This article was originally published on Ferretbrain. I’ve backdated it to its original Ferretbrain publication date but it may have been edited and amended since its original appearance.
Ponytail-sporting aikido master, guitarist, volunteer lawman, and (theoretically) actor Steven Seagal has essentially vanished from the big screen. Since around 2001ish he has worked more or less exclusively in the straight-to-DVD field; he’s got a supporting role in Machete, Robert Rodriguez’s upcoming Grindhouse spinoff, but 99% of the time Seagal prefers to be the lead actor in his movies, which leads to a major problem, that being that he’s not really a good enough actor to sustain a film by himself.
Nonetheless, there’s something undeniably compelling about the man. Perhaps it’s the air of intensity about him, this strange aura which isn’t quite charisma, this strange utterly unassailable self-confidence which suggests that if he’d never become an actor he might have made a fairly successful cult leader.
The Steven Seagal Legacy is an eight-DVD box set that tries to represent the best of the man’s career from the era when his films actually appeared in cinemas rather than going straight to DVD. In theory the asking price is £60, but in practice it’s nearly always on sale.I got mine from HMV for a mere £15, which at less than £2 a disc – each in proper DVD packaging – meant that I could buy it in the knowledge that if I didn’t like any of the films on offer I could sell them on EBay and most likely turn a profit. I was pretty sure it wouldn’t come to that though. What could be better than watching a doughy man stroll around beating people up all day?