Once upon a time, everyone's favorite Obama-hating aikido walrus, Steven Seagal, was poised to join the A-list of Hollywood action stars. By the early 90s, he'd starred in a string of gritty, violent actioners where he effortlessly beat entire barrooms full of guys into a bloody pulp. Young, hungry Seagal was a force to be reckoned with; it was finally time for him to ascend to the ranks of Schwarzenegger, Stallone and Willis.
The film that was set to get him there was Under Siege, a military thriller where he'd star alongside Tommy Lee Jones while being directed by Andrew Davis (The Fugitive). This was also the film where the American mainstream was introduced to martial arts knife fighting. We were all dazzled by the speed and intensity of the final knife fight.... but was that because it was truly awesome, or because we just didn't know any better?
|This is what lost innocence looks like, kids!|
|Aging rocker/super villain.|
After fighting his way through a gaggle of bad guys and taking out a pre-nutjob-era Gary Busey, Seagal winds up face to face with his nemesis. This kicks off the first round of every great final battle; the pre-fight monologue.
|Chief O'Brien drops a beat while Jones and Busey duet this shit.|
After thoroughly LOSING the acting portion of the final battle, Seagal enthusiastically jumps into the physical challenge. After kicking Jones in the face, their iconic knife fight ensues...
⚫Jones and Seagal enthusiastically flail prop knives around to make it look like SOMETHING is happening.
⚫Cutaway to close ups of Jones getting cut with the knife
⚫Over the shoulder shot of Seagal tussling with Jones's stunt double
⚫Rinse and repeat.
Add in some random sound effects to make it seem like the blades are actually connecting and you've got what amounts to two grown men looking ridiculous with the fate of the world hanging in the balance. The fact that the fight is so completely one-sided also helps to remove any real tension from the situation as you sit back and place bets on just how badly Seagal is going to school his opponent.
|"Have you tried turning it off and on again?"|
HELL NO! Are you kidding? This is barely a fight scene. The choreography is almost non-existent and is devoid of any real suspense or tension. It's a fight that was made in the editing room and doesn't hold up to any real scrutiny.
|Once upon a time, this image and Vanilla Ice were AWESOME!|
While Jones would go on to redeem himself for this fight twelve years later with The Hunted (while also becoming a well respected actor), Seagal's vanity would continue to prevent him from having a decent, 2-sided fight scene. Would he ever achieve the one thing that EVERY other action star had been doing for years? Or was he incapable of letting someone else get in a few good hits on him? This won't be the last time Seagal's fightography is put to the test here.