Sunday, September 24, 2006

Steven Seagal Turns Orange

So there I was, sitting mid-row in screen number one of the Odeon up the road, slight agitations accentuated by the streaming graphics of behemoth Pepsi cups and rampaging popcorn containers strafing all over the widescreen, the faint memories of bygone minutes when I had inadvertently walked into the screening of Clerks 2 not at my allotted time of 19:00, but one hour prematurely at 18:00. How that ever foul British Summer Time was to smite me, showing me the twenty worst minutes of sappy drivel the film had to offer, and then afflicting me a monotonous wait in the foyer as the staff swept away the guffaws of Kevin Smith fanboys from the aisles. Never leave the house without a book, that is the lesson I have taken from the incident; and I thought I was doing so well, having spent much of yesterday’s commute devouring Agitator: The Cinema of Takeshi Miike.

But anyway, a serving of trailers for what looks set to be a nauseating season of filmic dreck later, and I was met with a mighty metaphorical whack in the face, an audio-visual tomahawk to the scrag. The strips of cine dirge passed by leaving an advertisement for phone network Orange on the screen. Any potential enticement of my senses at this moment had been nullified by a previous Orange ad, one that presented little worth. However, this second commercial attracted not only fleeting attention, but mirth, hilarity and a superabundance of serenity.

The piece begins by having a generic corporate executive out on the golf greens, eyeing up oversized confectionary with a big stick, when suddenly Steven Seagal arrives with a movie pitch about a romantic comedy involving a single guy who falls for his daughter’s schoolteacher. The exec knocks down this idea, clinging too readily and stubbornly to the accepted notion of Seagal as Hollywood action man. The minute-long advert then proceeds with Seagal pursuing the suit, pleading his scenario across a battlefield of bunkers and tartan trousers.

But hang on a second, where’s the context? Well, seems that in this skewed reality Orange are in the business of film funding, alongside all the various preoccupations with textual messages and wireless application protocols and so on that we know them for. Thus we have creative masterminds like Steven Seagal inundating the company with proposals for what are sure to be cinematic masterpieces.

It’s a riveting experience, exhilarating down to the second. Seeing Seagal pilot a golf-cart, while at the same time he expatiates on his narrative, batting off suggestions that the two romantic leads would communicate with each other via something as trivial as text message, brings a reservoir of pearlescent flows to my eyes. Witnessing Seagal recreate the highlight of Nico in a scene where he commandeers the roof of the exec’s golf cart, especially on the big screen, will reverberate through my dreamscapes long into the twilight.

Refreshing and surprising this casting decision is. Let’s face it, Seagal does not garner such a reaction nowadays as he may have back a decade ago. Mentions of Belly Of The Beast can be expected to be met with chagrins and mystification, whereas an underhand reminder of, say, Hard To Kill can be enough to spark someone into an intense recollection of the intricacies of the beardedness that Seagal burrowed his way into in that particular flick.

Due to my lack of television viewing, I cannot say if this phenomenon is exclusively an object of the cinema. I would assume that it is, Orange seem to have some nationwide cinema promotions on the go at present, plus a quick correspondence to an associate in the north informs me that he too had seen this very majesty in a movie theatre.

What does this mean for Seagal? Is he to tread the beaten highway of kitsch appeal, the one walked recently by William Shatner and David Hasselhoff? Will we get advertisements for Head & Shoulders where Seagal caricatures the beatific opening sequence to Out For Justice, complete with smashed windscreen freeze frame, perhaps this time with a pause as Seagal nourishes his ponytail with the lathered goodness of lemon extract and the “essence of the rainforest”? Hell, he already has the music angle tied up!

Only time will fill in the blanks. Yet, if the possibilities do indeed evolve into something tangible, do remember I, the one who took the effort to speak so hyperbolic about the mores of Out For Justice and Submerged in the past.

And here, by the magic of Youtube, is the commercial in question:


Anonymous Duke De Mondo said...

HA HA! how i envy you for having seen this on le screen de big. i think my favourite moment may have been Segal turning to the laddio in the helicopter. that turn was worthy of its own essay. i do hope we see such wonders here on Mugwump in the near future...

12:15 am  

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