Book Review: SEAGALOGY - Mania.com



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  • Author: Vern
  • Publisher: Titan Books
  • Pages: 416
  • Price: $14.95

Book Review: SEAGALOGY

Read for a chance to win A Study of the Ass-Kicking Films of Steven Seagal

By Pat Ferrara     May 15, 2008


SEAGALOGY by Vern.
© Titan Books
Mixing thorough film insight with vulgar hilarity, Titan Books and Aint It Cool News’ Vern tackle the films of Steven Seagal with infectious admiration…and make a book about Seagal’s movies that’s not only readable, but also a hell of a lot of fun.
 
The opening pages of Seagalogy, as well as a disclaimer noting that portions of the book were written while under the influence of Steven Seagal’s Lightning Bolt Energy drink, make it abundantly clear that Vern’s Seagal outing is far from the film analysis norm.
 
Seagalogy is lewd, crass and pony-tailed. And it cusses, a lot. But the excessive dropping of f-bombs is expertly balanced with loads of interesting tidbits and aficionado facts. Vern divides Seagal’s film career into four distinct stages: the Golden Era from 1988 to 1991, the Silver Era from 1992 to 1997, the Transitional Period from 1998 to 2002 and the Direct-to-Video Era from 2003 to the present. Within these eras Vern dissects every Seagal film ever made from the theatrical release of Andrew Davis’ ABOVE THE LAW to the most recent, straight-to-video PISTOL WHIPPED.
 
At the end of each film chapter Vern breaks down the movie’s important, at-a-glance facts. These range from the fascinating topics of adopted cultures and political themes to Seagal’s use of improvised weapons, how many fights take place in bars, and the film’s treatment of family life (headed under “Family shit”). The back page facts of each chapter are almost as funny as Vern’s unabbreviated analyses and provide a great addendum to each film critique.
 
What Vern does best in Seagalogy is illuminate an archetypal action hero without undermining that action hero’s ridiculous persona. In the second of two introductions (the first being penned by THE PINEAPPLE EXPRESS director David Gordon Green), Vern admits that Seagal’s movies are often ridiculous and corny, yet he has the ability to make us care about them in an enjoyable way. Through Vern we can see, step by step, how Seagal has used his screen characters and goofy action flicks as vehicles for his own beliefs on environmental protection, government agency reform, and on whatever else has impassioned the aikido badass through the years.  
 
The only minor problem with Vern’s Seagalogy is, well, its length. At over 400 pages chances are you won’t be rushing through each and every chapter; 28 Seagal films is a lot to cover in only a handful of sittings. But like such coffee table tomes as A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction or Destined for Destiny, Seagalogy is a raucous, thigh-slapping and informative read that can murder spare time as easily as Steven Seagal can break peoples’ necks.
 
In short Vern’s Seagalogy is an unexpected gem. If you’re a die-hard action fan, or really anyone who appreciates a good laugh at Seagal’s expense, don’t miss out on this one.
 
 
Seagalogy Giveaway
 
Courtesy of our friends over at Titan Books, we have a total of five copies of Seagalogy to give away for your reading pleasure. If any of you Maniacs are interested in winning a copy drop a comment below on how Steven Seagal has changed your life. Points awarded for creativity.
 
For more information on the novel be sure to check out Titan’s website directly at www.titanbooks.com.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 6 of 6
1 
fft5305 5/15/2008 8:47:24 AM
Anyone remember when Seagal first hit the scene back in '88? He was absolutely bad-ass in Above the Law. Breaking arms, busting heads, a virtual tornado of violence. Not to mention offscreen, he was banging Kelly LeBrock. Each successive film after that, though, he became more and more a parody of himself, not to mention puffier and puffier. I think when he was killed in the beginning of Executive Decision, that was effectively the death of his career, too. Any time you can't last as long as John Leguizamo in a movie, you're in trouble.
snakeplissken007 5/15/2008 9:01:43 AM
Why can't Oprah pick this as her book of the month to promote on her show? I would like a copy of the book, on account of my fascination of all things seagal. I love his soft spoken demeanor. and best of all his titles are all interchangeable. All his movies could share the same title. He's "Above the Law" while "Out for Justice", his enemies are out to get him and he's "Under Siege" making him "Hard to kill" and a "Hard Target" (OK that one's a Van Damme movie but it would have been better if Seagal was in it) Seagal needs a new theatrical release. I'd love it if he worked with the muscles from Brussels and maybe toss in a little Chuck Norris
monkeyfoot 5/15/2008 9:44:11 AM
Steven Seagal - what can you say. Well, whatever you say you have to do it in curt, monotone whispers while trying to use modern urban hip-hop slang. Then if they don't like it, you clothesline 'em and break their arm while wearing your long black leather coat. I make fun of his current on-screen persona but actually I finally took up martial arts because of him. I'd had a long love of the fighting skills but whenever I saw Bruce Lee or other Kung Fu movie fighters, I couldn't even conceive of actually learning how do do that complicated stuff. Then I saw Above the Law and Seagal and I was blown away. His whole persona of having a mysterious past with possible CIA ties, his training as a white westerner in Japan and constantly having to prove himself intrigued me. In that first movie, he had a very noticable on-screen presence and charisma and I predicted he would go far. I figured he would migrate out of action roles and move into intense dramas, like Richard Gere at the time. Well, that didn't happen,of course. Instead after peaking with Under Siege (great action flick!), he descended into his standard DVD action fare of today. The charismatic figure I liked in his first films now mumbles and is barely there while performing a few "Wire-fu" moves (or has a stuntman do them) in movies I can only tolerate in half hour chunks when I see them on cable. Still, in those early movies, I saw those graceful, yet brutal moves of Aikido done by a true western sensei and used them in real-life settings that I'd never seen before. I was left with a feeling of "That looks so cool and I think I could actually do that." I eventually took up Hapkido, which is sort of a blend of Japanese aikido and Korean techniques and for years enjoyed every exhausting, joint-locking, grappling minute of it 'til age and my knees told me to stop. Steven Seagal didn't develop into the great movie star I thought he would be but I still like the IDEA of what he represents: mysterious power and presence that just by entering a room you know something special and dangerous had come into your life.
MutantNinjaLoungeSingr 5/15/2008 2:41:18 PM
Steven Seagal is Hard To Kill..... and even harder to watch....
kaybar 5/15/2008 2:55:37 PM
Haha, Mutant great one-liner. I take it you're not in competition for one of the Seagalogy copies? I gotta agree with you guys that Seagal was fantastic in his heydey, or as Vern describes it as in his Golden and Silver Eras. I'm taking Seagal over Chuck Norris, if for no other reason than I'm deeply annoyed by Norris' grassroots resurgence in popularity. The only thing worse than Chuck Norris jokes are the assholes that still propagate them. fft, snake, and monkey if you want to fire out your mailing addresses to PFerrara.mania@gmail.com we'll get these books out to ya.
NickVoro 6/9/2008 8:34:00 PM
Steven Seagal was the array of light during my early education, who kept me focused on achieving my goals. His spectacular action movies were like enlightenment that kept me away from the Dark Side. Each one a, extremity in awesomeness. I think I have been preaching the spoken word of Steven Seagal like Government propaganda since I was a young teenager. Now thanks to my efforts all my friends(special mention to Ian who has an extensive VHS collection of Steven's films and Adam who is collecting like no tomorrow) know about The Master of Aikido. The way he orchestrates these Action Sequences is simply a color spectrum of precision, timing and immaculate coordination before The Fade To Black because you(The Viewer) had an overload. He is tall, broad shouldered and verbally coarse as he defuses any situation with his Buddhist wisdom and butt kicking abilities. How can this man not be my hero. Whether, he is Nico Toscani in Above The Law fighting the underhanded and sly CIA and honestly having the sexiest scene that tested the stamina of every straight male. You know what scene I am talking about, The slow walk and camera zooming in on his butt. Or, he is Mason Storm recovering from amnesia and taking dirty Politicians to blood banks, or destroying a pool hall as Gino in Out For Justice, just to justify it by rescuing a puppy from an abusive owner... all I can say is, Steven Seagal was the focal point of my testosterone fuel pumping adrenaline rush childhood. He used to satisfy all my action cravings. He still does in part, but times have changed. The productions are poorer, the hilarity of seeing three different vehicles exploding in mid air in Today You Die, or having an Angry Midget yell out, "I wanna lick you." Its definetly a far cry from Casey Ryback cooking up a storm in the control room against a knife wielding Tommy Lee Jones. But hey, I spun both CD's, went to his concert with my best friend, and I rent/buy every new movie he releases. I spoke to Vern before, he is a great guy to converse with, and it was about time, a action movie veteran got a medal in a form of a 400 page book detailing his turmoils and tribulations. And I am looking on the positive side of things, Urban Justice was an amazing comeback. Brought back memories. So I think I am going to toast with Steven Seagal's Lighting Bolt Energy Drink, insert a classic into my DVD player and hope I win this competition. P.S To Quote the man himself, "I am hoping that I can be known as a great writer and actor some day, rather than a sex symbol."
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give me a copy of the book please

by snakeplissken007
Grade: A+

Why can't Oprah pick this as her book of the month to promote on her... 

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