On Deadly Ground

Howdy all you Supercultists out there on the interwebz!

I’m Bad Movie Professor Cameron Coker (BS in “Steven Seagal” with a minor in “Goofy Outfits”) and I’ll be posting my hype-tacular speeches every week along with some long lost speeches from past Supercult Shows!

This week we’re sledding back in time with Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Timecop!

On Deadly Ground Poster

Aegis Oil’s corrupt CEO, Michael Jennings, has a problem: he must get his new Alaskan oil rig up and running in 13 days by any means necessary or the land rights revert back to the local Inuit tribes he purchased them from. When Forrest Taft, mystical martial artist an environmental agent who works for Aegis Oil, uncovers the conspiracy he sides with the Eskimos to prevent the refinery from beginning work. Branded as a traitor to his company and with Jennings’ army of henchmen on his tail, Taft prepares to spill blood rather than oil. Tonight, Forrest Taft is… On Deadly Ground!

Produced, Directed, and Starring Steven Seagal, On Deadly Ground is a 1994 action/adventure/thriller that comes with a strong environmental message. Though not Seagal’s first choice for his directorial debut (alternate ideas for the title of the film included “Rainbow Warrior” and “Spirit Warrior”), the film sports a sizable amount of star power: Michael Caine plays the ruthless CEO Michael Jennings, Joan Chen is Masu the Eskimo love interest, John C. McGinley is MacGruder, the chief of Aegis Oil Security. On Deadly Ground held a brief #1 position at the box office, but in the end it only earned $38.6 million from a $50 million budget.

Oh, yeah and Ronald Lee “Gunny” Ermey is in this film too!

For better or for worse On Deadly Ground is one of Steven Seagal’s defining works. Vern (no last name), the author of Seagalogy: A Study of the Ass-Kicking Films of Steven Seagal asserts that many of the most important themes and motifs that define Seagal’s work (environmentalism, political corruption, spirituality, and adoption of foreign culture) are present here more overtly than in any of his other films. This is most evident during the ending environmental speech delivered by Seagal. Originally 11 minutes long, audiences complained that the speech was overly preachy and the scene was re-edited before release. Nevertheless Matt Stone and Trey Parker parodied the speech on Southpark at the end of Season 12 Episode 6 “Over Logging”.

This little gem is in the Trivia for On Deadly Ground on IMDB:

When Danish stuntman and actor Sven-Ole Thorsen met Steven Seagal on the set, he was asked by Seagal to kick him to show what Sven-Ole was capable of. Sven-Ole hesitantly kicked Seagal, who caught his leg and threw him to the ground. Seagal asked Sven-Ole to kick him again, giving it his best shot. Sven-Ole kicked him as fast and hard as he could and Seagal fell to the ground. When shooting a scene together a day or two later Seagal hit Sven-Ole in the throat, resulting in Sven-Ole being knocked out for 3-4 seconds. It looked so realistic that Seagal decided that Sven-Ole’s character, Otto, died, and Sven-Ole’s remaining scenes were cut from the film.

So, in short, Seagal delivered an expert tracheotomy and a dismissal notice all with a single punch.

Seagal Title Chart

With an approximate kill count of 33, On Deadly Ground is the first and last film Steven Seagal ever directed and was lambasted by critics on all fronts. The movie has a 4.2 on IMDB and has a 0% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes. Gene Siskel included the film in his “Worst of” list for 1994, singling it out for the melancholy tone of the film and the quality of Seagal’s dialogue, and Roger Ebert noted that Seagal’s explosive solution to the refinery problem is more likely to cause an oil spill than prevent one.

On Deadly Ground was nominated for five Golden Raspberry Awards: Worst Picture, Worst Screenplay, Worst Actress for Joan Chen, Worst Actor for Steven Seagal, and Worst Original Song for “Under the Same Sun”. Steven Seagal also Won the Golden Raspberry for Worst Director. Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson’s book, The Official Razzie Movie Guide has On Deadly Ground listed as one of the 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made.

However, we at Supercult cannot deny the words of Vern (no last name) who writes, “It’s the corniest, most unintentionally hilarious movie of his career… But it’s also Seagal’s most sincere and his most ballsy…You can’t understand Seagal if you haven’t seen On Deadly Ground.”

So tonight we invite you to make your own decision! It is So Bad it’s Good, or is it just plain bad??
The Supercult show is proud to present: On Deadly Ground!

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