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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Cool Ass Cinema Book Reviews: Bone Breaking, Ass Kicking Edition!


By Vern

Softcover; 512 pages; no pictures; editions: 2008, 2012 (updated and expanded edition)

Of the many big screen action heroes to emerge in the 1980s, arguably the most news worthy would have to be Steven Seagal. At times coming off as lacking even the slightest hint of a personality, Seagal has nonetheless maintained his place in the industry in one form or another; whether being challenged by a group of champion martial artists, a long running war of words with Jean Claude Van Damme, a sexual harassment lawsuit (dismissed, it was), launching energy drinks and other products and his environmental endeavors, Seagal is six feet deep within America's pop culture iconography whether you like it or not. Having moved comfortably into the direct to video wasteland in recent years, Seagal's fans can catch him at least once or twice a month on the small screen in an increasing resume of productions. All that's needed is for someone to document them all.

Vern, the single named online critic and author of this book, has done that very thing in this expanded and hefty 500+ page tome amassing everything the man, the martial artist, blues guitarist, environmentalist and Louisiana police officer (huh?!) has done up to this point. Vern, obviously a huge fan of the actor, shows a good degree of dedication towards the subject matter and treats it in an honest manner. He also has an interesting way of approaching Seagal's career making this much more than merely a rundown of the films plots and a critical analysis. It's really an epic book on a subject you wouldn't expect to see over 500 pages written on it. Vern's style is an easy read and keeps things moving along nicely which will entice Seagal's fans and easily rope in those who aren't necessarily partial to the actors movies.

In addition, there's also a section that covers unproduced projects involving Steven Seagal. One of the most curious of these is a paragraph that covers Seagal's long time dream to essay the role of historical tyrant, Genghis Khan. Apparently the John Wayne fiasco from 1956, THE CONQUEROR, has been forgotten, and for all our sakes, will hopefully never be repeated. Vern's overpowering adoration for Seagal's repertoire is at times perplexing. You may find yourself wondering if the author is indeed earnest in his assertions, or if it's all meant to be taken less than seriously. Both comprehensive and comedic, a good time is had by both poking fun and paying tribute to one of Hollywood's most curiously quirky personalities.

You can buy this revised, expanded edition of the book at amazon

You can read more about this updated edition of the book and also purchase it from Titan Books HERE.


Steve said...

I'm actually watching the first episode of his series True Justice. Completely stupid on every conceivable level but kind of fun.

venoms5 said...

LOL. I am assuming the TRUE JUSTICE series isn't of the "reality" level of his LAWMAN show?

I was actually in Borders books about a year and a half ago reading the first edition of this book and it took me several minutes before I said to myself, "What am I doing?"

I'm not really a Seagal fan, but it's a good read, though. My faves of his are MARKED FOR DEATH and OUT TO LUNCH... I mean OUT FOR JUSTICE.

Steve said...

I like Seagal's earlier movies too like Above the Law. True Justice, man. There's some stupid shit going on in that one. For example, they need a Mandarin interpreter and when the interpreter starts speaking, it's Cantonese. I wonder if Ric Meyers is somehow involved....

venoms5 said...

LMAO! Sounds like Ric's MO. He could have been a consultant. :D

Samuel Wilson said...

Saw that book in the local Barnes & Noble and was sorely tempted. A book that thick on Seagal has to be insane enough to be entertaining on some level.

Maynard Morrissey said...

I'm not a big fan of Seagal, but I never really understood all the hate he got, especially because IMO he's more kick-ass than Norris or Lundgren.

oh btw, I just gave you an award :)

Kev D. said...

Thanks for making me aware of this book. I hate Seagal, but like Norris, love to hate him. Can't wait to read this.

venoms5 said...

@ Sam: Yes, 500 plus pages is Seagal overkill! It's an interesting read, though, and the authors devotion shines through.

@ Harry: Seagal rubbed a lot of folks the wrong way during his career, much like Van Damme. There was a great story where he was challenged by a dirty dozen of martial arts champions because of his attitude at the time. I have the issue of the martial arts mag that features the article. He was also accused, or charged with beating his ex wife, Kelly LeBrock, the girl from WEIRD SCIENCE. Jaime Pressly was apparently molested by him while shooting TICKER (not counting the sexual harassment suit), he's an animal rights activist, yet on his reality cop show, he came under fire for the death of a puppy, etc, etc... Thanks, Harry, for thinking of me. It may be a while before I can participate on this one, lol.

@ Kev D: You're quite welcome, sir! Hope you enjoy the book. I'm surprised there's no similar book on Norris outside of his autobiography.

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