Steven Seagal: Nothing breaks my heart more than seeing good actors in shit films for a quick buck. However, I never experience more intense bouts of simultaneous anger and apathy than seeing Steven Seagal‘s latest releases. Seagal shot to fame in the 1980s with a rapid bout of mainstream action films; Nico (AKA – Above the Law), Hard to Kill, Marked for Death, Under Seige… While none of them were ‘Best. Movie. Ever’ status, they were all quite enjoyable but – most importantly – fitting for the time. Not one to let past glories fade, if you pick any point over the last 30 years I bet that SS was working on the same old hackneyed one-man-army B-Movie action film.
There’s not much else that Seagal hasn’t dabbled in: directing, producing, writing, choreography, he’s got a blues band with two albums, he’s a Reserve Deputy Chief with his own ‘reality’ TV show (Steven Seagal: Lawman), he has released his own therapeutic oils and an energy drink (‘Steven Seagal’s Lightning Bolt’), aftershave (‘Scent of Action’), knives, and is in the process of designing his own gun with ORSIS rifles.
Verdict: I don’t really care that he has a bunch of dodgy lawsuits, or is friends with Putin, or still tries to convince everyone he’s a total badass (Video)… What bothers me about Seagal are his crimes against cinema. His films are literally all the same. He’s always an Ex-Black Ops / Mercenary / Hitman. He’s never in danger. Every synopsis is the same. And practically every poster & DVD cover is identical: his big face – usually close up – with an equally massive gun, pulling a ‘badass‘ pose. Even the titles are impressively unimaginative like “Ultimate Revenge”, “Out For Vengeance”, “Retribution Overload”, “Payback Force”, “Explosive Justice” or other such nonsense.
Justice Genius or Arsey Ryback – YOU DECIDE!
Mel Gibson: Having seen Irreversible, Antichrist, Baise Moi, Audition (+ other Miike films), both Funny Games, Requiem for a Dream, and Spice World, it takes a lot to shock this writer. In saying that, after listening to the leaked Mel Gibson tapes I was positively disgusted. This guy’s supposed to be a devout Christian yet, allegedly hates homosexuals, clearly hates women, allegedly beats women, allegedly hates Jews, drink drives and – more generally – is an all-round out-and-out scrotum. When he’s not massive being a ball-bag in his free time, he’s a ‘practical joker’ on set, playing pranks like flashing his ass, making actors do scenes with clown noses, nailing nude pics of co-stars to crew notice boards and pretending to be a dangerous stalker, or an offensive German alter ego. Most shockingly, if you look at his 25 year career, for such a high-profile actor he hasn’t actually been in a single great film… (Braveheart maybe, but as a Scot, that’s a whole other story!) Not unlike a chronic disease, Gibson is becoming worse and worse but never seems to fuck off.
Verdict: While this has hardly a fair trial, it’s getting harder and harder to defend this guy. Jury votes are in: ‘King of the Arses’
The Edge of Genius or William WallArse – You Decide
Vinnie Jones: Former crazy footballer turned silver-screen ‘ard man is probably one of the most recognisable Brits in the movie business right now. Whether it’s because of his reputation and image, or genuine lack of range, Mr Jones always ends up playing hooligans, hitmen, mutants, gangsters and serial killers. Despite this he’s appeared over 30 films including Lock Stock, Snatch, Hell Ride, X-Men, Survive Style 5+, The Condemned… erm… Midnight Meat Train and… uhhh… Not Another Not Another Movie! Aside from acting he’s also written books, appeared in a WWF PPV, starred in music videos, a ton of commercials, numerous TV appearances and sang on a couple of albums. More recently he took some time out to guest star as “A Massive Knob” in the UK’s Celebrity Big Brother, but to be fair, he was the only household name in a room full of idiots. All-in, given his age and background he’s done quite well but where are all the good roles?
Verdict: Unlimited respect to a football player that ends up being one of the most famous British people in the world, unfortunately he hasn’t done anything good enough to deserve ‘Genius’ status. Arse by default.
Blue Toothed Genius or JuggerArse – you decide!
Russel Crowe: First off, I reckon you’d be a fool to argue with this man’s on-screen talent as he’s one of the best actors of our times. Unfortunately it’s his off-screen capers that seem to get him such a bad rep. He’s been alleged to have terrorised, offended or punched the shit out of people in hotels, restaurants, bars, harbours… nowhere is safe! From hotel porters & security guards to pensioners… nobody is safe! My favourite Crowe-based rumour was him going in to a busy Canadian bar, slagging off Ice Hockey for being a ‘womans sport’ and calling the bar tender a ‘Gabby Old Trout’ (allegedly). He also underwhelmed the world of folk-rock with his band 30 Odd Foot of Grunts, although his fame is arguably the only reason anyone’s even heard of them. When sober he can be a charitable chap; rebuilding libraries, saving schools & rugby teams as well as gifting £1,000 to Cancer Research UK and film props to charities during the Robin Hood filming. Like every other man in the world, Crowe goes a bit feral when he’s shit-faced, maybe more so than most, but at least he never gets ‘Mel Gibson’ drunk…
Verdict: for me Crowe’s manly-man-Genius and I’d love to party with him. He definitely gets a disproportionately hard time for his bad-boy antics.
Maximus Genius or Cinderella Arse – You Decide!
Nicolas Cage: I realise this has probably been done elsewhere but it would be cool to glean everyone’s brutally honest opinion on perhaps one of the most troubled actors of our times. Career highlights: The Weatherman, Matchstick Men, Face/Off, Wild at Heart, Adaptation, Lord of War and even National Treasure, Kick–Ass & Bangkok Dangerous are acceptable. Crimes against Cinema: you can never unsee The Wicker Man, Ghost Rider, Next… I recently saw the Sorcerers Apprentice trailer my heart just sank into my guts – why does he always have such shit hair?!?! Naturally, he picks up these awful big buck roles to aid his habit of spunking money on stuff like jets, yachts, 9 Rolls Royces (!), dinosaur skills (!!) a handful of castles (!!!), and his own god-damned island (!!WTF!!) Given his track record he’s like your crazy uncle at Christmas: will he embarrass himself and the entire family or will he be the highlight of the day?
Verdict: Despite his downfalls I put Cage in the Genius category because the pros of his career outweigh the cons (so far…)
Genius or Arse – You Decide!