Steven Seagal. Know him, fear him. Tolerate him. It's all good. Has it really been 20 years since Seagal first started busting people's bones with no hint of emotion on his face? The gifts that man has given us are... well, I'm sure he's given us some gifts, somewhere. In any case, Seagal had been riding high in 1994 when he was given carte blanche to make his own picture. And what a picture he chose to make. Really, you can't blame the movie studios for this folly, since Seagal had after all been in five hit movies in a row. Surely *he* knew what it took to make a blockbuster, right? Which brings us to "On Deadly Ground." In this environmentally friendly action film, we learn the truth about Arctic drilling as Seagal discovers a plot by an evil oil company (surprise surprise) that he works for to do no good in Alaska! The company, run by Michael Caine in one of his performances that oddly wasn't nominated for an Academy Award, is trying to quickly get a rig going before its 20-year-lease expires. Why it took them 20 years to get around to working on the rig is beyond me, but whatever. And now Native American activists are angrily demanding that they stop destroying the land, with the leader of the group played by a Chinese actress for some reason, who likes to throw oil on Caine and say stuff about it being the blood of her people and some such stuff. In any case, the deadline quickly approaches, so the company is trying to cut corners to get the work done. When Seagal discovers this, he's left for dead before being recovered by some kindly Eskimos. Seagal renounces his wicked past of working for evil, greedy monsters (ie, people who want to make money) and dedicates himself to protecting the environment or something like that. So the bad guys discover that Seagal still breathes. Do they: A. Admit that letting Michael Caine run an oil company was a bad idea, and divest their assets to Forest Oil. B. Allow the lease to lapse and set up camp somewhere else, admitting that procrastinating to get the well running for two decades followed by hurriedly putting together a poorly-designed rig at the last minute isn't a very good business plan. C. Hire mercenaries to slaughter the Eskimo village and blow stuff up real good. If you chose A or B, congratulations, you might be the owner of a company in the real world. If you chose C, you're the owner of a movie company. About this point, you might be thinking this is some update of "Billy Jack," and you're correct. Seagal knows what must be done. He leads an assault on the rig, blowing up mercenaries, corporate executives, lawyers and even Billy Bob Thornton with complete abandon. So now, after all this carnage, Seagal decides to whip out his mightiest weapon. In a move that undoubtedly inspired Al Gore, Seagal now subjects his audience to a five minute video lecture where he puts the final touches on his pabulum, urging viewers to stop using oil. Because oil is bad, and it's brought out of the ground by bad men, who only want to rape the environment, kill Native Americans and pollute the air. Some of the choice bits of dialogue from this scene (I swear, I could not make this up): "They have made it a crime to speak out for ourselves, and if we do so we’re called "conspiracy nuts" and we’re laughed at." I don't recall any law being passed that made bad-mouthing the oil industry illegal. If so, Seagal's movie never would have been made. "Big Business is primarily responsible for destroying the water we drink, the air we breathe and the food we eat. They have no care for the world they destroy, only for the money they make in the process. How many oil spills can we endure?" Too much baloney there to handle at once. Also, notice that movie stars always seem to dislike business for wanting to make money. You know, as opposed to Hollywood which offers movies to the public for free starring actors who donated their time without pay. And my personal favorite: "And finally, as long as there is profit to be made from polluting the Earth companies and individuals will continue to do what they want." Study this line, visualize it, tattoo it on your skin. Because really, this is everything you need to know about how Hollywood views the oil industry, right here. Treating energy with all the intelligence of a "Captain Planet" cartoon, they view oil companies are full of evil megalomaniacs who want to destroy the environment because, well, because it's just so darn fun! "On Deadly Ground" is vile propaganda of the highest order, and you may need to take a bath after watching it. It's certainly a very sadistic movie, even by Seagal standards, with various people being killed in awful ways. The three main bad guys meet their fates by being chopped up by a helicopter blade, burned alive in a car explosion and dropped into a pool of burning oil, respectively. Closing thoughts: Hell hath no fury live an environmentalist scorned. Also, oil companies keep armies or mercenaries on hand to kill turncoats, Indians and Chinese actresses trying to pass as Indians. –Stephen Payne, Editor, Oil and Gas Investor This Week; www.OilandGasInvestor.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
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