Tag Archives: Gallery of Shame

A Seagalian Sidestep: When Justin Met Steve

Say what you will about Channel ‘owned-by-a-porn-baron’ Five, but they’re doing a good job of showing some of Seagal’s worst films on a dizzying rotation of almost two a week. I guess someone must have joined the dots in their weekend schedule and thought that human-labrador Justin Lee Collins would make for interesting ratings if matched with the mighty Steven Seagal. And so we have the aptly search engine optimised ‘Steven Seagal v Justin Lee Collins’.

For all my eye-rolling at seeing the ads for this, the sum-total of the thing is not that bad. All things considered. Honestly. The duo worked together on the pretty tiresome Friday Night Project which Seagal hosted a couple of years ago, so they aren’t complete strangers. Nor do they have the unbounded rapport that Collins insists on pointing out to the camera before every advert break. But considering Seagal’s a lumbering sphinx with not a blind bit of reason to be talking to any kind of press, Collins does an alright job in keeping him talking, and surprisingly laughing, albeit at the expense of some pretty forced wank gags.

Despite being the sort of show which furiously chops up 25 minutes of footage and elliptically repeats itself across twice the runtime, the show does throw out a few odd facts, and a couple of quirks that were news to me:

Steven’s allergic to ‘a lot of things’. Specifically gluten.

Steven’s made a lot of money. Probably double what you’ve imagined.

He’s got a samurai sword worth ‘about a million dollars.’ It’s pretty cool looking.

He’s got an iphone.

The most memorable gig on his last UK tour was in Llandudno.

He can just about pronounce Llandudno.

He likes his guns.

This may stem from his latent fear of home invasion.

His new home is in the middle of nowhere.

He’s surprised that a Brit would know the phrase ‘young, dumb and full of cum’.

He once gave a drunk man a flying punch out of his Tokyo dojo.

He’s good at keeping his belly covered whenever he’s sat down.

Considering my expectations were rock bottom going in, I must say I was pretty pleasantly surprised. The show won’t be of any real interest to anyone that isn’t much of a fan, but Seagal fan’s and their inherently low expectations can find the programme streaming on Channel 5’s Demand 5 site until 02:00 on the 5th of August, 2011.

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Empire Magazine Gallery o’ Shame

Empire Magazine Cover[Apologies for two Galleries o’ Shame in a row, but this one literally landed this morning]

The gentle thud of magazine on carpet is always welcome, even to someone burdened with 3 more subscriptions than can be comfortably consumed in a single month. I feel pretty solitary in thinking that print isn’t wholly dead in the water, but then the latest issue of Empire has me worried at quite how desperately they seem to be clutching at straws these days.

FIRST LOOK: HEROES OF 2010! could easily pass muster as an Italian sci-fi film from the 1970’s, but Public Enemies aside it’s the number one feature of month. Ridley Scott’s will-they-won’t-they Robin Hood gets top billing, giving the unwitting punter at the newsstand a sneak-peak at Aussie Gruff-Man Russell Crowe cutting a haggard profile as the Robenhood himself.

All fine and well, I’ve already seen that picture on the internet, so what other sneaky peaks lie in store I wonder?

Whole Page

Well it’s that picture of Russell Crowe again. But reversed this time. Much like the closely studied Seagal, Crowe qualifies in that class of action hero whose face is strikingly symmetrical, making image reversing an absolute doddle. A page editor’s dream!

And all credit to the brief article, it provides short snippets of insight from the film’s scriptwriter Brian Helgeland, setting straight the record on some of the stranger rumours that have been doing the rounds on this here internet. Crowe won’t be playing both Robin and the Sheriff of Nottingham. No mullets. No swinging on ropes either. Pretty promising relative to the standard set by Kevin Costner and his rusty spoon.

Giving no disrespect to Mr Helgeland, I’m guessing the face of a scriptwriter doesn’t cut much muster with the celebrity hungry Empire magazine. But alas, alack! The studio’s only drip fed poor Empire a single image of Robin, which they’ve already had to flip for the cover and the article! What to do!

“Get the art director in here! Get me something illustrative of this here Robin Hood!”

“What do you want?”

“Bows and arrows! Russell Crowe with a bow or something, in an action pose, that’ll do! And quick sharp now, the deadline looms!”

And off the illustrator goes and does exactly that. Using that very same solitary photo as source material. Amazing what you can do with a bit of paint and tracing paper really.

Close Up Comparison

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Steven Seagal Gallery o’ Shame II

Urban Justice montage(From l to r: details from the covers to Urban Justice, Region 3 and Region 1  respectively.)

Watching a low budget action film is a lot like playing spot the difference. The game of spying the be-wigged stunt doubles when the camera cuts to a reverse angle; the mismatched profiles, the oblique body language of a man waiting to throw himself through a door. It’s brilliant. Seagal of course takes it to another level, with his unique stature he is an instantly recognisable action star who none the less doggedly refuses to do any actual action. Which makes life hard for the casting director, as there aren’t many stunt doubles taller than 6’4″ with pony tail and 7th Dan Aikido skills. That is after all what made Seagal unique in the first place. Maybe the contrast between him and stunt double is his way of underscoring just how bloody unique he is.

With Seagal this statement of identity continues on the covers of his neverending stream of direct-to-dvd output. The above comparison plays on a level of uncanniness, a certain unheimliche in being similar yet obliquely different. This isn’t just thanks to the ungodly sight of Danny (I’veseenhimbefore) Trejo winking between the two profiles. No, the image is mirrored in all but Seagal’s face. I know he almost transcends the fact that a human face cannot be completely symmetrical, but no, body mirrored, head the same. Or correction: body-mirrored, face and shirt-collar the same. Or is it? I have no idea what’s going on there…

Looking at the Mojo Priest’s crotch (steady now), I guess we could divine that the cover on the left is accurate as it has the fly stitched in a conventional fashion. Yet to my eyes then the cover on the right looks more normal. Maybe Seagal just flies in the face of ‘conventional fashion’ and gets his jeans stitched another way. The Mojo way perhaps.

But is he left or right handed? Can we determine which profile is accurate from that fact? The internet draws a blank on that one, maybe some other direct-to-dvd covers might hold an answer –

mercenary for justice montage1(From l to r: Mercenary For Justice, Czech cover and French cover respectively.)

Or maybe not.

Whatever his dexterity he sure knows one thing, and that’s how to punch, kick and elbow other men in the nuts.

EDIT: Comments on this post have revealed that Steve Seagal does in fact wears womens jeans, flying in the face of conventional fashion. Such are the ways of the Mojo Priest. [thanks to commentator ‘xyz’ for that]

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Steven Seagal Gallery o’ Shame

Steven Seagal Gallery of ShameFrom l to r: Attack Force (Aussie cover), Mercenary For Justice, Today You Die, Shadow Man, Attack Force (UK cover)

So I had the mis/fortune of catching Steven Seagal’s gut-wrenchingly awful Attack Force on Five the other night. Rarely could I conceive that such an incompete film could ever be launched on the world, but sure enough, there it was on terrestial TV. Someone at Five must have a fine sense of humour and some deep pockets.

How the film could be quite so spectacularly broken demanded a bit of research, and it turns out that Mr Seagal himself is at the crux of the films failure. The plot was apparrently cut to shreds as the budget inflated and collapsed as financiers came and went. What should have been a film about alien invasions settled on merely being about vampires. Cheaper to just buy fangs and black contact lenses than bother with full blown CGI. And Underworld has been making money out of that old rope, so why not spin that some more. With Seagal of course! What could possibly go wrong?

Well warning signs came early on when Seagal’s character, Cmdr. Marshall Lawson, seemed to take on a voice of his own, like a man possessed. Only in a badly dubbed way. It turns out that Mr Seagal is very reluctant to take part in any of the post-production work on these direct-to-video films. Almost all films need some redubbing of poorly recorded scenes, and most actors are more than willing to oblige. Mr Seagal however is of the modern ‘take-the-money-and-run’ school of acting, and if it aint on the time sheet he aint bothering. As such the production team is forced to hire someone else in to come and inpersonate Steven Seagal. Badly.

It turns out this lack of co-operation extends to publicity work for these substandard DtV films. The consequence is that we are now priveleged with some of the worst examples of photoshopping to ever grace the covers of one actors’ recent ouevre. A turning point seems to be Seagal’s last major Hollywood film, Exit Wounds (2001) and that everything thereafter has just been a slippery slope down towards Attack Force.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, stay tuned for more soon.

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