Steven Seagal’s Five Best/Worst Straight to Video Movies

You may have picked this up already. The only things that I love more than really good movies are really bad movies. It’s important, though, that they’re made with the intention of being good. The stuff on SyFy doesn’t count. Neither do Troma films. The best bad movies are just like the best good movies. They’re made with hard work and determination and an artistic vision – none of which works out. No one, and I mean no one, stars in more brilliantly bad movies than Steven Seagal. Here are some of his best, which just happen to be some of his worst.

I never used to care for Seagal as an action star, but somewhere around 2003 I changed my tune. The man is amazing. He seems to care about every role he takes, and manages to squeeze some sort of message into every film. He’s the king of bad movies.

The problem, of course, is that he’s going to be in ‘Machete’ and a new television show called ‘Southern Justice.’ That means mainstream exposure, possible success, and an end to the amazing and bizarre films of the last seven years.

To help you enjoy Steven Seagal as much as I have, I’ve compiled a list of the films that made the man my Number One choice for straight-to-video releases, as well as the reasons that they’re absolutely essential watches.

5.) Against the Dark

It’s Steven Seagal in his first horror film ever, and boy is it awful. It’s kind of a zombie movie, except the baddies are vampires instead of zombies. Seagal stars as a former military man named Tao, and Keith David has a small part in it too.

If there’s one reason to watch ‘Against the Dark,’ it’s to see Steven Seagal’s greatest trick – that of blending into the shadows. Now that he’s no longer a slim man, Seagal likes to be covered in shadows. He’s always in the dark. In ‘Against the Dark,’ he’s half hidden by darkness for most of the movie.

4.) Flight of Fury

Here’s the deal: Seagal plays John Sands, an Air Force pilot who’s been wrongfully imprisoned. He gets sprung in order to help steal back an experimental stealth bomber that’s been stolen. It gets confusing from there, and plot just seems to keep getting added without actually stopping to matter at all.

Seagal’s acting is bad and there are plenty of cringeworthy lines, but nothing beats the action scenes. Even while it’s midnight in Afghanistan, the dogfights happen in mid-day over snowy mountains and lush green fields. George Lucas based the space combat in ‘Star Wars’ on stock footage, but the fights in ‘Flight of Fury’ cut out the middle man.

3.) Kill Switch

Seagal plays Jacob King, a cop who somehow manages to brutalize every criminal he encounters without getting into any legal trouble. There’s a serial killer on the loose and King is out to catch him. He does this by beating the crap out of a bunch of people and having weird flashbacks.

‘Kill Switch’ is worth it for the story, if nothing else. Here’s an idea for enjoying the movie a little more: Get some friends together, watch the film, and afterwards try to explain it. Drinking helps. Seagal has flashbacks to his brother’s murder, he’s got an apparent girlfriend that he seems to hate, and it’s honestly a bit of a mystery as to why we’re rooting for him.

2.) Out of Reach

‘Out of Reach’ is one of the true greats. It’s about Seagal being awesome in another country, like all great Seagal films. In ‘Out of Reach,’ he proves that he’s better than Poland’s entire crime fighting force by single handedly busting up a human trafficking network.

There’s so much great about this film. The fight scenes were clearly shot with doubles, and voiceovers are provided by someone doing a Seagal impression. But the single best moment in the film is when Seagal finds a kid sampling some vodka. He queries, “You think this is funny? Want to get drunk?” That’s the extent of his anti-drinking speech. From there, it’s business as usual.

1.) Into the Sun

If you’re only going to watch one Steven Seagal movie in your entire life, make it this one. It just doesn’t get better than ‘Into the Sun.’ It’s by far the most embarrassing of Seagal’s offerings, and there’s one simple reason why. It’s all him.

‘Into the Sun’ stars Steven Seagal, was written by Seagal and even features music by Seagal. It shows, too. This is another one of those movies that proves that Steven Seagal is better than another race. This time it’s the Japanese. As Travis Hunter (Why one would hunt a Travis, I have no idea), Seagal goes around talking to people for an hour and then finally just kills everyone. Or something.

It should also be noted that the director of this awful flick is Christopher Morrison, also known as “Mink.” If the name sounds familiar, that’s because he’s one of the guys rumored to be making the new ‘Mortal Kombat’ movie that the internet’s been so excited about. I can’t wait.


  1. Dick Ward

    I should give an honorable mention to ‘Submerged’ as well, due to Seagal’s awful Creole accent and propensity to call people “alligator.”

    • DT

      “Submerged” is also great because as the title and DVD cover suggest, this movie has something to do with a submarine.
      “Hey, cool!” You might be thinking. “Maybe this is like Under Siege, but on a sub.” Haha, you couldn’t be more wrong! I think halfway through the movie he escapes some bad guys by using a submarine, then you never hear about it again.

      That aside, I forget which Seagal flick features the most powerful kick ever delivered. At the end of the movie, he actually kicks a guy so hard it sends him (airborne) down a hallway, crashing through a door, through the following room, breaking through a window, and falling down into the center of a science lab. We had to watch it several times just to appreciate the physics-defying majesty.

  2. Alex

    Dick, I’m actually rather impressed that you’ve seen enough Steven Seagal straight-to-DVD movies to be able to select the 5 best/worst. Kudos! Now all we need is a match-up between Steven Seagal and Chuck Norris, but the whole universe might implode because of the mass of their combined awesomeness.

  3. Sean Brady

    I was expecting to see Attack Force at number one and was disappointed it wasn’t there as it’s easily the worst film he’s made. Into The Sun is nowhere near as bad. Apart from that ommission, great article.

    • I have to admit, the dubbed voice throughout much of the film was fun, but I just didn’t find Attack Force to be as enjoyable. It’s bad, but not in a good way, if that makes any sense at all 🙂

  4. lordbowler

    I started to watch Steven Seagal’s movie catalog (in chronological order) a few months back when I picked up many from Hollywood Video. I have the last 8 to view until Machete.

    After watching these direct to video releases I long for to re-watch the first six films that were so good (Hard to Kill, Marked For Death, Under Siege).

    I will say that Into the Sun was a good direct-to-video film. The fights were pretty good and fast unlike some previous ones where you could tell it was stunt-doubles and this film featured is daughter in a lead role.

    I’ve not seen Against the Dark yet, but it is one of the final ones left for me to view.

  5. Where is Driven to Kill? Just about half way through that one and its fantastic so far, Seagal playing a Russian former mobster who’s ex-wife is killed and his daughter barely lived, his son-in-law to be is the son of his Russian nemesis and much ass kicking and killing ensues, hilarious accent and dialog from Seagal…this has win all over it!

    • Dick Ward

      You’re not wrong at all! ‘Driven to Kill’ was bumped off of the list by ‘Against the Dark.’ I just couldn’t ignore the glory of that awful vampire flick.

      Any movie where Seagal attempts an accent is fantastic, and ‘Driven’ was one of his most entertaining and indecipherable 🙂