During the opening credits of Above the Law, Steven Segal’s first movie, he’s in a dojo, taking down charging opponent/classmates with ease. There were also black and white pics of Seagal when he was younger, learning Akido. This gave serious gravitas to the fact that Seagal wasn’t some movie-only fighter…this guy was a legitimate badass. So quick and fluid.
I’m not reviewing his movies here. Instead, I’m just wondering what the fuck happened?? While his first few movies were pretty much copies of Above the Law, you can’t deny just how much they satisfied that action craving you had.
Above the Law (1998)
Hard to Kill (1990)
Marked for Death (1990)
Out for Justice (1991)
Under Siege (1992)
These first five movies had a re-watch factor of 100%. This was, in my opinion, the period where Steve Seagal was at his peak. Under Siege is the movie that, when people think of Seagal, its the first to come to mind. Personally, I think Above the Law is his best movie but I get why a lot of people prefer Under Siege. But then Seagal hit a bump in the road on his next few movies.
On Deadly Ground (1994)
Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995)
The Glimmer Man (1996)
Fire Down Below (1997)
The Patriot (1998)
In 1996, he had a brief cameo in Executive Decision, which is an ok movie, but best remembered for Seagal dying by getting sucked out of an airplane. I remember people just loving that scene…and it was then that I realized the tide had changed for ‘ol Steve.
The last movie of Seagal’s that I watched was the ridiculous Exit Wounds in 2001. But for me, I was pretty much done after seeing The Glimmer Man, which co-starred Keenan Ivory Wayans. It was in this movie that he started to pack the pounds on and his quickness and intimidation of the bad guys was more funny than it was meant to be. His action scenes were a shadow of what they were in previous movies.
Fire Down Below was an environmental movie that Seagal wanted to make because he wanted to bring attention to how we were destroying mother nature. And I don’t fault the guy for such a passion project but is it too much to ask to make it, I don’t know, watchable?
I have a friend who likes to ask “Has anyone seen Richie? Anybody know why Richie did Bobby Lupo?”. This is a quote from Out for Justice which may contain one of the best fight scenes using pool balls as a weapon. Seriously, check it out.
The other day I had a craving for a good Steven Seagal movie so I did a check on Netflix (Canada) to see what they had. This is what selection was available to me:
What…what are these? I have never heard of these movies. A quick Google search later and I see that Seagal is just turning out straight-to-video movies like coffee’s through a Tim Horton’s drive through. And from what I read, they’re all shit. All of them. But some people must like them because someone keeps giving the dude money to make more.
I guess I could have watched one for “research”, to ensure that I was being thorough for you, dear reader. But fuck that. My time is limited and I don’t have time for Gutshot Straight.
People used to make fun of Seagal and his ponytail, but I’ll take skinny pony’d tail Segal over chubby, black spray-painted hair and goatee any day of the week. Seriously, what is up with his look? What happened to the man who could stare down a group of thugs with those oddly weird-looking eyes and kick the shit out of all of them without breaking a sweat?
I love those first few movies of his. And I will continue to watch them (as an aside, I just checked Best Buy Canada’s website and they don’t carry any of his movies. Not even in the bargain bins??) and relive how great action movies were in the late ’80’s/early ’90’s.
I have resigned myself to the fact that I/we will ever know what really happened to Seagal. The fact is, the dude has way more money than I and I am sure he’s enjoying life, making movies. I just wish he was doing it like he used to 20 years ago.