September 07, 2009

All Right, I've Had Enough of 'Marked for Death'

Can someone tell me please why Steven Seagal remains popular?

Or, for that matter, why his 1990 magnum opus, Marked for Death, shows up more often than The Seven Samurai on cable?

Or--even more troubling--why I continue to watch this idiotic movie almost every time it's on?

It's not that I like bad writing, hammy acting and uninspired directing. Really. I loathe such things.

But after finding myself lapping up these atrocious elements during a recent viewing of MFD, I realized something extraordinary.

I'm a movie hypocrite.

OK...we're all allowed our guilty pleasures. Some of us, for example, crave the Francis the Talking Mule movies. (You know who you are.) Others enjoy a cheesy Roland Emmerich flick now and then.

Yet MFD occupies a different seat on the cinematic exchange. It has almost no redeeming qualities from a film standpoint. Editing, music, cinematography, script...they're all dreadful. And the story--which supposedly concerns Seagal's obsession with kicking the collective tucheses of the members of a Jamaican drug gang led by the maniacal Screwface (a completely over-the-top Basil Wallace, who nevertheless is more interesting than any of the other characters)--borders on outright racism and xenophobia.

So what the heck is wrong with me? Isn't there a junky Joel Schumacher flick always on that I could watch instead?

It's not that there's a distinct appeal to all the crummily-shot mayhem in MFD. Nor is there any rhyme or reason to the proceedings, which almost always lead to Seagal pushing someone into someone else via his distinctly vague martial-arts moves. And it's certainly not a movie that I'd call a "guilty pleasure," as "pleasure" has very specific connotations that do not jibe with this film, and "guilty" is an adjective that seems, to my mind, to fit in more with the Francis movies than MFD.

At any rate, I'm still trying to figure out this conundrum. To paraphrase The Muppet Show's Waldorf and Statler: "Why do we always come here?/I guess we'll never know."

I'll continue to ponder this great mystery of the cinematic universe while I attempt to restore any credibility this blog has as an arbiter of taste in the movie world. Heh...good luck with that, right?


  1. Hi, just flipped over to your blog here. Very good read so far, if I do say so. I've always wondered things like this as well, the same reason I wonder why AMC (America Movie Classics) shows Catwoman... in what universe is that a classic? Unless they're counting god awfulness as a chance of classic.

    My guess: they're in English, attract a very small (minded?) audience, and can fill up a time slot whenever they need one.

  2. I agree with you--I'm puzzled by the cable prevalence of dreck such as Catwoman myself. Still, there must be *some* market for these sure ain't the Seven Samurai crowd. :-)

    BTW: I concur with you about LOTR: great stuff. Keep up the good work! Cheers.

    - SHB