A Third Stupid Time Mining the Seagal Seam…

What a long, strange trip Steven Seagal has taken. As mainstream stardom has left him further and further behind, Seagal has crept deeper and deeper into the extremely dubious bosom of Vladimir Putin’s Russia. In between commissioning ghostwriters to write incoherent takedowns of Obama-era immigration policies in his name, Seagal has largely become infamous for bizarre Russian propaganda in which various Aikido students do energetic flips to trick people into thinking Seagal is tossing them about because they know if they don’t they’ll get a bullet in the back of the head. What Putin gets out of stroking the ego of this increasingly strange man with an increasingly dubious #MeToo record, I have no idea.

Similarly, I have no idea why I’m back reviewing more Seagal movies, save that there’s a certain horrible fascination in watching them these days. In my first and second articles on the man’s work, way back in Ferretbrain times, I more or less exhausted all his work which saw an actual cinematic release; this article is less systematic than those and is more of a grab-bag of some of his straight-to-DVD work. Watching these movies gently fail in front of you creates an experience which is deeply uncomfortable but also is difficult to look away from – like witnessing a slow-motion car crash, except most of these movies don’t have budgets that allow for really exciting car crashes.

Continue reading “A Third Stupid Time Mining the Seagal Seam…”

On Stupid Ground

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.

I can’t stop watching Steven Seagal movies. Why can’t I stop watching Steven Seagal movies? Is it because of the poise and elegance he displays when waving his arms at people and throwing them through walls? Is it because of the pretty explosions? Is it because of the wit and wisdom on display in the man’s pithy quips and zen observations?

Or is it because the DVDs are being sold so cheap these days I can get them, watch them, and take them to my nearest second-hand DVD place and actually turn a profit?

Who can say?

Last time in what seems depressingly likely to turn out to be a continuing series examining the man’s illustrious career, I reviewed a box set that encompasses around half the films he made whilst he could still get his movies released in actual cinemas. Here is the other half.

Continue reading “On Stupid Ground”

All-Consuming Stupidity

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?

Continue reading “All-Consuming Stupidity”