Do you have any idea how hard it is to find 10 genuinely good Steven Seagal movies? It’s a tough one and frankly even some of these choices I’m not sure of but I couldn’t be bothered doing another poll and just put my top 10 Seagal movies.
Honourable Mention: Executive Decision (1996) – The only Seagal film I’ve seen where he dies midway through it. After all these years I’m still getting over the devastation. He’s not in it enough to be in the top 10 as it’s not a starring role but it deserves a tip of the hat.
10. Machete (2010)
Plot: After nearly being killed during a violent fight with a powerful drug lord, a former Mexican Federale known as Machete (Danny Trejo) roams Texas streets as a vigilante and sometime day-laborer. Hired to perform a covert hit, he is double-crossed and forced to go on the run. Machete may be down, but not out, and he carves a path of blood, bullets and broken hearts in his quest to settle the score.
This deserves a mention for the simple fact that Seagal plays a rare villain and he doesn’t even survive until the end credits. Will wonders never cease?
9. Exit Wounds (2001)
Plot: Steven Seagal stars as maverick Detroit police detective Orin Boyd, whose take-no-prisoners approach to domestic terrorism gets him booted downtown to the city’s toughest precinct. Multi-Platinum hip hop star DMX stars as the powerful and mysterious crime lord Latrell Walker, whose dicey connections and seemingly unlimited cash make him everyone’s target. Together the two men take on a conspiracy that reaches all the way through the ranks to the heart of the precinct.
Have you ever met anyone called Orin Boyd? Me neither. Seagal’s characters always have awesomely outrageous names and this is one of the very best. He kinda takes the piss out of himself in this one and there are some decent action scenes too.
8. Fire Down Below (2010)
Plot: When an EPA representative is discovered dead in a small Midwestern town, government agent Jack Taggart (Steven Seagal) goes undercover to check things out. He finds that local coal mogul Orin Hanner Sr. (Kris Kristofferson) is cutting financial corners by disposing of hazardous waste wherever he pleases and that local kids are falling ill because of this recklessness. Taggart then works to stop the shady activity and save the town, but Hanner and his thugs soon grow suspicious of him.
One of Seagal’s lesser known movies, I always had a soft spot for it and love Kris Kristofferson’s villain who has some choice one-liners.
7. The Glimmer Man (1996)
Plot: A former government operative renowned for his stealth, Jack Cole (Steven Seagal) is now a Los Angeles police detective. When a series of horrible murders occurs in the metro area, Cole is assigned to the case, along with tough-talking fellow cop Jim Campbell (Keenen Ivory Wayans). Although the two men clash, they gradually become effective partners as they uncover a conspiracy linked to the killings, which also involves terrorism and organized crime.
This film still stands up well as an entertaining action comedy with plenty of one-liners and some awesome violence; also worth watching for a young Johnny Strong.
6. On Deadly Ground (1994)
Plot: Forrest Taft (Steven Seagal) is putting his considerable talents as a fighter and marksman to use as a hired gun for the sleazy oil tycoon Michael Jennings (Michael Caine). The latter’s bottom-line tunnel vision has him destroying entire communities if it means a bigger profit for his business. While in Alaska taking care of some business for his amoral boss, however, Taft meets a native Eskimo woman (Joan Chen) who helps him to discover the error of his ways and pursue a more righteous path.
Forrest Taft. Another amazing name. You’ve also got Michael Caine as the villain. The movie is overly preachy but I love the fact it’s about saving the environment but blowing up oil rigs and murdering hundreds of people is alright.
5. Under Siege (1992)
Plot: A heroic loner takes on a group of nuclear terrorists in this seagoing yarn. Posing as a rock band, the terrorists get themselves hired for a party aboard the USS Missouri, a battleship en route to Pearl Harbor for decommissioning. They plan to steal the ship’s nuclear arsenal but haven’t reckoned on the intervention of the ship’s chef, a decorated former Navy SEAL.
Seagal does his Die Hard movie to great success. When baddies take over his ship, he has bitch slap them all into submission. Also noteworthy for Erika Eleniak getting naked. I’m just going to mention that I love Under Siege 2 so it’s joint with this.
4. Hard to Kill (1990)
Plot: When police detective Mason Storm (Steven Seagal) uncovers ties among corrupt cops, the mob and charismatic politician Vernon Trent (Bill Sadler), a hit is ordered on his family. During the attack, Storm’s wife is killed, and the cop himself is severely injured. After waking up from a years-long coma, Storm, aided by gorgeous nurse Andy Stewart (Kelly LeBrock), slowly gets back on his feet and plots revenge against those who wronged him, particularly the duplicitous Sen. Trent.
Seagal’s character name of Mason Storm in this movie is arguably the greatest action hero name of all time. He also gets to sleep with Kelly LeBrock, punch through wood and say THE line: “I’m gonna take you to the bank Senator Trent… the Blood Bank!” (see above).
3. Above the Law (1988)
Plot: A martial-arts expert and former CIA agent, Nico Toscani (Steven Seagal) is working as a Chicago cop when a relatively routine drug-trafficking investigation leads to an international conspiracy. Soon Nico and his partner, Delores “Jax” Jackson (Pam Grier), are the targets of mysterious and powerful criminals, but he refuses to back down. As Nico gets deeper into the case, he must contend with an old adversary: corrupt CIA operative Kurt Zagon (Henry Silva).
One of Seagal’s more hardcore movies where you actually see him bleed and it’s also apparently based on a true story. Keep an eye out for one Sharon Stone as his wife and a scene stealing villainous turn from Henry Silva.
2. Marked for Death (1990)
Plot: Mourning his partner who recently died in the line of duty, Drug Enforcement Administration agent John Hatcher (Steven Seagal) confesses to his old pal Max (Keith David), a high school football coach, that he has decided to retire. Then Chicago drug lord Screwface (Basil Wallace) puts out a hit on Hatcher’s family. Now, thirsty for vengeance, this grizzled man of action fearlessly returns to the fray, and, when the skittish Screwface flees to Jamaica, Hatcher and Max are in hot pursuit.
This time Seagal has to fight off Jamaican drug lords in arguably his most brutal film. It has plenty of fight scenes, nudity and action for all the family remaining one of his very best. I hope they weren’t triplets…
1. Out for Justice (1991)
Plot: Gino Felino (Steven Seagal) is a Brooklyn police detective whose partner and longtime friend is shot down in the street in front of his wife and children. The culprit is Richie Madano (William Forsythe), a drug lord in the neighborhood who has known Gino since they were kids. With the blessing of his captain (Jerry Orbach), Gino is sent alone into the drug underground to find Richie by any means necessary. Along the way, Gino uncovers secrets about his deceased partner that he never suspected.
My absolute favourite Seagal movie; feels more like a mob movie where old loyalties are tested, bones are broken and unarmed women are shot in the head! William Forsythe is terrifying in this movie and the “anybody seen Richie?” scene is arguably the best scene of ANY Seagal movie.
So that is my pick, but I’m sure plenty of you have your own favourite Seagal movies, do tell?