Dear Steven,
How have you been? I know its been a while since we talked, actually its been years. We used to be so close and we had some really great times together. I even remember the first time we met: it was the summer of 1989, I was young and impressionable, and it was love at first chop to the throat. I never saw an action movie quite like ABOVE THE LAW before and I couldn’t get enough. I watched it countless times and I was there opening day for HARD TO KILL and MARKED FOR DEATH. But something happened to us after UNDER SIEGE. It wasn’t you, it was me. I thought I outgrew your brand of entertainment, but secretly I’ve always wondered how you were doing. So to try to make up for lost time I’m going to check out what you’ve been up to for all these years and after it is all said and done I hope we can still always be friends.
Your Pal,

Aikido Master. Action Movie Star. Blues Musician. Energy Drink Creator. These are just a few of the ways you could describe the career of Steven Seagal. I recently was inspired by the outlaw film critic Vern’s new book Seagalogy: A Study of the Ass-Kicking Films of Steven Seagal to go back and revisit the career of one of my earliest action heroes. I’m going to spend the next month reviewing Seagal’s oeuvre from the beginning. Some I’ve seen before, most I have not.   This should be interesting…

GOLDEN ERA (1988-1991)

Above the Law (1988)

Seagal’s big screen debut. Some convoluted plot involving drug runners, refugees, and US senators. Lots of great fights and broken bones.

Hard to Kill (1990)

Debut of the ponytail! Seagal’s family is murdered and he spends 7 yrs in a coma. Once he wakes up its time for revenge on the evil senator.

Marked for Death (1990)

Screwface, Seagal’s most known villiain, makes this film one of my early favorites. The great Keith David also adds some great chemistry.

Out for Justice (1991)

Seagal at his bone-crushing best. William Forsythe plays a truly crazy villain. Great bar fight too. By far my favorite film he’s made.

SILVER ERA (1992-1997)

Under Siege (1992)

Seagal’s mainstream cross-over hit. A pre-Fugitive Tommy Lee Jones hams it up real good. Not a lof of hand-to-hand combat in this one.

On Deadly Ground (1994)

Seagal took heat for his environmentally themed directorial debut. He was actually right but how does blowing up refineries help the earth?

Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995)

Seagal’s first sequel. Dated VFX really stand out. Hardly seems like a proper sequel, rather a script with Ryback plugged into it.

Executive Decision (1996)

Seagal’s first supporting role and first time he is killed off. Seagal does a good job with the few scenes he’s in.

The Glimmer Man (1996)

Seagal’s first buddy picture is a pretty bad ripoff of SEVEN, right down to the perpetual LA rain. I still don’t know what the title means.

Fire Down Below (1997)

Seagal is off to Kentucky to investigate some toxic waste dumping and play some guitar. Good supporting cast makes this one quite enjoyable.


The Patriot (1998)

The beginning of the end – Seagal’s first DTV film. High production values can’t hide the fact that there’s hardly any action in this film.

Exit Wounds (2001)

Seagal teams up with DMX to fight corruption in the Detriot PD. Seagal’s first use of wire-fu. Film relies too much on lame comic relief.

Ticker (2001)

Another supporting role for Seagal as a Zen bomb squad commander. A ridiculous amount of stock footage makes this one hard to follow.

Half Past Dead (2002)

Seagal’s last-gasp of a theatrical release. So many double and triple crosses make this film almost incomprehensible. The only PG-13 so far.


The Foreigner (2003)

Overly complicated and muddled plot finds secret service agent Seagal in Polland double-crossing the KGB.

Out for a Kill (2003)

Seagal plays a professor of Chinese archaeology at Yale. Yes, that Yale. This loopy film is one of the better DTV titles so far.

Belly of the Beast (2003)

Director Sin-Tung Ching brings his unique style to this film which has Seagal looking for his missing daughter in Thailand.

Out of Reach (2004)

Seagal plays a wildlife conservationist who travels to Poland to save his 13-year old pen pal from a slavery ring.

Into the Sun (2005)

A suprisingly strong entry in the DTV era. A battle with the Yakuza allows Seagal to add a lot of his own Japanese interests into the film.

Submerged (2005)

What originally start out as a monster movie script was turned into another typical action movie once Seagal got involved in the production.

Today You Die (2005)

A great title and opening sequence made me think this might be a throwback to the 80s, but I was wrong. Another typical confusing DTV entry.

Black Dawn (2005)

Sequel to The Foreigner. Seagal goes undercover with a IMF-type ream to stop some nuclear terrorists.

Mercenary for Justice (2006)

Murky plot finds Seagal breaking into a heavily guarded prison to save the son of a eastern European drug lord.

Shadow Man (2006)

This film has some of the most blatant Seagal body doubles of the DTV era. Also co-stars Oscar nominated actress Imelda Staunton.

Attack Force (2006)

Seagal is sent to Paris to find out who killed 3 of his trainees. Turns out it was a super-powered hooker. No joke.

Flight of Fury (2007)

Remake of the 1998 Michael Dudikoff thriller Black Thunder that Seagal didn’t really want to make and it shows.

Urban Justice (2007)

Finally a DTV that is a throwback to the glory days of great Seagal films. Great action, cool villain. I really enjoyed this one.

Pistol Whipped (2008)

Not as strong as Urban Justice, but far better that most of Seagal’s later DTV work. Seagal creates a nicely nuanced character with flaws.

Kill Switch (2008)

Seagal plays a Memphis detective on the trail of a brutal serial killer. First time I saw someone get curbed since American History X. Ouch!


My Giant (1998)

Seagal briefly cameos in a movie Billy Crystal’s character is producing in this really terrible laugh-free film.

The Onion Movie (2008)

Hit or miss sketch comedy film from the famed news outlet. Seagal keeps reappearing as himself promoting a new film called Cock Puncher.

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