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Cause of Death:
Steven Seagal debuted strong, real strong, with this first movie "Above
the Law" in 1988 and became truly the first white legend of martial
arts. He had a hot streak with movies like "Hard to Kill",
"Marked For Death", and "Out for Justice" through 1991. "Marked
For Death" is still one of the oddest and most violent of Seagal's
movies to date, although it's still quite good. In that movie,
Seagal fought Jamaican drug dealers who practiced voodoo.
1992 was a landmark year for the action star, with
the first "Under Siege" film; still his biggest hit. 1994 began a
new phase of Seagal films, and one of which he has been most heavily
criticized. That year's film, "On Deadly Ground", was the first
of Seagal's eco-friendly action films where he killed enemies of the
environment. He never did make that many environmentally-aware
films, but "On Deadly Ground" and "Fire Down Below" became so popular
that the masses developed the belief this was all he was doing.
In a slight way, even "The Patriot" was an eco film, where Seagal's
character battled a deadly airborne virus.
1996 was when Seagal's ship started to sink.
For the first time in a feature he received second billing. The
movie was "Executive Decision" and starred Kurt Russell.
Audiences all over were stunned when Seagal's character was killed
roughly 20 minutes into the film. Since then, Seagal lost his
invincibility factor with a lot of fans.
Seagal redeemed himself later that year with "The
Glimmer Man", co-headlining with Keenan Ivory Wayans. This was
one of Seagal's best, and a different premise than most of his films up
to this point. In this movie, we didn't know all about Seagal's
character. And for the very first time, with Wayans, this Seagal
film was as much comedy as it was action.
1997 gave us probably the best film in Seagal's
catalog, "Fire Down Below". Set in the South, this movie was a
lighter-hearted action-adventure with a feel-good premise. And NO
ONE got cut up with blades. I think that's always a plus.
People got shot up and bones were broken, but there was little visible
bloodshed. I think young kids could see this movie with parents.
1998 was an odd year for Seagal, and clearly the
start of his decline in popularity. For the first time, one of
his movies was given almost no press. "The Patriot" was actually
a very good movie, and the first time we see Seagal as something else
besides a cop or government agent. Here he played a doctor who
was fighting a white supremicist group led by the excellent Gailard
Sartain. This group of madmen also spread a deadly virus, for
which Seagal's character had to cure.
There was a pretty long break (3 years) before
Seagal released another movie. 2001 introduced the dark, quirky,
and super-violent Seagal films that persist to this day. "Exit
Wounds" and other theatrical releases are great movies. The
straight-to-video movies are mostly junk. For his B-movies,
Seagal has refused to overdub a lot of his scenes in the
post-production, which is necessary for eliminating unwanted background
noise. Sadly, poor matches for Seagal's cool voice are used to
overdub. This, coupled with the fact that some of them just
aren't Seagal-quality movies, makes the 2000s a pretty bleak decade for
Fans of Steven Seagal AND action movies (like
myself) all anticipate his return to greatness with outstanding feature
films. I hope that happens...we could use another "Under Siege"!
marked with * are absolute must-see movies!
Above the Law (1988) *
Hard to Kill (1990) *
Marked For Death (1990) *
Out For Justice (1991) *
Under Siege (1992) *
On Deadly Ground (1994) *
Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995) * [I like this even better than
Executive Decision (1996) * [Great movie otherwise, but bad business
decision for Seagal. I still don't think he's recovered from this.]
The Glimmer Man (1996) *
Fire Down Below (1997) *
The Patriot (1998) *
Exit Wounds (2001) *
Half Past Dead (2002) *
The Foreigner (2003)
Out for a Kill (2003) * [Seagal versus Chinese Triads. Cool!]
Belly of the Beast (2003) * [Intense, and one of his better B-efforts.]
Out of Reach (2004) [This one sucked all the way through. Fake voice
and just plain weird direction.]
Into the Sun (2005) * [Seagal versus the Japanese Yakuza.
Cool! Along the same order as "Out for a Kill".]
Today You Die (2005) * [A great Seagal movie! I love seeing Kevin
Tighe's villains getting killed!]
Black Dawn (2005)
Mercenary For Justice (2006) * [Jacqueline Lord is awesome!]
Shadow Man (2006)
Attack Force (2006)
Flight of Fury (2007)
Urban Justice (2007)
Pistol Whipped (2008)
The Onion Movie (2008)
Kill Switch (2008)
Steven Seagal Lawman (2009 TV Series)
Against the Dark (2009)
VHS, you remember, those clunky old things we used to play movies
on? I present to you, for nostalgic value, these classic VHS
Hard to Kill (1990)
Marked For Death (1990)
On Deadly Ground (1994)
Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995)