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Movie Spoiler: On Deadly Ground

Updated on August 5, 2010

Movie Spoiler: On Deadly Ground

Thank God we live in a country where speech is free. We may pontificate on ponderous propositions with relative impunity. We are safe in the knowledge that no matter what we propose, it can't be as insipid as what MSNBC and FOX are featuring in Prime Time.

And then something like this comes along.

After slogging through the cinematic colorectal exam that is On Deadly Ground, one seriously considers alternatives to free speech. This steamy pile of celluloid brings into focus exactly what the Communist Chinese have in mind when they pull the plug on Google. Perhaps some people simply should not be taught how to operate a camera. Perhaps the world has too many key grips and best boys. It becomes evident that Roger Corman may actually have some talent after all.

An Equal Opportunity Offender

Pick a race, a gender, an industry, or a social norm: this movie digs down deeply and dredges up an interminable string of offenses. No one escapes the theater without deep emotional scars and bottomless ennui. Every evil industrialist cliche is trotted out, every indigenous cultural stereotype is put through a dull-witted wringer.

A character as deep as a sheet of notebook paper summarizes this drech: ''Mystical martial artist/environmental agent takes on a ruthless oil corporation."

Agreed, no one working for the oil corporation was called Ruth.

Steven Seagal sinks to new lows as Forrest Taft. Mr. Taft finds himself turned totally dead by someone in the oil corporation not named Ruth. He mystically revives with the mystic help of otherwise helpless indigenous citizens. They can heal the dead but they can't maintain a grass roots organization and a congressional lobby to protect their homeland. Seagal assumes their quest to make the oil corporation stop being so mean. Obviously life in an ice hut is desirable to cable TV and central heating.

On Deadly Ground makes less sense than this.
On Deadly Ground makes less sense than this.

Seagal Saves the Day, of Course

Silly murderous opportunists travel to Alaska to kill Seagal. Evil character actors such as John C. McGinley and R. Lee Ermey put their lives and their acting careers on the line in futile attempts to make the world safe for corrupt oil barons. Legendary actor Michael Caine somehow got rooked into playing prototypical evil millionaire Michael Jennings. We can only surmise that the production company had photos of him attending a Ronald Reagan fundraiser. Perhaps he had a balloon payment due on his yacht. Regardless of his motivation, his sneering sniveling slobbering manic behavior only drags the story deeper into levels of cliche only seen at anarchist conventions.

Seagal saves the day by wandering through the very bad oil refinery while flipping switches, scattering bombs, and using his PhD level knowledge of chemistry, physics, and wooden acting to reduce a billion dollar plumbing project to a neatly compressed pile of parts. Apparently something really bad would have happened to the environment if the refinery had been allowed to go online. Of course, no seals or snowflakes were harmed during Seagal's well-intended carnage.

Don't Miss the Church of Seagal

Saving the day wasn't enough. Seagal realized that a few feet of unexposed film remained after the cast party sobered up. In keeping with the uber-preachy tone of the entire movie, he spliced in several interminable minutes of completely unrelated footage encouraging his unfortunate viewers to keep their thumbs on Big Oil.


Surely Steven Seagal's Mom liked the movie. 

If you are not Seagal's maternal unit, we heartily endorse shaving your head with a cheese grater rather than attempting to endure On Deadly Ground.


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    • drcrischasse profile image

      Cristopher Chasse 7 years ago from Boston

      I wrote a whole blog on Segal. I love his movies.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 7 years ago from Ohio, USA

      @drbj: You are so nice!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 7 years ago from south Florida

      "cinematic colorectal exam? ruthless ... no one was called Ruth? no seals or snowflakes were harmed"?

      nicomp - you have reached the epitome of sly humor. My hat - if I wore one - is off to you. Bravo!

    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 7 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      There are good message movies and there are bad message movies. This is a bad one.

    • profile image

      Robyoung 7 years ago

      This was a real mess from beginning to end. The best you can say about it is that it was well intentioned. He was trying his inept best to make a statement about pollution. He just messed up the execution.

      "A" for good intentions. "F" for execution.


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