Sunday, May 7, 2017

Blast Off Weekend: Steven Seagal's On Deadly Ground

A busy weekend started on Wednesday night with a bro, bbq and Steven Seagal's sole directorial effort, On Deadly Ground on HBO. There's quite a few flicks from Seagal, Stallone and Eastwood on the premium outlet but only one each from Van Damme and Arnold's. It's been a while since I've seen the Alaska set, oil company man sells out then sides with the locals to fight the shady corporation eco-action-thriller and it actually holds up pretty well. Of course it's totally ridiculous with Seagal being some clean up specialist for an evil oil company, blowing up wells to shut them off when faulty equipment causes a blaze or keeping ticked off Inuit people away from billionaire scumbag Michael Caine (here with dark hair for maybe the first time I've ever seen). When roughnecks mess with the local tribal people, Seagal's Forrest Taft beats the shit out of all of them while asking "what does it take to change the essence of a man?"

The Alaskan locales are beautifully shot, there's plenty of bone breaking hand to hand combat, gunplay, giant explosions and terribly hilarious dialog like "my nuts!". At the end of the film, Seagal delivers a surprisingly effective speech on how the environment is suffering due to cars, oil drilling, pollution, etc. that seems especially true today let alone in 1994. The Aikido man was hot off the success of $150 million grossing Under Siege and Warner Brothers handed him the directorial reigns in exchange for a Siege follow up. An excellent supporting cast joins Caine (who reportedly replaced Jeremy Irons), a high strung and screaming John C. McGinley (The Rock, Scrubs), Joan Chen (The Hunted), R. Lee Emery (Full Metal Jacket), a chubby and funny Billy Bob Thornton along with Arnold buddy Sven-Ole Thorsen.

The budget pushed $50 million but On Deadly Ground would gross under $40 million, less than half of Under Siege. Seagal's box office mojo would quickly dwindle with Under Siege 2 rebounding a bit before getting killed off in 1996's Executive Decision. Three films later, Seagal went straight to video. Michael Caine would reflect kindly in his memoirs on Seagal and crew while hating the location.

No comments:

Post a Comment