Part one of our steven Segal countdown can be found right here.
Before we carry on with five Steven Seagal films even better than the ones we covered yesterday, I’d like to quickly address the book Seagalogy, the popular guide to Seagal’s life on the big screen. I hear it’s great, but I haven’t read. I have it and I’ve been holding off of reading it until after I’d finished this piece so that no subconscious influencing takes place. If Steven Seagal films have taught me anything, it’s to be yourself.
Now, onto the next set of films, featuring not one but two theatrical releases, an appearance by Michael Caine and a bit of an upswing in goodness at number 18.
20. A Dangerous Man
They started this. He’ll finish it.
Steven Seagal IS Shane Daniels, a former Special Forces operative. Released after six years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Daniels soon finds himself in the thick of it again, battering muggers and jumping into the Chinese mob’s plot to work with the cops to extort and people smuggle. He teams up with the Russians to help a young woman rescue her uncle. Will Daniels be able to bash these shit-munchers up? Well, he is… A Dangerous Man.
A Dangerous Man has a terrible first five minutes, a good next twenty five minutes, and bit of a lull in the middle and a fightfully great last twenty. Highlights include every single fight, a weird sexy lapdance repeatedly shown as a sentimental flashback, a cool walkaway explosion and Seagal punting a man into a saw blade. Not the best starting point for those looking to investigate Seagal, but there’s enough in this one to keep Seagalophiles entertained.
19. On Deadly Ground
His battle to save the Alaskan wilderness can only be won… On Deadly Ground
Steven Seagal IS Forrest. He is tree, ground, wind, rain and snow. He is mother nature. Wait, no. This isn’t right at all.
Steven Seagal IS Forrest Taft. Horrified by the damage done to the environment by his nature ravaging employers, Taft speaks up and soon finds himself being framed by his wealthy tycoon boss. The bad guys are ruthless and have seemingly endless resources, but Forrest has the power of good, the support of the people of the land and, luckily, is particularly talented at inflicting violence on villains. The bad guys’ decision to take on Forrest finds the oil-glugging, Bambi-bashing bastards treading… On Deadly Ground!
Apparently Warner Bros. agreed to let Seagal direct On Deadly Ground in exchange for his committing to Under Siege 2. It’s not very good, I don’t think. A few of the fight scenes are all right, and the cast is crazy. Seagal found himself directing Michael Caine, R Lee Ermey, John C McGinley and Billy Bob Thornton. Still, after a reasonable first 15 minutes, it loses its pace and becomes kind of a drag. On Deadly Ground’s message (we must stop killing our environment, guys) is delivered with as much subtlety as it’s possible to force-feed a person 80 pounds of cheese with. There are several nice shots of an eagle soaring over snowy mountains, although disappointingly Seagal doesn’t fight it. Mainly worth seeing as a curiosity, this one is notable for an action-packed climax, a cool bar fight scene, a seemingly unending preachy slideshow at the end and Michael Caine’s American’t accent.
18. Mercenary for Justice
It’s time to fight again.
(Please note that my laptop refused to acknowledge my Mercenary for Justice disc and so I wasn’t able to grab an image from it. Instead please enjoy this picture of the Blu-ray being shot at by a Steven Seagal action figure that was given to me by Den Of Geek’s own Duncan ‘Four Stars’ Bowles.)
Steven Seagal IS John Seeger, a mercenary on a mission gone bad. He loses a good friend to gun fire and is soon blackmailed into working with his old team again (he’s convinced after his dead friend’s wife and child are taken hostage). Tasked with breaking a corrupt billionaire’s son out of a South African prison, Seeger has his work cut out for him. But everyone has their own agenda and Seeger knows that he’ll have to make his own plans to ensure every one of these toilets gets what’s coming to them. After all, he’s not in it for the money, he’s a… Mercenary for Justice!
If I had to sell you Mercenary for Justice in seven words, I would choose these seven; ‘Steven Seagal matches wits with Luke Goss’.
Presumably you’ve just returned to this article after buying your copy of Mercenary For Justice. You’re probably going to enjoy the first half hour, as it’s a shooty battle with guns, tanks and a helicopter. The rest of the film is a slightly wobbly thriller, which struggles with too many characters and not enough story. Still, it’s pretty fun. The production looks way more expensive than I’m used to seeing in DTV action movies and the movie has a pretty decent cast, too. The film is most memorable for a restroom ruckus that finds Seagal dispensing a brilliantly berserk bathroom bastard bludgeoning.
17. Pistol Whipped
They came to collect a debt. He paid in full.
Steven Seagal IS Matt, a former cop turned degenerate gambler. Matt’s in a million dollar hole and a mysterious stranger (Lance Henrikson) has bought out all his debt, insisting that he work it off as a hitman. Matt obliges, while turning to his daughter’s new stepfather (a cop) for help finding out who this shady shitbag is and what the shitting hell he thinks he’s up to. But as he digs deeper, Matt starts to question who the real villain is. When he finds out, the least of their worries will be being… Pistol Whipped.
This is a fun one. Seagal seems to be invested in Pistol Whipped (inappropriately named, in my opinion, as I can’t think of any prominent instances of pistol whipping in the entire film), as he really turns up for it. We get some of his more involved fight scenes and he charms a little in the role, too. The character is a little different from the usual Seagal character, in that he has flaws. As a result we get to see Seagal seduce someone, which he does with expected expertise, and it warmed both my heart and my loins. It loses a little steam towards the end, and the opening/closing shootout is just terrible, but otherwise we get a decent cast, a reasonable script with some lovably cheesy dialogue and cool fight scenes.
16. The Glimmer Man
Two good cops. One bad situation.
Steven Seagal IS Jack Cole. Cole is a mysterious police Lieutenant on the case of The Family Man, a snot-gobbed serial killer murdering entire families and doing weird Jesus stuff with the corpses. Cole’s colleagues, particularly his partner (Keenan Ivory Wayans), are suspicious of Cole, owing to his mystical ways and secret past. As the murders start to become personal, Cole suspects that maybe The Family Man isn’t the only murderous twat he’s dealing with; could shady figures from Cole’s past be taking advantage of the situation and attempting to frame him for murder? Dumb move if you ask me, or have read any of the previous entries on this list. The last thing you want to do is antagonise… The Glimmer Man.
Perhaps owing to its troubled production, The Glimmer Man feels like it has all the parts necessary to make a better film. As it stands, it’s slow, has a jittery changing tone and is full of bits that seem like they’ve fallen onto your screen from another film. Still, the odd scenes that do work are a pleasure to watch. Seagal fucks off the laws of physics with a smashing window jump inside the first ten minutes, forgets what race he is in the first fifteen and arrogantly points out breast implants on a corpse in the first twenty. Wayans does really well, although he’s basically wasted. The fight scenes aren’t particularly well photographed. However, the one in the restaurant ranks amongst Seagal’s best and does a wonderful job of highlighting his willingness in all situations to attack the groin (an area that simply isn’t off limits if you’re being attacked by a squad of goons).
Part 3 of the top 25 Steven Seagal films is coming tomorrow.
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