Views & Reviews From Writer Steve Miller
Formerly Reviews and Stuff at Rotten Tomatoes, 2005 - 2009.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

'FBI ruined my career,' says Steven Seagal

I can't tell if it's ego or something else that's to blame for the extreme state of denial that's causing Steven Seagal to blame the FBI for his flagging career instead of string of bad, BAD choices he's made.

First, I'll give you the article from Reuters, where Seagal mounts a rather sad attempt to blame someone else for the state of this acting career. (It's so pathetic that it's almost on the scale of John Edwards' claim that "They're trying to shut me up.")

Afterwards, I'll give you a little film historical context on Seagal's career and the REAL reason why it's swirling down the metaphorical toilet.

Steven Seagal blames FBI for failing film career
Fri Aug 17, 2007 3:10PM EDT

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Steven Seagal, whose action movies once were major box-office attractions, believes false allegations by FBI agents ruined his career, the Los Angeles Times reported on Friday.

The comments in the Times are the first Seagal has made publicly about an investigation begun some five years ago by the FBI into accusations he intimidated a reporter and had ties to organized crime.

The Times said Seagal is demanding an apology from the FBI. A spokesman for the actor was not immediately available on Friday.

"False FBI accusations fueled thousands of articles saying that I terrorize journalists and associate with the Mafia," Seagal told the newspaper. "These kinds of inflammatory allegations scare studio heads and independent producers -- and kill careers."

Seagal, 56, was once a major star of action movies such as 1992's "Under Siege," which earned $156 million at worldwide box offices, but now he makes straight-to-DVD releases such as "Flight of Fury and "Attack Force."

The FBI investigation stemmed from Seagal's ties to former private detective Anthony Pellicano, who once was employed by many Hollywood stars, directors and producers, but is now in federal prison awaiting trial on wire-tapping and other charges.

The Pellicano investigation dates to 2002 when a free-lance reporter for the Los Angeles Times found a dead fish, a red rose and a note saying "Stop!" on her car. At the time, the reporter was researching Seagal and a former business partner.

Seagal told the Times that he and Pellicano had not been on speaking terms since the 1990s and the Times' story said his lawyers told FBI agents that by 2002, Seagal and Pellicano had become rivals in a bitter legal dispute.

The actor said in October 2004, an FBI official told him that federal agents knew he had nothing to do with the Pellicano investigation. Still, Seagal claims they have not publicly exonerated him.

An FBI spokeswoman declined to comment "because of the ongoing nature of the investigation" and referred calls to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney was not immediately available to comment.

I haven't been following any of the investigations mentinoned in the article. I have, however, been watching Seagal movies for many years and his career problems started well before 2002.

I've reviewed a number of Seagal's films for "Reviews and Stuff", and I'll be syndicating them here over the next couple of weeks. If you check them out, you'll see that the films Seagal headlined started getting bad in the mid-1990s.

It's true that "Half-Past Dead" and "The Foreigner" date from around the time when the FBI investigation supposedly ruined Seagal's career. I think, however, that the real cause for his professional woes is a lot closer to home than Seagal wants to admit. One can only associate one's name with consistently crappy movies for so long before there's no escaping the career consequences.

Seagal has the further problem that he needed to get away from the tough-guy, untouchable action star roles years ago. "Black Dawn" demonstrated that he can't even do his own fight scenes anymore. Somehow, I don't think he can blame the FBI for him getting old.

(And I'm not bashing Steven Seagal here. It pained me to see what he has been reduced to, because I really liked his early movies.)

You can read some of my reviews of Seagal films at Watching the Detectives by clicking here.

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