Ben Peek (benpeek) wrote,
Ben Peek


I finally made my way to the end of Seagalogy by Vern.

You might note that by the way I said finally, that the book lost a bit of its shine, and it did, though it remained amusing throughout its whole.

The main idea behind the book is that, "It's not just the presence of Seagal that makes it a Seagal film." According to Vern, it's the politics, the ideologies, the cultural interests, and the ability to throw someone through a window in a bar fight, if possible, that make this true. It's not a bad theory, and I could kind of get behind it, but Vern, unfortunately, doesn't have the critical ability to make such an argument work for three hundred pages. Part of it is his structure: He divides his book into chapters that follow each film in chronological order, and the chapters tell you what happened in each, while going off on tangents such as what a bad cop such and such was because of this, and that. Because of this, there's no real development of that theme--you're just suppose to see it lurking in the back of the films, the way Vern does. And, in fairness, I can see it lurking in the back, it's just that I don't particularly care about wading through reviews of films that, no matter how much Vern wants to make you believe there's a body of work in place, are just kind of the same old shit.

Ultimately, in fact, after twenty seven film reviews where Vern doesn't focus on Seagal's personal life, personal interests, and the background of filming--there is a moment when Vern mentionsa conflict with mobsters, which I thought was interesting, and could be seen as an influence on later films--but because he doesn't focus on this, and deliberately makes a choice not too, Vern simple reinforces the negative take of Seagal's films: that they are very similar. That there's really not that much going for them. That they're not the work of a kind of action hero auteur, just as Vern's book is not the work of someone with any real critical capacity.

Still, the book had its moments, so I got no hassle with my time in it. I just wish it had been smarter.


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