Guilty Pleasures – The Glimmer Man

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It’s kind of hard to imagine Steven Seagal being a badass these days. Sure, he may be a deputy cop as well, with law vision that can spot a perp directly in front of him, but his legend is fading, and doing so fast.

Despite several attempts at a Hollywood comeback, the man is best kept in reserve for light parodies (COCK-PUNCHER!), but back in the mid-nineties, his first atempt at a comeback was something pretty damn special.

Jack Cole is a soft spoken, mystical, new age New York cop with a checkered past. He is transferred to Los Angeles to help Los Angeles cop Jim Campbell solve a series of brutal murders in which the victims are crucified. The murders that have happened since Jack arrived in Los Angeles just don’t sit right with him.

When the killer, known as the “Family Man”, kills Ellen DunLeavy, who happens to be Jack’s ex wife and the mother of his two kids, and Ellen’s husband Andrew DunLeavy, it becomes personal – especially when Jack’s prints are found on Ellen’s body. Jack meets with his military mentor Smith, not knowing that Smith is in cahoots with local crime boss Frank Deverell.

The one thing that I loved about this film, is that as impractically impossible as it is to imagine Seagal being any specific kind of nationality, it just works. After all, could you picture Arnold Schwarzenegger in this film, portraying a new age homeopathic cop with fists of steel?

It’s a cheesy role, filled with stereotypes and bad acting, but that’s what I love about Seagal movies. He knows that he happens to not be magnificently talented as an actor, but he doesn’t give a flying fist attack about it, a move that is endearing.

And for your routine Seagal action flick, there’s quite a few attempts at crossing the action with some different genres, from comedy to drama, and while they aren’t all successful, they are refreshing.

Plus, there are quite a few talented actors present here, from Brian “Bourne again” Cox as a shadowy figure in cahoots with Bob “Shawshank” Gunton, through to Keenen Ivory Wayans who keeps the clichéd laughs rolling, as well as provides the perfect vehicle for advertising for powdered deer antler.

But you know what? I loved the chemistry between Seagal and Wayans. It worked, it was a case of opposites attracting and it made the film that much better. To this day, that scene where Wayans asks Seagal if he has ever seen Casablanca, still remains as one of my all time favourite moments in  movie history.

But more importantly, this film delivers on the action. Seagal, as usual, has handers quicker than a crooked poker player, and The Glimmer Man has some fantastic fight scenes, such as the one where a credit card is put to gory use, or when a bodyguard who has yet to realise that he is outmatched, provokes the biblical wrath of Seagal.

And I’ll be honest here, that final fight between Seagal and John Jackson, still gives me goosebumps when that one line is uttered (NSFW ultra-violence follows):

I don’t ask for much from an action film, save to be entertained. And The Glimmer Man did that with a gung-ho attitude that I found endearing at the end of the day.

Last Updated: August 8, 2012

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia’s M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

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