe its because I was drinking every time glass broke).

  57. Mr Subtlety – I have to disagree with you there, I thought that throwing that little family drama thing into the whole environmental catastrophe plot added a whole new dimension of fucked-upedness to the whole thing. If there is such a term. Plus the brother was so over-the-top batshit bonkers that it just added a whole new level of crazy to him.

  58. Paul — eh, maybe you’re right in theory, but for some reason the decent acting on the part of Marg Helgenberger actually kind of makes you realize what a painful and upsetting life she’s had, rather than revel in how fucked up the villain is. Its possible Im more sensetive to the issue than most, but the combo of treating the
    familial rape
    semi-seriously but then turning into a big silly fight just didn’t feel fun to me. Like many folks here, the idea of rape just seems too emotionally destructive to juxtapose very easily with the kind of superficial cartoony villainy the movie gets most of its milage out of. Sure, Seagal can kick the bastard’s ass, but is that going to undo the years of abuse and emotional crippling? Probably not. Like GLIMMER MAN and KILL SWITCH’s perverse serial killers, I just think that kind of darkness doesn’t lend itself to the kind of justice Seagal can serve. Maybe just me, though. Overall, I think FIRE DOWN BELOW is one of the better films from that period, its just that that one detail made things a little less fun for me.

  59. Fire Down Below really does grow on you – i saw it in the theatre and kinda hated it, mainly because of the lack of action and the weird structure (it seems like the toxic-waste shootout was going to be the end, but then it keeps going and going and going…and the “climax” in the casino is ridiculously anti-climactic). But I’ve grown to really like the “kinder, gentler” Seagal. The love story is charming and heartfelt, though I agree w/ Subtlely that the incest angle is not only unnecessary, but it also makes zero sense how Seagal figures the whole thing out.

    It’s actually the movie I thought On Deadly Ground was going to be -I was expecting a kinder Seagal in a kinder movie- somewhat preachy, somewhat classy, with Seagal killing maybe one henchman and Michael Caine goes to jail at the end. Then when I saw it on opening day I was like “holy shit. I think he killed more people than all of his other movies combined”.

  60. Wait does anyone here remember Seagal’s SNL appearance where he actually did fight a boardroom of oil company CEO’s? All i remember is it seemed he roughed up Chris Kattan a little too hard, and then he yells out ‘this is what happens when you pollute the planet!’ to the camera after beating the hell out of everyone.

  61. Neal — did that actually happen? I remember reading about it in “Seaglogy” but I had the impression that this was an idea Seagal pitched, I didn’t realize it was something that actually existed. A quick google search reveals nothing that either confirms or denys this. The only streaming video I can find is this one:


    though someone at this site claims to have the whole show downloadable at this site:


    but Im at work so I can’t check to see if they’re real or not. Could be a gold mine for the aspiring Seagalogist, though. Man, he looks genuinely pissed in that first clip.

  62. I endorse the wisdom, “You got a dream, you gotta protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they wanna tell you you can’t do it. If you want something, go get it. Period.”

  63. Mr Subtlety – I have to disagree with you there, I thought that throwing that little family drama thing into the whole environmental catastrophe plot added a whole new dimension of fucked-upedness to the whole thing. If there is such a term. Plus the brother was so over-the-top batshit bonkers that it just added a whole new level of crazy to him.

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  65. If I may be permitted to copy and paste my potpouri comments, I will;

    “I liked GR2, but it could have been better. It’s definitely no BAD LIEUTENANT or even DRIVE ANGRY; DRIVE ANGRY fell frustratingly short of realising its true potential in much the same way, but it had more going on than GR2, and I suspect I’ll grow (even) fonder of it on repeat viewings.

    In fairness I should probably disclose that I came to GR2 almost entirely as a student of mega-acting, and I’m probably the only person on the planet who was more excited for this than for the forthcoming Bat, Spider and Norse God/Frozen Dude/Greenzo/Rich Prick/Whoever else films put together. So I’ll accept that I probably had overly high expectations for a cheapo sequel to a film no one liked, made mostly to hold on to rights. But I still think a collaboration between the CRANK guys and Cage should be more memorable than SPIRIT OF VENGANCE. I know they were working within a PG-13 Marvel licence, but I have to say I think that should have helped in many ways, as it does keep Neveldine/Taylor from their most purile excesses, while still giving them room to indulge much of Cage and their eccentricities.

    I do think there is something about Ghost Rider (as opposed to Johnny Blaze) that just makes for a poor action hero. I know there aren’t as many Cage fans around here these days as there used to be, but surely there aren’t that many people prepared to pay for one of his films who are genuinely glad everytime he turns into a CGI flaming skull with almost no personality. He’s also ridiculously invulnerable; yes, I know that might seem hypocritical from a Seagal fan, but at least his characters always had the *pretense* of vulnerability.

    In some ways Cage actually got more of his own touches into the first movie. The whole jellybean/monkeys/Carpenters thing is a distinctly Cageian touch I don’t think was matched in this movie. Even lines like Johnny Blaze saying he plans to become a Motorcycle cop after he quits being a daredevil had a bit more of the je ne sais quoi I want from Cage than anything I can think of from here.

    But I want it to be clear I did enjoy it, and I can give you some reasons too. Having Cage do extra face spasms before he turns into the Rider was definitely a good move, and there will almost certainly be a few good clips for any updated/new “losing his shit” video. The “he’s at the door” scene is a classic, as discussed. The cast was good across the board; always nice to see Lambert and Hinds, but I probably most enjoyed (outside of Cage, natch) Johnny Whitworth. I also feel this in N/T’s best filmatism to date; it’s distinctive without being obnoxious, a lot of nice touches, but a lot of scenes where they just let it be too. They were kind of like a low-rent DePalma here, and that’s not an insult in my book.

    So I enjoyed it. But remember I quite enjoyed SEASON OF THE WITCH too”

    On the Cage front, he has at least got a reunion with Charlie Kaufman lined up; something called FRANK OR FRANCIS. I was excited for his seial killer flick THE FROZEN GROUND until I found out Cusack was playing the killer; kind of sick of me to have been excited about Cage playing a serial killer anyway I guess. And despite my better judgement I’ll almost certainly end up paying full price for a copy of Trespass when it hits DVD in the UK next month.

  66. Fuck, wrong talkback! Damn you spammers!

  67. Guys – here’s two facts about Hallsy that you might find surprising/interesting: 1) I have never actually seen ON DEADLY GROUND; and 2) Apparently God came down from Heaven and put a DVD of On Deadly Ground in my DVD cabinet because I have no idea where the fuck it came from. Anyway, I am going to pour a stiff Skinny Hallsy (vodka + sprite zero) and watch it now. See you in a couple of hours.

    Also, I’ve never seen FIRE DOWN BELOW either, so God if you’re reading I will check my DVD cabinet again next week.

  68. ON DEADLY GROUND is pretentious but very earnest about it. It’s both hilarious and profoundly touching at the same time. It has aged very well. FIRE DOWN BELOW on the other hand was just a wannabe. Nowhere near as impactful on the viewer. It does have Kris Kristofferson which saves it at times. His interactions with Seagal are pretty classic.

  69. You want to hear something really fucking crazy? ON DEADLY GROUND has a 10% rating on RT. It’s ridiculous. I enjoyed it thoroughly but I think I was pretty drunk because at one point I could have sworn that Steven Seagal wrestled a bear.

  70. Yeah he does throw down with a bear very briefly. That is one of the best parts of the movie because it’s part of some type of vision quest. So he used the whole “environmentally aware spiritual warrior” hook to throw in some ridiculous imagery of something that is usually used as metaphorical symbolism from very wise people because fuck it he had the budget to squeeze that in there. It’s freaking awesome. I know he was never a critical darling but 10% is just straight up hateration. I mean if that’s what one of his better theatrical joints gets on the tomatometer or whatever it’s called what does something like THE GLIMMER MAN or EXIT WOUNDS get? -2%?

  71. I’m not saying they are right but I can understand how somebody could consider this movie bad.

  72. Aw man, R Lee Ermy just died, I literally just finished the episode of THE X-FILES he was in.* I’m happy he was mostly well-liked as a that-guy/character-actor. I was definitely always happy whenever he popped up. Yeah he was one-note, he was a non-actor after all, but eh it was one-note that I like.

    I still like the episode of his show where he’s talking to the drill sergeant and the guy is telling him how they no longer treat recruits like complete shit and instead build a big-brother/surrogate father relationship and it was hilarious because you could tell by Ermy’s face he was not in agreement.

    *I started rewatching THE X-FILES recently, well the monster-of-the-week episodes at least as I never cared for the over-plot

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