Only 2 movies covered this week, both huge Seagal blockbusters. I had a ton of thoughts on each, especially Executive Decision. Woof, I really went down the rabbit hole on that one, sorry.
As I plan out these reviews I see some real stinkers coming up.
I’ve tried to smear the poop across this and next Saturday’s review, so you might still get one solid recommendation out of each.
My promise to fellow Seagal colleagues is that the sun will rise again and that the golden Seagal DVD era is coming. We just have to eat our veggies before we get dessert.
Seagal’s career is about to slump, begun the late 90s has.
The Glimmer Man
Released: OCTOBER 1996
Director: JOHN GRAY
Writer: KEVIN BRODBIN
Stars: STEVEN SEAGAL, KEENEN IVORY WAYANS
Steven Seagal is Jack Cole, a devout Buddhist and new detective for LAPD homicide. When a serial killer goes on a rampage, everyone will know why Jack was called The Glimmer Man.
What to say about this movie? Well, it truly is a movie. I can tell you that. There is a good film hiding in here somewhere. But the movie I watched was bad.
Steven Seagal is a genuinely interesting guy. Before he moved to Hollywood to pursue acting, he had his own dojo and was an Akido instructor living in Japan. You can’t call him a weeaboo because he had gone beyond that. He was living the kotaku dream.
He speaks fluent Japanese by the way, check out this video.
A few native speakers have commented that his Japanese is perfect and the audience is laughing in shock. Are there any Crunchyroll Premium subscribers in the comments that can let us know?
How this influenced him is unique and pretty cool. Whether it’s double golden dragons on his jacket or a slight bow with clasped hands, the Eastern influence he brings to his characters is compelling.
It’s great when its subtle or just part of his style, like a nice dash of teriyaki to his movies. But in The Glimmer Man, he is asking us to drink straight soy sauce.
I’m just gonna say it, Steven Seagal is really Chinese in this movie.
Everything about him is Chinese.
He’s wearing traditional Buddhist prayer beads constantly, he’s dressed in a Tai Chi jumpsuit, he visits a Chinese traditional medicine shop on his lunch break to buy powdered deer penis.
Now, this is where the good movie could be hiding.
A buddy cop movie with (insert current popular comedian here) and Steven Seagal as Steven Seagal has enormous potential. His partner could be constantly be riffing on his quirks, while Seagal plays it straight with his almost superhero abilities.
The problem is that this movie is a serious crime flick and a hard R, so it’s kind of gross and the tone doesn’t support a ton of comedy. There are about 3 good jokes in the movie, all delivered by Wayans, but totally out of place.
You know what?
You aren’t going to watch this so I’ll just tell you the best joke of the entire movie:
“If I need a spiritual cleansing I’ll eat a bran muffin!”
That’s all there is. There is another scene where Seagal sits down with one of the bad guys and steals an egg roll. I can’t tell if it’s supposed to be funny or convey brooding disrespect, you be the judge:
Let me tell you guys something. If I ever meet any of you in real life I would be happy to shake your hand, and maybe grab a bite if you got the time. We can talk movies, that sounds great to me. But if I order egg rolls and you think that means I want to share, your hand might not be coming back from that plate.
While we are on the subject of food, I need to confirm that 1996 is when Seagal starts to gain weight. I don’t understand it- he is still moving fast and his kicks are high. He’s not even that old yet.
He moved to another country and had a successful life. He learned Japanese and mastered a martial art. Then he moved back to the US with the intent of becoming a movie star. That doesn’t happen without serious goals. I find it hard to believe his weight gain is from lack of self-control.
More likely it’s from indifference.
Seagal’s redemption is still a decade away and we have confirmation of his “**** you” type attitude in the 90s. It’s less that he can’t lose weight and more that he doesn’t care.
This is my academic opinion.
Does The Glimmer Man have the brutal action that we crave?
No, it doesn’t.
He breaks zero bones that I can tell. He doesn’t stab anyone at all. There is also some alternative camera work with tilted shots that will annoy the heck out of you.
I also think Wayans does a great job, I give him a 10/10 for his contribution. Oh but not for anything related to The Glimmer Man.
He wrote and directed Little Man!
It’s hard to not love anyone involved with this:
I think I got a few more pages in me about The Glimmer Man but I think you get the idea. Lost potential here, bad director I believe, no idea who John Gray is.
I don’t blame Seagal for choosing this one, it should have been a great star vehicle for him.
Should you watch this movie?
Only if you are stuck on a long bus ride and they have a bootleg copy playing on those little TVs dubbed in Spanish.
Did I enjoy watching this movie?
No, and it was frustrating watching it fail.
Is it a good movie?
Released: MARCH 1996
Director: STUART BAIRD
Writer: JIM THOMAS, JOHN THOMAS
Stars: KURT RUSSEL, STEVEN SEAGAL
Steven Seagal is Austin Travis, and someone has made the Executive Decision to… kill him off in the first half of the movie.
This movie appears in every “Top Steven Seagal” list that I have come across. And its not false advertising, he is a main character for at least 50 minutes… before he is removed from the story.
First, let me say that Executive Decision is a great movie. It’s a classic 90’s summer blockbuster that everyone but teenage girls will enjoy.
It’s got a solid Clancyesque story, Kurt Russell and John Leguizamo do well. It’s as close to a Rainbow Six movie we will ever get. David Suchet from Agatha Christie’s Poirot will be recognized, my senior citizen readers.
He was such a good bad guy.
Now the problem:
When this movie first starts we are immediately spoon-fed some premium Seagal knife kills. I couldn’t believe it. I got the chills when he pulled the knife and tilted it broadside to the camera. “Wait, is this actually good?” I thought to myself. At this point, I paused the movie and took a quick peek at my old friend, IMDB.
I am sold. That’s about as good as it gets with Seagal and crowd-sourced ratings. I decided that if I was indeed going to partake of patrician cinema tonight, I needed to start over. I closed VLC and took the movie to the living room and made some popcorn.
Executive Decision deserved a bigger screen and a dedicated movie night.
If you have been keeping track, that’s more knife kills in 10 seconds than any other movie so far. He murders these guys and if you inspect the scene they don’t even have any kind of weapons in hand.
This is what I need, brother.
In Seagal’s scrappy little bunch of commandos is Miles Dyson from T2, Dr. Wu from Jurassic Park, and Luigi from Super Mario Bros.
It’s classic 90s special forces.
They got silenced MP5s, camo face paint, wired headsets, sweat pants — it’s all here.
From the top of my head, I think only Michael Biehn’s squad from The Rock does it better.
Well, Michael Biehn’s squad all got killed so I think I’ll bump them to number 2 actually.
Seagal’s commandos are now officially #1.
This is an opening action scene done right.
The plan is to capture the Chechnyan terrorist leader and secure the stolen Soviet nerve gas. We see everyone in the squad so we don’t need to introduce them later in the movie.
We know Seagal is the leader, and they are good guys.
How do we know they are the good guys?
Well because they kill everyone on sight.
Except for the girl. Girls are good.
This sequence is so good I am going to break my rule and post 2 gifs in a row.
If Seagal isn’t making you hard right now then you might be gay.
Makes sense to me.
What did Michael Biehn do in The Rock?
He made a 45-minute speech about honor and got his entire squad killed.
Steven Seagal puts the mission and his team above all else.
He uses squinty-eyed leadership and gets the job done.
By the end of the first half of the movie I am jumping on my couch and spilling popcorn everywhere. I was thinking:
“We finally did it! We found the quintessential Seagal flick. Knife kills, big-budget, he commits genocide in the first hour, and — whoa — is that the familiar 1911 on his kit?”
And Then Steven Seagal Dies
An hour into Executive Decision one of the main characters dies. Then John Leguizamo suspiciously takes his place as the main commando guy in the story.
Movie review over.
Conjecture and Investigation ahead.
Now, this doesn’t ruin the movie. John Leguizamo was clearly meant to be the only other commando you needed to pay attention to, so it makes sense that he would be the one to take over if the leader died.
I’ve talked to top men and they’ve responded:
“See but that’s why it was clever, you weren’t expecting Steven Seagal to die so unexpectedly.”
I want to dismiss this as the typical Game of Thrones subversion-fetish crowd… but again, it doesn’t ruin the movie.
I had someone explain to me convincingly that Kurt Russel and John Leguizamo play their scenes so naturally like they had been reading together and their parts had been written that way all along.
I don’t buy it.
Two theories exist of how the second act of Executive Decision ended up this way:
(A) Everything Happened As Planned
Steven Seagal was on contract to do two additional Warner Bros. films at the time of shooting. He chose Executive Decision because his character would die heroically early in the film and he would not have to film anything inside the plane.
So he takes a half-day but it counts as one film toward his contract.
John Leguizamo was always the main commando in the second act, and this is how the script was written for his character from the beginning.
And Seagal always died the way he did from the beginning, no changes.
Anything to the contrary, especially related to Seagal’s dissatisfaction with the story is Leguizamo embellishing because he is a comedian and that’s what they do.
(B) It Was A Total SNAFU
The original story had Seagal’s head exploding in the finale from the plane depressurizing.
As filming continued Seagal complained that this was unrealistic and would upset his fans.
He said he would refuse to film more scenes until this was changed and locked himself in his trailer.
They threatened to sue him for breach of contract and then came to an agreement that Seagal’s character would die by sacrificing himself to save the team.
Seagal was pissed and belligerent toward the other leads once he got back on set to film the “Remora Sleeve Malfunction” scene.
I can say without a doubt that theory 2 is the only possible explanation.
And I can prove it.
This is a Film Goblin Big Brain Cinema Exclusive.
The “Remora Sleeve” is an experimental feature of the Nighthawk that was designed to allow special forces to enter a hijacked plane by attaching to a hatch at the bottom of the airliner.
They didn’t do reshoots for Seagal.
Up to this point, the movie was shot sequentially.
They changed the script and swapped Leguizamo’s character for Seagal’s for anything after this sequence.
I believe its obvious that they filmed this scene in 2 parts at 2 different times, separating Seagal from the other actors. Because they had to lure Seagal out of his trailer to do this and he was pissed. Then they merged everything together to make it appear everyone filmed it at once.
This is where the commandos climb the ladder from the Nighthawk, through the sleeve, and up into the airliner.
Shots 1 & 2
Seagal starts out in his own little area, separate from the “name” actors like Leguizamo, Russell, or even Wong or Platt. They can be seen doing their own thing moving up the ladder, with other actors faces in the background. Only “nobody” actors are seen with Seagal, to create the illusion of one group moving up the ladder.
Shots 3 & 4
While most of the actors have climbed up the ladder, Seagal is still in his little separate area, obviously waiting for absolutely every “named” actor to be out of the Nighthawk(because they weren’t even on set at the time).
Shots 5 & 6
But wait! Kurt Russell is still down in the Nighthawk with Seagal, when the planes experience rocking you can see Russell steady himself on the ladder and both of them in 5 are in the same shot.
Wrong. That is not Russell’s hand.
Throughout this sequence, Seagal lives in his own special area in space and time, with only the windows of the Nighthawk in the background. It never changes.
The scene continues. Now we go deeper.
Shots 1 & 2
Seagal finally starts to climb the ladder, last. Dyson gets knocked out and falls down the sleeve. Seagal and Russell help move his body up. Russell looks down, Seagal looks up, but their heads or faces are never in the same shot.
Vapor starts leaking into the remora sleave, obscuring Seagal and preparing your brain to be fooled.
Everyone except Seagal makes it up to the airliner. That is Russell, that’s Leguizamo’s curly hair. The camera just panned right from Wong’s face. Platt, another “name” actor is clearly interacting with them.
That is Russell, but that is not Seagal’s face. It’s a stand-in.
Again Russell, but not Seagal’s hand. He has been replaced for the interaction.
Seagal wasn’t on set while the rest of the cast filmed. Likewise, they were not present when he filmed his part. Then they killed his character off.
All because they wanted to explode his head.
Should you watch this movie?
Yes, its a ton of fun and the Seagal behind the scenes drama is premium.
Did I enjoy watching this movie?
Is it a good movie?
TOP 5 STEVEN SEAGALS:
- Hard to Kill
- Above the Law
- Marked For Death
- Out For Justice
- 2 hours of Spongebob Squarepants
- Hard to Kill
- Above the Law
- Marked For Death
- Executive Decision
- Out for Justice
Earlier Saturday Seagals
Thank you for your time.