The Undying Appeal of Steven Seagal?

By  · Published on December 1st, 2016

A new video examines the perpetual popularity of the pony-tailed action star.

It can be argued that outside of Sylvester Stallone – who’s been having a bit of a personal renaissance since The Expendables – no 80s action star has persevered longer than Steven Seagal. Arnold left for politics and never successfully returned, Chuck Norris moved to Texas, and JCVD has had to parody himself to stay in the spotlight, but for Seagal, it’s business as usual. Maybe it’s been a little bit since you last checked, but a handful of Seagal titles still get released every year, and while none of them have been released anywhere near an actual movie theater, there are still enough Seagal-heads out there to make the Buddhist, blues-playing, bad-guy-kicking actor a viable if not entirely bankable star.

But why? Even in his heyday, Seagal was never the most likable hero on the silver screen. His personality is flat, his fight sequences are one-note, he’s got the charm of a sweat sock, he doesn’t have real franchise (two Under Siege flicks does not a franchise make) or even a catch phrase, and don’t get me started on the hair. But we love him, we always have, that’s how he became a star instead of, I don’t know, Michael Dudikoff. But again, why? And more confounding, why is he still a star (albeit knocked a couple letters down to the D-list)? Seagal’s brand of action (not to mention action politics) is so passé at this point it’s parody (see The Expendables) yet each time I pass a Redbox there’s another new Seagal flick out for rent.

The curious case of Steven Seagal’s unwavering popularity is the subject of the following essay from YouTuber Rossatron entitled “What Was The Appeal of Steven Seagal?” and I’m calling it right now: this is the best video of the month. Rossatron starts with Seagal’s early, A-list success and studies how that svelte star transitioned into the bloated, stiff, hack check-casher who still somehow packs them in (to living rooms if not theaters). I might have played this post for laughs, but Rossatron’s argument is deadly serious and he ends up making a convincing case for Seagal’s inexplicable stardom as well as his even further inexplicable perseverance. Carve out 10 minutes for this one, it’s worth every second.

Source: The Playlist

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