Steven Seagal’s long movie career stretches over several decades, in which he has played numerous iconic roles which showcased his bad-assery as well as his formidable martial arts skills.
Seagal’s characters all have in common a fierce determination to defy all odds and depend on their own wits and abilities to get out of the most hopeless situations alive while leaving a trail of wasted enemies and foiled plans.
In Steven Seagal’s latest movie outing he finds himself testing his luck and skills at the poker table, where a wrong bet could cost him his life. Directed by Justin Steele, Gutshot Straight is slated for release in the US next month, starring CSI’s George Eads, Annalynne McCord, Ted Levine, Vinnie Jones, Tia Carrere and, of course, Seagal himself.
The film banks on the popularity of the thriving poker scene, especially online, as more and more people are joining internet poker rooms to try their luck at this classic casino game of skill and luck. After 2013’s Runner Runner, which was much derided by both critics and the poker community, it remains to be seen how well Gutshot Straight will be received.
In honour of Steven Seagal and his latest action foray among the poker tables, we decided to take a look at five of the former Aikido instructor’s best movies…
Above the Law (1988)
In Above the Law, Seagal plays the role of Sicilian martial arts expert Nico Toscani based in Japan, who is recruited by the CIA to join in a special mission on the border of Vietnam and Cambodia. While stationed there, Nico witnesses the torturing methods of the sadistic Kurt Zagon with whom he clashes and gets sent back to Chicago by his superior.
Fifteen years later, Nico is a tough-as-nails detective at the Chicago Police Department investing a drug traffic ring lead by Tony Salvano which turns out to be running a weapons smuggling operation.
When the FBI steps in to take over the case, Nico goes against his orders by pursuing his investigation after Salvano’s gang plants a bomb in his neighbourhood’s church which kills his friend and parish priest Joseph Gennaro. Nico soon unveils a string of corruption that extends up to the highest echelons of the CIA, as well as a nefarious plan to kill an American Senator.
Hard to Kill (1990)
Hard to Kill sees Seagal as L.A. cop Mason Storm who is investigating Senator Vernon Trent’s high-profile re-election campaign. During one of undercover missions, Storm videotapes a secret meeting where Trent hires some gunmen to kill his opponent so that he can clinch the election.
While trying to report his findings to his partner, Mason’s cover is blown when he is overheard by corrupt cops who are on Trent’s payroll. The cops follow Mason to his home to silence him but only succeed to kill his wife. Mason’s son Sonny is missing while Mason himself is in a coma. Seven years later, Mason wakes up from his coma and after spending time to recovering he reunites with his son and sets off to seek revenge on Trent.
Marked for Death (1990)
In Marked for Death, Steven Seagal is Chicago DEA agent John Hatcher who has just returned from Colombia after a drug bust in which his partner was killed. Hatcher decides to call it a day after his partner’s death, but his plans go awry when he is involved in a shootout against a Jamaican drug baron called Screwface and his men.
Following this incident, John Hatcher comes out of retirement and teams up with two old friends to hunt down Screwface and bring down his drug empire.
Out for Justice (1991)
In this film, Steven Seagal takes on the role of Brooklyn cop Gino Felino who is hell bent on exacting revenge on drug dealer Richie Madano and his gang after they murder his friend and partner Bobby Lupo in broad daylight.
Gino is granted permission to hunt down Madano on his own and bring him to justice, a quest which brings him face to face with the violent criminal underbelly of the city as he tries to uncover the motive behind his friend’s murder and Madano’s whereabouts. The hunt culminates into an epic showdown as Madano’s employers are also hot on his heels and the he doesn’t seem to care if he lives or dies, making him a fierce and dangerous opponent to cross swords with.
Under Siege (1992)
In Under Siege, Steven Seagal is Casey Ryback, a Navy SEAL turned cook on the battleship Missouri which is about to be decommissioned. Ryback is constantly at loggerheads with the ship’s second-in-command, Krill, who is plotting to seize the ship’s nuclear warheads by creating a diversion during the Captain’s birthday party on board.
Ryback has to depend on his wits and fighting abilities to fend off Krill and his band of mercenaries led by William Stranix, a CIA operative gone bad. Along the way, Ryback bumps into Jordan, a former playmate who was brought in to entertain the men during the party and who becomes an unlikely ally in his attempt to single-handedly foil Krill’s and Stranix’s plans.
All of Steven Seagal’s movies promise breath taking, high-octane action scenes full of daring moves and spectacular fights. Gutshot Straight casts the tough guy in a situation where confrontations bleeds money and luck at the poker tables equalises the battleground between the good and the bad guys.
What’s your favourite Steven Seagal movie? Let us know below…