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i am a steven seagal fan .
i only say this now because " mufti splenetik " isn't my real name and because i probably need to explain why i went into this film expecting great things .
any proud seagal fan worth his beans will tell you that the seagal formula is something you can depend on .
seagal films can always be counted on for minimal dialogue , heaps of expendable baddies with extemely crunchable bones ( which we'll always hear when seagal does his limb-twisting thing ) , rarely a female co-lead in sight ( unless it's a real-life model-wife who hasn't worked since weird science ) and , usually the worst possible titles you can imagine .
not to mention very straightforward plots , generally all-round bad dialogue and mr implacable leather-face himself in that same black outfit he's been in since nico doing his " my hands are sharp , nimble knives " thing , seagal the stoic , sir petrified ponytail , duke of dull .
in the glimmer man , seagal breaks out of this formula : he gets a * sidekick * , attempts to banter , and puts on a new vest .
he's also put on quite a lot of weight .
small potatoes , you may say , a man should be able to accessorize and banter if he wants to , but damnit , if it ain't broke , why fix it ?
( more on this disappointed person's dashed expectations later ) .
as jack cole , seagal is a homicide detective with a questionable past .
while he and his partner ( played by keenen ivory wayans ) are investigating a series of ritual killings , cole himself becomes a suspect , especially when a background check run by campbell reveals practically nothing on cole .
it turns out that cole is a former trained government assassin ( you just can't trust these homicide detectives ) , someone whom victims used to catch just a glimpse of in the jungle before he pounced on them , and hence , well , you know , that " glimmer man " thing .
an increasingly fishy homicide investigation in the present soon leads to the gradual uncovering of a larger , more threatening conspiracy that involves a crooked businessman ( bob gunton ) , cole's former cia boss ( brian cox ) and deals involving chemical weapons .
the glimmer man plot is pretty standard stuff , drawing ( as with his other films ) elements from the hotter films of the year ( eg , se7en ) .
it's the other changes that disappoint .
for example , although there's a fair amount of violence in this movie , there's also the disastrous pairing of seagal with keenen ivory wayans , probably the best known of the wayans tribe ( how many are there , exactly ? ) from television's " in living colour . "
wayans plays whiney straightman to seagal's bead-adorned and brocade-draped cole , keeping up his " are you crazy " part of the dialogue with wasted zest .
as campbell , wayans confines himself to bemoaning his new partner's eccentric habits , but the chemistry between the two is minimal , and seagal's wooden comebacks make for painful watching .
a cook in under seige 2 , seagal is now a buddhist who speaks chinese and wears prayer beads and intricate silk jackets over his normal black ensemble .
he chants , refuses to fight unless truly provoked and introduces campbell to powdered deer penis to cure his allergies .
again , a benign ( if trite ) plot device except for the fact that these new character traits require seagal to speak more than usual .
heck , he has to deliver punchlines and carry a steady conversation with someone other than himself for a large part of the film .
is that a lot to ask of the seague ?
too much .
seagal's best characteristic used to be that he knew his purpose in this already complicated world of movies : to crunchily snap off bad guy appendages , and to do it silently , and alone .
not for seagal , the snappy one-liners of arnold and stallone , nor the attempts to show that he can act , much less think .
no kindergarten cop , no oscar , just simple , unadulterated deathblows .
that's really how it must have started : like-minded fans who knew what they wanted streamed in to watch the seague do his thing , knowing that never in the seagal universe would they ever have to see him do anything else .
we trusted him .
we got to know him .
now , betrayal .
i don't know if i can watch another seagal movie without that little niggling doubt that he's going to try to be funny again .
i'll try , but it won't be easy .
if you haven't watched the glimmer man yet , you might want to wait for the video to come out .
it's easier to just fast forward the dialogue parts and linger on the action sequences .
after all , if we can't depend on our fantasies , what can we depend on ?
the flying inkpot rating system : * wait for the tv2 broadcast .
* * a little creaky , but still better than staying at home with gotcha !
* * * pretty good , bring a friend .
* * * * amazing , potent stuff .
* * * * * perfection .
see it twice .
mufti spelenetik is still a steven seagal fan .
everybody makes mistakes once in awhile .
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