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The Top 5 Steven Seagal Movie Villains

October 1, 2019 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Under Siege Tommy Lee Jones Steven Seagal

The 411mania Dumpster Fire of the Week

Hello, everyone, and welcome to The 411 Dumpster Fire of the Week. I’m Bryan Kristopowitz.


I recently watched one of Steven Seagal’s newer movies, the direct-to-video General Commander, and it was just awful. Outside of an interesting plot (a rogue team of ex-CIA agents taking out bad guys all over the world with the help of a billionaire), a decent cast (Byron Gibson, who appeared in Seagal’s The Asian Connection, is awesome), and a nice “international” look (it didn’t look like it was filmed in some drab Eastern European location, and that’s not a knock against those drab Eastern European locations that usually show up in low budget, direct-to-video action movies. I love them. However, there are other locations in the world to showcase and, when it comes to these low budget, direct-to-video action movies I’d like to see some of those other world locations, if possible), the movie was terrible. There was barely any action in it, Seagal looked bored out of his mind in most of his scenes, and the ending was underwhelming at best. When I first heard about General Commander it was advertised as a potential TV series, and, according to imdb, it took 9 months to film General Commander. Nine months to film a TV series makes sense. Nine months for a low budget, direct-to-video action movie that turns out like General Commander? Doubtful. So, perhaps, the producers couldn’t sell the TV series and decided to slap together pieces from various episodes to make a movie? If that happened, that would explain the movie’s uneven pacing (although it wouldn’t explain the movie’s lack of action. You have to figure that, if General Commander the TV show was like six or seven episodes or whatever that each episode would have to have like ten minutes of action to keep people watching. So where the heck is the rest of that action?).

Now, as I was contemplating all of this, I started to wonder “What the hell happened to big Steve?” Yes, he hasn’t been a major theatrical release action movie star in almost two decades (I believe the last major theatrical release he appeared in was Machete, and he was the bad guy in that) and I’ve come to accept that his domain, as it has been since The Foreigner, is the direct-to-video action movie world and will likely continue to be for the foreseeable future. There’s nothing wrong with making low budget, direct-to-video action movies. However, making bad ones is, well, bad. And while I’ve enjoyed plenty of Seagal’s direct-to-video output, the man has participated in some real stinkers (I’m looking at you Against the Dark, Attack Force and Born to Raise Hell). So, if I was ever going to talk about the villains in his movies, similar to how I talked about the bad guys in the movies of Chuck Norris, I knew I was going to have to talk about the bad guys in his theatrical releases from the late 1980’s/through the 1990’s, as they were generally his best movies and had the most memorable villains.
And so that’s what I’ve done here. I’ve compiled a list of the top 5 villains in Steven Seagal movies and I’ve limited myself to his major theatrical releases. Maybe, one day, I’ll get around to his direct-to-video villains (maybe).

And now, without any more what have you, the Dumpster Fire of the Week: The Top 5 Steven Seagal Movie Villains Edition.



Up first, the honorable mentions:


5-Richie Madano- Out for Justice: As portrayed by the great William Forsythe, Richie Madano is a ruthless, sleazy street thug who, while high on drugs and full of jealous rage, goes on a killing spree in his old neighborhood, killing Bobby Lupo, Gino Felino’s best friend (Felino is Seagal’s character in the movie), plus several other people, including a random woman that mouths off to him at a blocked intersection. Richie is just an awful, awful person. When Felino eventually catches up to Richie, it’s no contest Felino completely destroys him (who doesn’t love the corkscrew to the forehead?). Now, I’m sure Richie’s friends/apologists would try to get you to sympathize with him because Lupo banged Richie’s girlfriend and that is essentially what started Richie’s downward spiral, but that’s just bullshit. If he just wanted to kill Lupo, okay, but did Richie have to kill him in front of his wife and kids? And did Richie then have to kill all of those other people? Did Richie have to essentially terrorize the old neighborhood? No, he didn’t have to do any of that “extra” stuff. He could have just confronted Lupo and then moved on. I’m sure Felino still would have gone after him and destroyed him, but then it just would have been a skirmish among friends, and it would have been less of a big deal in the grand scheme of things. I know Richie was bombed out of his mind at the time, but he should have thought the whole thing through. He really should have.


4-Michael Jennings- On Deadly Ground: Michael Jennings, as played by the great Michael Caine, is likely exactly what people think of when they think of an oil company CEO; ruthless, immoral, and a piece of shit. Jennings only cares about making money, regardless of what it takes to make all of that money. Exploiting the environment? No problem. Fucking over the Indians? Hey, they signed off on the agreement that allows Jennings to exploit their land in an underhanded way. They should have known he was a piece of shit when they made the deal with him in the first place. And sending henchmen to kill a friend, like his buddy Forest Taft (Seagal’s character), when Taft figures out what the hell is really going on with the oil equipment that Jennings needs to complete his refinery project? He has real qualms about it. It’s all about the money, after all. Jennings can always get more friends, right?

What a piece of human garbage. Jennings could have been honest about the position his company was in and tried to cut another deal with the Indians, or figured out another, less horrendous, way to get what he wanted. Jennings couldn’t do that, though. He didn’t want to spend any more money or engage in the right due diligence. Jennings just wanted to make money and nothing else.

It’s too bad Taft didn’t set him on fire before he dropped him into the oil. I would have loved to have seen that.


3-William Strannix- Under Siege: Played by the incomparable Tommy Lee Jones, William Strannix, to put it mildly, is a seriously disgruntled former CIA employee. As Strannix alleges, the CIA sent people to kill him after all of the nasty shit he did for the agency and, by extension, the United States. To get back at them and make a potential fortune in the process, Strannix teams up with a piece of shit Navy Commander named Krill (Gary Busey), steals a Navy warship, kidnaps the ship’s crew, kills several of them, and then attempts to steal several nuclear missiles and nuke Hawaii. Insane? Yes. And he probably would have gotten away with it all if Seagal’s Casey Ryback hadn’t been on the warship, too. Ryback takes out just about all of Strannix’s henchmen in a matter of a few hours and then, at the end, in an epic knife fight, kills Strannix by jamming a thumb into his eye and then stabbing him on the top of the head. You almost feel sorry for Strannix for like five seconds, when he first tells his big “you tried to kill me, you sonofabitch” story, and then again for a few seconds at the end when he tells Ryback that he was tired of coming up with “last minute desperate solutions to impossible problems created by other fucking people.” I mean, we’ve all been there, right? We can relate to that idea. None of us ever thought about killing millions of people in “retaliation,” though. And that’s why Strannix had to die.

I mean, if he just went and killed CIA scumbag Tom Breaker would anyone have cared? Probably not. Killing the state of Hawaii? See what I mean here?


2-Travis Dane/Marcus Penn- Under Siege 2: Dark Territory: It’s hard for me to separate these two bad guys since they complement one another so well. You have the brains of the terrorist operation, Travis Dane (Eric Bogosian), the guy who faked his own death after creating a satellite weapon that creates earthquakes, and then you have Marcus Penn (Everett McGill), the mercenary muscle Dane needs to hijack a train that he can then use as a moving HQ to use the satellite weapon and hold the world ransom. One can’t really do anything without the other. And, just like with Strannix, their big plan would have likely succeeded if Casey fucking Ryback hadn’t been there to fuck them over. And, man, Ryback fucks them over big time. He takes out all of Penn’s “million dollar mercenaries,” destroys Penn in a kitchen brawl (“Nobody beats me in the kitchen”), and then shuts down Dane’s satellite after shooting him (Dane also gets his fingers cut off before falling off a helicopter ladder and into a giant fire).

Unlike Strannix, you don’t ever feel sorry for either Dane or Penn. Dane lost his mind when the CIA shut down his research, and Penn is a mercenary terrorist for hire, which is code for he’s human garbage. Watching Ryback dismantle them is so goddamn sweet.

It’s clear that terrorists have to stop trying to kill millions of people and being terrorists as long as there’s a chance that Casey Ryback might be in the area. Figure out something else to do with you life.




And the 411 Dumpster Fire of the Week: Steven Seagal Movie Villains Editiontop spot goes to:

1-Vernon Trent- Hard to Kill: Played by the always brilliant William Sadler, Vernon Trent is a mega corrupt politician that Seagal’s badass cop Mason Storm gets on tape being corrupt. Trent sends his henchmen to take out Storm and retrieve the incriminating tape, and Trent’s henchmen almost succeed. They kill his wife and put Storm in a coma (they think they killed him, but Storm’s partner manages to keep that fact under wraps). When Storm wakes up from his coma after seven years, Trent sends more men to kill him. They fail, and Storm eventually recuperates and goes after Trent’s entire criminal organization. And, yeah, Storm takes down the whole fucking thing.

Now, the thing with Trent is that, out of all of the villains Seagal’s characters have faced over several movies, Trent is the only one that’s actually gotten the drop on him and almost taken him out. I mean, think about it. Yes, Jennings almost took him down, but did Jennings really think Seagal’s character was dead? Trent actually thought Storm was dead, and until Storm’s “miraculous coma wake up” story appeared on the news, Storm was dead. Trent did what so many other villains wanted to do. Trent “killed” a Steven Seagal hero character.

And that will probably never happen again. In the big scheme of things, that’s pretty amazing. And think about this. Trent is one of the few villains Seagal’s character doesn’t kill in the end. That’s insane.

Man, was I the only one who wanted Storm to blow off Trent’s fucking head right after he jammed the shotgun into his mouth?


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