Friday, October 10, 2014

The Soft Underbelly of Steven Seagal

In the late 1980's, Steven Seagal developed a cult following for his action films, which promised something good to come. That paid off with "Under Siege" in 1991, which was followed by an inferior sequel, and then 20 years of formulaic junk, much of which went straight to video and then a resurgence, with lesser roles in better films. My question was: were any of the lesser films so bad that they were enjoyable for their badness?

I had no idea there was so much for me to see. These are the low-lights.

Clementine (2004)
This one is a Hong Kong actioner with Seagal only in it for about 10 minutes. Forgettable.
Out for a Kill (2003)
Seagal plays a professor (!) and his younger thinner double fights the mob.
Ticker (2001)
Seagal gets third billing in this film about Northern Ireland terrorists. Lazy, dull film.
Today You Die (2005)
Framed former thief seeks vengeance. Continuity problems, action scenes borrowed from other films.
Black Dawn (2005)
Russian terrorists plan to bomb L.A. Action and acting is not bed compared to most films in this list, but Seagal's stunt double looks so little like him that you wonder "who's that?" It's a sequel to "The Foreigner."
Mercenary for Justice (2006)
Seagal has to break the son of a crimelord out of a South African prison. I fell asleep during this one.
Shadow Man (2006)
Seagal goes undercover in a prison to get info on those who killed his wife. Actually watchable.
Against the Dark (2009)
Well, that's a nice change of pace. Seagal fights vampire zombies after a plague and before the army plans to nuke the area. Horrible idea, poorly done.
Flight of Fury (2007)
Seagal has to recover stolen stealth bomber in Banansistan (just try not to call it Banana Stand). The flight scenes are stock footage and there's a lesbian scene for no good reason.
Kill Switch (2008)
Seagal's a homicide detective after serial killers. He tries speaking with an accent and fails. There's a huge number of ammunition rounds fired with nothing hit. There's an obvious double doing stunts. One shot is repeated ad nauseum. There are flashbacks that just confuse the plot. People show up out of nowhere with whatever's needed to forward the action. This one's borderline fun trash.
Attack Force (2006)
Yowza. Drug dealers funded by rogue miltary take out a strike-force, leaving Seagal to investigate while thwarted by military. It was supposed to be science fiction, but then got rewritten and then post-production led to further changes (there's a lot of overdubbing). It's quite bad.
Submerged (2005)
Stinkeroo. This is supposed to be Uruguay (a land-locked nation, by the way, where submarines aren't needed), but looks like Bulgaria (where it was shot), with shots of Central America to make it look authentic (buy a map, guys).Seagal's a mercenary freed from prison so he can fight terrorists who've stolen a sub. Almost no underwater footage appears, as that costs money. This one's just not enjoyably bad.

and worst of all,
The Foreigner (2003)
Seagal is a courier in deep-cover, delivering a flight recorder from a downed plane, while the guys responsible for the plane crash try to stop him. The plot makes no sense, the acting's bad and the action scenes are shoddy and widely-spaced. Terrible and not enjoyable.

Final verdict: "Kill Switch" almost makes the so-bad-it's-good criteria. The more prominent the gun on the poster of a Seagal film, the more desperate it is.

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