Book #4: Seagalogy

Outlaw. Writer. Guide and advocate for all things Badass. Author of perhaps the greatest review of BILLY JACK ever put to paper. Vern manages to do something that very few people writing about cinema can claim: write with an utterly unique and convincing voice that tells you right away here is someone who a) won't pander to any prevailing critical view and b) will make even the most jaded person love the act of watching movies. It's that last part that makes what he does so great - every review, whether it's praise or condemnation, drips with an absolute love of watching movies.

So it's a matter of high praise when I say that, reading Segalogy, I immediately wanted to rush out and watch Steven Seagal films. Particularly OUT FOR JUSTICE and ON DEADLY GROUND (read the book to understand why). I can safely say this is something I have never wanted to do. Ever. I had see a few of his movies and just considered them run of the mill action flicks in the same vein as everything else playing at the time. But over the course of analyzing 26 films, two record albums, and a foray into the world of energy drinks, Vern uncovers running themes of conservation, government blowback, music, broken glass and cultural diversity that shows a concerted effort to do something different, something fresh and new in the action genre.

On top of that, it's funny as hell. Make no mistake: as sincere as Vern is in his admiration for the films of Seagal and Badass Cinema in general, he knows when something is simply ridiculous, and has no problem pointing it out in a way that is hilarious. Each film from 1988's ABOVE THE LAW to 2007's URBAN JUSTICE is dissected and and examined in both loving tribute and for maximum hilarity. A checklist is provided at the end of each chapter, listing items like "improvised weapons," "cover accuracy" of the DVD/poster, and quotes that demonstrate "Just how badass is this guy?"

I never thought anyone would actually write a serious book about the films Steven Seagal. When they did, I never thought I'd buy it. When I did, I never thought I'd open it. When I did, I never thought I'd love it. When I read it front to back in three days, I knew I was wrong again. The bad news is that right now the original limited edition available from his (awesome) website is gone. The good news is that it's being picked up again in a shiny new edition that will be available everywhere, like

Seagalogy definitely isn't for everybody, but if you're badass enough to give it a shot, you'll be more than a little surprised.