In the spirit of the Super Bowl, we here at Last Action Heroes have decided it’s time for our own version of the big game — the Action Bowl. Today, we will attempt to settle, once and for all, the age-old question of “What is the greatest action movie ever made?”
Joe has selected the Steven Seagal classic “Under Siege,” while Derek is pimping “Delta Force 2” starring Chuck Norris.
First of all, let’s examine the main characters. In “Under Siege,” Steven Seagal plays Casey Ryback, a former Navy Seal-turned-cook who bakes a cake as proficiently as he kicks ass. When we first encounter Ryback, he is whipping up some food for the USS Missouri’s crew while rocking out to some C & C Music Factory. Obviously, he’s a pretty hip cat. Oh, yeah, Ryback also hooks up with Miss July. My man Casey’s got a Ph.D. in pimpology!
Please. It’s great to see the main character of the “greatest action movie ever made” on the same fame level as Erik Estrada. Look at the past few years of Seagal’s filmology and you’ll find him increasingly filming movies with rappers and falling victim to the “Jerry Springer syndrome” by actually having a message to go along with his ass-kicking.
While “Under Siege” was great for its time, “Delta Force 2” remains the symbol of its genre. In “Delta Force 2,” Chuck Norris plays Colonel Scott McCoy, who is on a mission to enact vengeance on the world’s richest drug dealer, Ramon Cota, for killing his partner. “Under Siege” can never be considered the greatest action movie of all time when the directors place limits on Seagal and the plot by confining him to a ship. Like Cheap Trick once said, Mr. Ziemer, “Ain’t that a shame.”
“Under Siege” is a classic tale of an action star beating the odds. A mean crew of villains, led by Tommy Lee Jones and Gary Busey, hijack a battleship, kill the captain and hold the crew hostage. Only one problem, jackasses: Steven Seagal’s locked inside the meat locker! What does he do? He escapes, kicks the crap out of the bad guys and saves the day, of course. You cannot write a better action script than that!
Show me another 110-minute script that delivers a total of 104 kills — that’s almost one per minute. In fact, the beatdown total for “Delta Force 2” eclipses the combined beatdowns and kills for “Under Siege.” The directors of “Under Siege” had the opportunity to add a few hundred kills to the count, but the villains were too weak to flood the compartment filled with sailors.
“Delta Force 2” starts out with a beatdown at a restaurant dubbed a “lesson in motivation” by Norris. He then turns his skills to the air by kidnapping the world’s richest drug dealer, tossing him out of a plane without a parachute, diving down to catch him and hauling him off to court. Tell me one time when Seagal performed a flip or jumped out of an airplane without the aid of computers.
Okay, now that I’ve established “Under Siege” has a better main character and plotline, let’s turn to memorable moments. We could devote an entire column to “Under Siege” highlights. This gem is chock full of great Seagal one-liners. To list all of them would fill this entire paper, so I will offer up one example of awesomeness. Gary Busey accuses Ryback of striking an officer after he pushes him. Ryback, being the badass he is, replies, “That’s not striking an officer … this is striking an officer,” and punches the dirty traitor in the face. Holla!
Also, let’s not forget the nudity factor. Miss July definitely gets naked. What does “Delta Force 2” have to offer in that regard, Mr. Montgomery? And please don’t say “shirtless Chuck Norris.”
Shiiiiiiiit. The only thing memorable about “Under Siege” was Miss July jumping out of a cake. Besides Norris tallying over 65 kills, there were a number of memorable moments. One of the greatest scenes in action-movie history finds Norris and his partner face-to-face with drug dealer Ramon Cota aboard his private airplane. The Delta Force must capture Cota over international waters before Cota reaches the fictional country of San Carlos. Norris gets around all of this by shoving Cota out of the plane without a parachute, then diving down to get him before he goes splash. Voila: the two are in international waters and are off to court.
Yes, there are more kills in “Delta Force 2,” but that is only because Seagal is killing in the contained environment of a battleship. Let’s instead take a look at how Seagal disposes of villains. There’s a steel beam through the chest, death by table saw, and then the ultimate: he rips out a dude’s throat. That is hardcore, my friends.
Then comes the showdown with Tommy Lee. How does he meet his demise? Well, first Seagal gouges out his eye, and then stabs him in the top of the head before throwing him through a radar screen face-first. That’s what I’m talking about. Of course, he drops a one-liner on his sorry carcass, too. “In your face,” whispers the man, a.k.a. Casey Ryback, a.k.a. Steven Seagal. Quality over quantity, people.
Finally, I would be remiss not to mention Seagal’s arts-and-crafts time with the nuclear missile. He makes a bomb out of a knapsack, a condom, some duct tape and the tip of a nuclear-tipped missile. Not even a genetically engineered MacGyver-Martha Stewart super-baby could do that.
I’m not going to spend much time on this category because the answer is all too obvious. Chuck Norris did in “Delta Force 2” what Arnold, Van Damme, Seagal and Lundgren never did. Norris topped 65 kills, while none of these flakes ever approached 40. Not only did Norris take out 65 himself, the greatest action movie ever made topped 100 total kills.
Simply put, this is not a contest. If this were the Super Bowl, it would be the 49ers against the Chargers. Sorry, D-Rock, you’re Stan Humphries in this one. “Under Siege” is the gold standard of action movies, a classic flick that even Seagal-haters love. Just go to Best Buy and check out where these two movies reside. While “Delta Force 2” is chilling with “Monkeybone” and “Baywatch Hawaiian Wedding” on the discount rack, “Under Siege” is sitting pretty in the movies with plots section. Oh, Derek, Steven Seagal would like to inform you he’s going to Disneyland. Game over.
Joe said it best above: this is not a contest. When rating action movies, one looks for action, specifically killing and the beating down of villains (see Asians, South Americans and Eastern Europeans). In “Delta Force 2,” Norris sets the all-time record for single kills and beatdowns by an action star. Anybody in the movie without a U.S. passport isn’t breathing by movie’s end. Oh, and Joe … you should check out the Amish Cheese House in Sparta and, alongside “Drive Me Crazy” and “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein,” you’ll find an unused copy of “Under Siege.” It’s a trucker flick, Joe. A joke, much like your entire argument. Simply put, Norris and “Delta Force 2” pack more kills, more beatdowns, more varied action and the title of greatest action movie ever made.