*Last Updated: 4/10/2022
Steven Seagal was one of my favorite action stars when I was a child. He starred in premiere action films from about 1987 to 1995. After that, Seagal made a career in direct to DVD films, direct to steaming films, and reality television. For the purposes of this list, I'm just going to cover that initial time period when his films made their way into the theater.
To me, Seagal's most distinctive action style is as the righteous bully. The majority of his sequences last just a couple minutes as Seagal dominates any opponent he faces. There's rarely any back and forth with the bad guys, it's primarily just brash and arrogant bullying while he disposes of them 1 by 1...in increasingly violent ways. I think that's the key to Seagal's appeal. He rarely is pressed to sweat in his fights and even more rarely loses them.
Unlike many of the other lists I've made, Seagal's catalogue of fights is lacking in quality. First, I refuse to watch all of his direct to DVD/Streaming films; there's just too many and I don't have that kind of time. Second, most of his fights follow a very similar pattern and are very short, so it's actually very difficult to compare and contrast them as distinctly different. Thus, I've chosen to just create a top five. If you'd like to understand the best of Seagal and what made him a popular action star, these five sequences are the best place to start.
Top Five Action Sequences
*Warning - Seagal sequences are a bit more violent and vulgar than mostLink)
3. “Clearing Out a Billiards Bar with a Pool Ball” -Out for Justice (Link) (Language Warning!)
2. “Chasing Drug Dealers into the Streets and Into a Jewelry Store” -Marked for Death (Part 1) (Part 2)
- Seagal stands out for how he combined a gritty shootout/cop element alongside his mastery of Aikido techniques into his action sequences. This sequence begins with a slow and visceral shootout before it segways into a typical fight. Rather than being pro-active in his fights, Seagal almost always hangs back and waits for his opponent to come rushing in towards him. Using his opponent's energy, he will either strike them or direct their momentum into a throw or hold. It's short and not always flashy, but it's unique and makes him feel like a human terminator.