Saturday, January 09, 2010
In the depths of night a strange vision occurs. Up flashes a hospital interior, lit neon white. A low electric hum is heard. Injured bodies lie propped against the walls, warbling a diminished sound. Medical instruments are scattered unused on tabletops. A few white coats rush around, taking aimless flight through the chaos. Vomit is splashed upon the floor. A hideous stench can be smelt.A gong sounds from afar. A breeze hits the staid air. Anticipation shows on the faces of patients. Across the sterile concourse strides a man robed in black, a ponytail flicking in the slipstream. He reaches the first patient. His hand glides over the aching muscles, screams stifled by amazement, a diagnosis taking rapid form. Dulcet words leave his mouth. An exchange of mutual respect and up stands the man, cured of all his ailments. Forty seconds of rapturous applause. No seen source, just a spontaneous burst of sonic celebration, the sort that only one man can ignite.This purveyor of medical miracles – a medicine man powered solely by energy expelled from Buddha’s bell end – is Steven Seagal. He harangues deadbeat doctors, smacks cancer out of an old woman and heals a gunshot wound. He mends broken limbs, donates sperm to an infertile couple and counsels a bereaved child. Hands act as mighty palliative machines, driving out disease and correcting bodily disorder. Words too are for him instruments of medical efficacy – watch as he persuades fungi to leave its host anus. Seagal is Hippocrates reincarnated as a badass. Not only does he soothe ills, but he kicks a man free of tuberculosis. Seagal lives to heal and does so unhindered by lack of qualifications, actual medical training, etc. A true medicine man needs none of these things, for they are the empty nonsense of egotists.Such is essentially the plot of the latest Steven Seagal: Lawman. Getting somewhat tired of crushing criminals, Seagal decides to explore his medical skills. Cue an opening sequence where Seagal slowly removes his sheriff’s jacket, revealing underneath a glistening doctor’s smock. But this switching of professions isn’t just due to the usual ennui of life on the job. No, as always there’s a pretext. This week one of his colleagues has been experiencing a pain in his knee. A cop’s beat is hazardous, it often consists of sudden chases, unpredictable breakneck sprints through backyards, difficult leaps over fences. All of which are hard to achieve if one has a dodgy knee. Luckily, Seagal the medicine man is here with a solution.“A lot of people don’t realise that Steven knows a lot about Asian medicine,” says the colleague. Yes, it’s true. I tried to tell somebody down at the bus stop five minutes ago but they didn’t believe me. They chose to hide behind a veil of scepticism and are foolish for it. Incredulity has no place when it comes to Seagal. But we know the truth: in the sixties Seagal travelled to Asia to study the martial arts, Buddhism, oriental medicine and herbology, and has been studying and practising ever since. This is obviously true.Seagal escorts his pal to the Chinese medicine shop, where they discuss alternative medicine and the proprietor suggests acupuncture for the knee problem. Naturally this arouses fear in the inexperienced mind of Seagal’s colleague. So Seagal steps forward, needles in hand, ready for the big finale. He slaps twenty needles into the faulty knee, takes a bow, and strides out of the shop doing a victory dance.