Warning: the following review frequently overuses the name Steven Seagal.
All things considered, being an famous actor can be a fairly stressful job. Sure there are far worse jobs out there like a fireman, brain surgeon or Gary Glitter’s PR agent. These are all jobs that are far more stressful. But being under the constant watchful scrutiny of the public and paparazzi can put a strain on one’s mind as time and time again we see actors going off the boil and completely losing it.
I’m sure that mental instability probably has a lot to answer for in some of these cases. By sheer percentage there must be numerous actors who suffer from brain afflictions. Also actors tend to be more of the sensitive kind, so it’s no wonder that some suffer massive breakdowns.
Before you all think that I’m making some sort of statement about how horrible their lives are and break out your violins, the point I’m trying to make is that it can be kinda sad sometimes.
Probably the saddest example of how it can all affect actors is when a character consumes them so much they can’t seem to separate from real life. Take Jeremy Brett or Phil Silvers, who towards the end of their lives started to believe they were the roles that made them famous. Now there’s another actor who can join this depressing list. That, ladies and gentlemen, is Steven Seagal, lawman.
Now, I’m pretty sure all you Den Of Geekers know who Steven Seagal is. Of course you do. He’s the arse kicking martial arts action star of such classics as Above The Law, Hard To Kill and the pinnacle of his career, Under Siege.
Unfortunately, of late he’s been reduced to starring in straight-to-DVD tripe that not even the most hardcore Seagal fan has probably watched. But he is still out there, kicking in the face of crime and ripping out the throat of vengeance.
What you probably don’t know is that when he’s not doing this in the films, he’s doing this in real life.
The reality TV show Steven Seagal: Lawman follows Steven Seagal as he patrols the streets of Jefferson Parish in Louisiana as a reserve deputy sheriff. Apparently, 20 years ago, whilst training the local police force in the ways of martial arts, firearms and other cool stuff, the head honcho sheriff decided that, because Steven Seagal was the hardest man that has ever lived, the best thing to do would be to pit him against the forces of evil. For those last 20 years he has kept the streets of Jefferson County clean of crime because he is so fecking awesome. Only now we get to see how he does this as a film crew follows him around.
By now you’re probably thinking this sounds like the greatest film ever. Like the recent My Name Is Bruce or JCVD, a metafilm that plays on the star’s supposed film persona, but in their real life, and comedy ensues.
Well, as the real life drama network A&E that first aired the show reveals, this is a 100% true reality show. Yes, that is Steven Seagal and yes, he is (apparently, but more on that later) a real life deputy sheriff.
Each show plays out exactly like all the cops on camera reality shows you’ve seen many times before. Only it stars Steven Seagal. And he’s fecking awesome. You want to know how awesome he is? Well, he can shoot the head off a match, because he’s the greatest marksman since William Tell.
And he is one of the greatest martial artists in history. Oh, and he also plays guitar and sings in an amazing rhythm and blues band. And when he’s not doing this he also devotes all his spare time to helping others that are not Steven Seagal.
Basically, if you can do it, Steven Seagal can do it better.
If you didn’t know any of this you bloody will do after watching Steven Seagal: Lawman because it basically plays as one big advertisement about how great Steven Seagal is. Each episode follows Steven Seagal as he goes about his beat, stopping crime with the other (non-Steven Seagal) police officers.
When Steven Seagal is not telling you how great he is, the other policemen or his many friends are telling you how great he is. If you haven’t guessed yet, Steven Seagal is a massive tit.
I had such high hopes for this show. The prospect of watching the real life Seagal fighting crime sounded so promising. The problem is real life Steven Seagal is just like the Steven Seagal in his films. A proper Mary Sue. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, I’ll wait whilst you look it up. Come on, come on, I can’t wait long. Okay, you’ll just have to catch up with everyone else.
Basically, Steven Seagal has no flaws and it seems he can do no wrong.
What this all leads to is a show that, once the initial gimmick of seeing Seagal arresting people has died down, becomes very boring very fast. The episodes all seem to merge into one and are extremely repetitive.
The Steven Seagal factor also pulls any of the drama out of the situations (that make other reality cop shows so genuinely compulsive) because it’s all about Steven Seagal. Also, because real Steven Seagal is such a bore, the police offers we meet in the other shows offer far more character to the proceedings.
As touched on before, this may all seem a fairly far-fetched concept to take in and if you are starting to doubt whether this is all 100% true, you are not the only one. It wasn’t until the episode that involves a teenager’s murder that I myself finally believed that this wasn’t one big practical joke. Surely no one would sink that low (without being at least funny or satirical on a Chris Morris scale).
Although each show starts by stating how Steven Seagal is a real deputy, there have been articles on this here internet about how valid this claim is. In all honesty, I have no idea how the American police system works. Seagal could very well be all the show (and he himself) claims. Unfortunately, it still equals a very poor TV show.
Don’t be drawn in as I was to the extremely promising potential of this show by your love of Seagal’s past movies and the comedy value it could offer. The only person who’ll like Steven Seagal: Lawmen is Steven Seagal himself. And that was probably the point, after all.
On a side-note: The show has been indefinitely suspended whilst Steven Seagal fights a sexual trafficking lawsuit. Maybe not that perfect after all, Mr Seagal?
Side side-note: If Steven Seagal is actually reading this himself and fancies answering my criticisms with his fists, by all means bring it on. Ben Jones is just a pseudonym I use. My real name is Pete Doherty and I (like you) play guitar and sing. Please look me up if you’re ever in England ‘cause I reckon I could easily beat you up, you big girl’s blouse.
Side side side note: If, as a result of this review, Pete Doherty is assaulted by Steven Seagal…massive win.
Steven Seagal: Lawman is out now and available from the Den Of Geek Store.