I probably shouldn’t admit it, but I’ve always been a fan of Steven Seagal movies. Martial arts and Oriental mysticism leave me cold. Jet Li, Bruce Lee, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris? Colder yet. But Steven Seagal . . . well, there’s something about the guy.
I read an article about the Panchen Lama a couple of years ago. As with the Dalai Lama, when the old one dies the monks go looking for the new one, and at the time the monks were looking at a teenaged Tibetan-American girl living in LA with her exiled mother. The girl (who didn’t get the job) took the possibility of becoming a spiritual leader seriously and sought out spiritual counseling from none other than Steven Seagal. So he’s a special guy, right?
Up to now I’d only seen Steven Seagal movies on TV, and they have been the older ones. In them, Steven was always the good guy, often working undercover. In the less ancient ones, the ones from the mid-90s, he was visibly older, stouter, and stiffer, to the point where in the fight scenes he more or less stood in place while small Asian villians threw themselves against him and bounced off. But that was okay. Any night there was a Steven Seagal flick on TV, that was a red letter night.
But I’ve seen all the ones they show on TV, so I decided to order a new one from Netflix. Pistol Whipped, filmed in 2007 and released straight to DVD. Steven, what happened?
Oh, it had all the elements of a Steven Seagal flick: the fights, the sexy women, the innocent child, the bad cop, the evil Asians. But they were all in bits and pieces and never coalesced. And Steven . . . older, stouter, and stiffer than ever . . . was a bad guy! A paid assassin! And a drunk! Oh, okay, the guys he killed were badder, but still . . .
Steven, what happened?
Now I understand why they only show the old ones on TV.
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