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Tuesday, December 1,2009

'Steven Seagal Lawman,' premiering Wednesday on A&E

By Verne Gay

Reason to watch: Title says it all.

What it’s about: Sorta like the Sasquatch, there have been mysterious sightings of a very famous and physically imposing actor dressed as a cop in Jefferson Parish — the suburbs around New Orleans — over the last couple decades. He is a cop. "For the past 20 years, I've been a cop. ... My name is Steven Seagal. That's right, Steven Seagal."

How often he has been a cop — considering that movies like On Deadly Ground or Hard to Kill couldn't exactly make themselves — is left unsaid. But, we learn that Seagal is a reserve sheriff's deputy, goes out on patrols and dispenses Zen wisdom to fellow officers. Such as: Don't jerk your weapon, but allow it to pull itself to its target, as though being drawn by a mysterious universal force seeking to abolish evil.

We see him teach officers martial arts. We learn the secret of Seagalesque enforcement is "We're trying to take away the bad guys and restore harmony."

My say: One always runs the risk of reviewing Seagal — particularly Bad Seagal, which is not unheard of — because if the review is negative, one could get killed. Online reports vary but generally agree that he has dispatched 420 to 520 bad guys over his big-screen career, and there must have been a critic or two in that total. So, let's carefully weigh the three options here.

First, pretend I'm not me. ("Verne Gay" is obviously a fake name.) Two, lie. ("Steven Seagal Lawman is brilliant, and his greatest tour de force since 2002's Half Past Dead.") Three, tell the truth, then make out a will.

OK, here goes: Lawman is actually pretty lame, and Seagal here is so mild-mannered that he seems more like Jim Belushi than the toughest human disposal machine this side of Jackie Chan.

Bottom line: Watch, if only for novelty's sake, although it is lots of fun to see the Zen master teach bemused, if slightly fearful, cops the fundamentals of Aikido.


Steven Segal Lawman

10 p.m. EDT Wednesday


Verne Gay writes for Newsday. Via McClatchy-Tribune News Service.

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