Sling TV has partnered with Blockbuster for Flashback Friday Free Movie Night, where we’re offering free movies through the Sling TV app on Roku, Amazon and Android devices, or through the Sling website. This week is the over-the-top action flick Mercenary For Justice. Follow this link to watch, no credit card required, no late fees!
Whether it’s a trashy reality show, a tasty but unhealthy snack, or a catchy song with terrible lyrics, we all have our guilty pleasures. For many of us (especially men of a certain age), bad action movies are the guilty pleasure go-to. And if there’s a Mozart of bad action flicks, that man is Steven Seagal.
We say this with respect. Thanks to classics like Above the Law and Under Siege, Seagal became an action hero every bit as credible as Arnold or Sly (maybe more credible given that he’s a 7th-dan black belt in aikido and was one of the first westerners to teach at a Japanese dojo). But by 2003, Seagal’s big screen career was winding down and he was appearing exclusively in direct-to-video titles.
Reading a list of those movies is like scanning a fake filmography for McBain on The Simpsons: Out For a Kill, Attack Force, Urban Justice, and General Commander are but a few of the ridiculous(ly awesome?) titles Seagal has starred in over the past two decades. However, from its name to its crazy backstory, Mercenary For Justice could well be the signature film of late-period Seagal.
On its Wikipedia page, the film’s director — the awesomely named Don E. FauntLeRoy — says that the movie was intentionally sabotaged by its producers, who “just hated Steven and their whole existence was to destroy him, staff of personal (sic), and the film.” Apparently they succeeded because everyone involved admits the movie had, shall we say, “script problems.” It’s not a good sign that within the first three minutes, his character — John Seeger, the most decorated soldier in the first Gulf War — is described as a “wildcard” who’s nevertheless “the best at doing what he does.”
So let’s be real: If you’re watching Mercenary For Justice, it’s as a guilty pleasure. And on that count, it lands like one of Seagal’s jabs to the throat. From the double crosses to the individuated yet interchangeable crew (which includes the always great Michael Kenneth Williams) to the corny one-liner that precedes the Big Bad’s demise, Mercenary For Justice is as clichéd as it is captivating.
If you’re the type of person that enjoys a good bad movie, it doesn’t get much better/ worse than Mercenary For Justice. Mozart made The Magic Flute; Seagal made this. We’re grateful for both.