Men like Steven Seagal are not born; they are forged in the heat and hell of Hollywood offices. Unlike his bloodthirsty macho contemporaries, Seagal burst onto the bigscreen with fists blazing, parlaying Ovitzian connections into a starring role in “Above the Law.” Ain’t-It-Cool’s Vern puts the action star on a pedestal in “Seagalogy,” a tome that explores all aspects of the man behind the ponytail with utmost respect. Fans will find it irresistible, but those who caught “On Deadly Ground” on cable might well wonder what all the fuss is about.
Scribe covers Seagal’s life from his early days in Lansing, Mich., and later as the first American Aikido instructor in Japan, through career lows in straight-to-DVD releases and thwarted musical ambitions. Vern takes the obsessive fanboy approach to his subject, at times leaving the tongue-in-cheek satire behind as he plunges into the Seagal mythology much like the way Joseph Campbell dives into the work of James Joyce.
Vern breaks down the man through bar fights, broken ribs and one-liners. This approach elevates the book past mere hero-worship — he even references the Bible to drive a point home. His irreverent writing style gives the book its edge, although at times he seems lost in Seagal’s world and forgets about his audience.