Taped For Justice: Vern Announces The Winners Of The SEAGALOGY Youtube Contest!
Published at: July 7, 2008, 1:01 p.m. CST by quint
About a month and a half ago I announced the Seagalogy Youtube contest put together by Titan Books. To promote my skull-shattering new book SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASSKICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL they wanted people to submit short videos "based on the principles of Seagalogy, the study of the ass-kicking films of Steven Seagal."
I know there was alot of whining in the talkback that the contest should be done by somebody else, to promote some other thing, with a different thing that you do, and different prizes to win. Fortunately, there were more than enough standup individuals who did enter the actual existing contest and I was very impressed by the high quality of their work. I honestly wish I could give everybody a prize, but you know the rules. One first prize and five runners up. So here I will present the winners and I hope you'll watch their videos.
Let's start with the runners up:
GLOBAL WARMING WILL KICK YOUR ASS
by Patrick Newman/badmojo232
This one gets originality points for the environmental PSA format. My favorite joke is when he's encouraging you to ride a bicycle instead of using a car and then it shows him catching a purse-snatcher while he bikes. Also that robe at the beginning is pretty Seagal.
Seagalogy points: environment, guitar, robe, good black suit jacket/blue jeans combo at the end.
THE GRADUATING CLASS OF SEAGAL
Okay, to be honest, I almost cut this one. I think it takes too long to get to Seagal (like Black Dawn and Mercenary For Justice), and it's a little sarcastic. Most of what I like about it is just kind of random humor and doesn't really have to do with Seagal (his Iron Man jet boots, fighting a dinosaur, the line "Liberty and justice... Seagal!"). And the one that originally got it cut was making fun of Seagal's alleged jowls (not cool). But I don't know, the guy is creative and I know he spent the entire month animating this thing, which I really respect. I think he deserves a free book for that. And he does have that cool animated version of an Out For Justice fight scene. So you just made it, bud.
Seagalogy points for: Out For Justice animated fight scene, ponytail analysis, zen garden, Bobby Lupo line.
SUBURBAN JUSTICE by Andy Sexton/MediaKerProductions
This is a pretty good parody and it gets points for referencing Urban Justice with its title. These guys seem to be pretty young and enthusiastic, they have some funny jokes and a good living room fight scene (the girl screaming and running right into his fist makes me laugh). The highlight to me is definitely this yuppie villain with his turtleneck and suit jacket - he's the biggest sign that these guys know their '80s and '90s action movies. His "we could be partners" speech is arguably the best villain moment of the entries.
Seagalogy points: Title reference to Urban Justice, "What the hell was that? Alex, go check it out!" (villains are always pulling that shit on their employees), "Don't you get it though? We could be partners... I'm a business man... I'm a patriot...",
Okay, this one is a little heavy on Chuck Norris references and Bruce Lee imitations. And it takes the title of my book and treats it like Dianetics. But it's pretty funny and it has specific references to some of the more important Seagal movies (Urban Justice, On Deadly Ground) and to the somewhat neglected topic of the way Seagal turns unlikely inanimate objects into deadly weapons. What really won me over was the narrator using one of the biggest headscratcher lines from On Deadly Ground and causing the guy on screen to say "Huh?"
Seagalogy points for: pool cue, nutbuster (Urban Justice), handslap game, improvised weapons (especially like choosing the carrot over the knife), R. Lee Ermey "fistful of pesos" line from On Deadly Ground, "that disturbs me" speech
note: this one seems to be submitted just after the deadline - they were having trouble uploading but contacted Titan Books as specified in the rules. So everything is cool.
It was hard to narrow this down to five runners up, but especially hard was deciding who got the top prize. I knew it was between this two-parter here:
IMPOSSIBLE TO KILL
by Alrik Bursell
and this one:
(they didn't get credits finished in time, so I'm not sure what the director's actual name is)
I hate having to choose one because I love both of these, and they're both way better and more elaborate than I expected from this contest. Impossible To Kill is a great Hard To Kill homage, with the best Seagal lookalike of all the entries. According to the credits this Seagal is also the director, Alrik Bursell - good to see he is dedicated to both filmmaking and imitating Seagal's moves.
This one impressed me so much with the fight scenes, squibs, the beautiful tribute to Hard To Kill's rehabilitation/training montage (although I wish they included an eagle caw at the end), the villain closing his eyes in slow motion as he shoots, the flashback at the end. This also has the best soundtrack of any of the entries - guitar and keyboard very similar to what David Michael Frank did for Above the Law and Hard to Kill.
Killing Time leans a little more in the cartoony/jokey direction, but with a good variety of action and more obscure references. I gotta say this is the second best Seagal imitator, resembling the lanky Seagal of Above the Law. He does a great job of the Seagal walk and posture and imitating the moves.
In one scene he does a gratuitous somersault. I laughed but I thought well, that's more of a generic action movie joke and not really Seagal, unless they are referring to that one part in Belly of the Beast. And then sure enough they were, because the next scene has a gag about Seagal's crazy floor-slide in that movie as well as the part where, while breaking into a house to steal something he stops to take bottled water from the fridge. (In this one he takes a beer.)
Both of these entries are great and have some of the same strengths. They both pay tribute to Golden Era Seagal's love of taking on multiple opponents and cracking their bones. In fact, both use a little-studied Seagal motif - mutilating an opponent's body part in such a way that the opponent then yells out something about said body part. In Impossible To Kill they've got "My arm!" and "You fuckin' broke my nose!" In Killing Time they have "Oh my God, my leg!"
Killing Time Seagalogy points: Kicking baby (good "just how evil is he?" moment), good Seagal walk and posture, good Seagal-like moves against multiple opponents, ex-military/ex-CIA, somersault/slide/refrigerator homage to Belly of the Beast, "Oh my God, my leg!", title cards in homage to Out For Justice
Impossible to Kill Seagalogy points: best Seagal lookalike, authentic guitar/keyboard score, most Seagal-like moves, "my arm"/"you fuckin broke my nose", awesome HARD TO KILL rehabilitation montage homage, knife fight, flashback at end
God damn it's hard to decide. I had to look at the judging criteria they included in the rules:
"Humour in video-25%"
Doesn't help much. Killing Time is a little funnier, but both rate highly in that category.
"Skill level of homage-25%"
Both get the highest possible rating for skill level, they use better filmatism than a contest like this deserves. Impossible To Kill is a very heartfelt homage to one of Seagal's best, Hard To Kill. Killing Time gets a slight edge for paying tribute to multiple movies and to a more obscure and underrated one (Belly of the Beast).
"Overall entertainment in video-50%"
So this is the deciding factor I guess. Both are highly entertaining and arguably better moviemaking than Seagal's Submerged or Ticker. I'm very proud of these guys. It was a toss-up, but I decided to go with Killing Time. There are so many funny little jokes but not at the expense of seeming almost like a real action movie. Lots of good guns, a mohawked sniper, and most of all a monster truck. Maybe they faked me out, but I get the impression these crazy fuckers actually crushed an old pickup truck for this contest. That is not somebody you want on the streets, that is somebody you want indoors playing Playstation 3. So with all due respect to the excellent Impossible To Kill, I gave first prize to Killing Time.
So congratulations to the Killing Team team, and my apologies to the makers of Impossible To Kill for not having an adequate prize for you guys. I looked into cutting the Playstation in half but I was told this might damage it (I don't know electronics too good). Somebody please give both of these guys a bunch of money to make low budget action movies. I'm positive they could make something more entertaining than most of the DTV shit I watch.
UPDATE: Killing Time's director and star is named Jorg Dejorg. He says he really did crush a truck and that he broke his hand in the process. Apparently the hand is puffy in other parts of the video so I consider this an homage to Seagal's leg injury in Exit Wounds.
My apologies to everybody else too. I really enjoyed watching all of them. Before I go I want to give special acknowledgment for two more that came very close to making it. This one:
WIND TUNNEL - A TRIBUTE TO STEVEN SEAGAL
by Zeke Martinez
I really tried to fit this one in there, sorry I couldn't. Somebody wrote a comment saying it "Kind of seemed like it took itself too seriously," but to be honest that's what I liked about it. There are some jokes in there but I get the feeling Zeke is serious about this being "a tribute to Steven Seagal" and that's in line with what I tried to do with the book. That opening scene is edited kind of slow but I love that it just seems like bad student film acting, and not "trying to be funny" acting. Even the ex-CIA line is delivered like she doesn't think it's supposed to be funny. And I appreciate that. Also, the villain's speech is a close rival to the one in Suburban Justice.
Seagalogy points: silencer made out of a bottle (reference to On Deadly Ground), "Just because you're ex-CIA, ex-Navy Seals, ex-special ops doesn't mean you have to go fight drug dealers." Sharon Stone in Above the Law type wife, fingerwaving, one of the best villain speeches of the bunch ("You're an idealist, Gino... the business of selling smack to school children is gonna carry on whether I'm a part of it or not...")
SEAGAL: STRONG AND FORCEFUL
by Dustin Puehler
This was an early entry that I really thought was gonna win because it's simple and sincere. It's just this guy's grandma talking about Seagal movies. She doesn't give them the same obsessive analysis that I do but obviously gets alot of joy out of them and it looks like she owns about 15 of them. She has alot of the same favorites as me, picking Out For Justice as the one she'd recommend to people new to Seagal, and Seagal/DMX as a better pair than Seagal/Ja Rule.
It's painful not to give a prize to this one, but then it was probaly painful for those other guys to roll around in the grass and explode firecrackers on their chests, so it was a tough one. I followed the instructions laid out in the rules which had humor as 25% of the criteria, but this one was very sweet so I wanted to give an honorable mention.
And besides, if you've seen Seagal's movies you understand that honor is more important than any material object, so you are actually the true winner of this contest.
Thanks again everybody, I hope you had fun making them. For those of you who did not win a copy of my book please consider picking it up. Variety says I "plunge into the Seagal mythology much like Joseph Campbell dives into the work of James Joyce," which is arguably a compliment. If not, fuck those guys. All the other reviews are actually very positive, but I will not quote them here because I'm shy.