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File:200px-On deadly ground.jpg

The most environmentally destructive film with a Green Aesop ever.

Steven Seagal, who also directed and co-produced (it was his first film after Under Siege), is Forrest Taft. In the beginning of the film, he is working as a contractor for Aegis Energy, putting out an oil rig fire in Alaska. With large explosives. Hugh Palmer who is in charge of running the rig is blaming the oil company (Aegis), saying they supplied faulty protectors. Forrest scoffs at this at the time as he blows up the burning rig, but notes that they were faulty protectors--only, of course, he blew up that evidence.

He goes to the local bar. Hugh apologizes for calling Forrest a whore to the oil company, but Forrest says it's true. He knows the old man is right, of course. Hugh tells him to look up the truth--Forrest actually has clearance to see the files.

All that evening, some oilmen have been harassing Forrest, and Forrest has been ignoring them. Now they beat up an Inuit. Forrest takes the time to fight every one of them, destroying the bar in the process.

Meanwhile, Aegis Energy is working on damage control. There has been an oil spill, and this must be dealt with. There is Hugh, who thinks Aegis is using faulty protectors, and he must be dealt with. And there is a large oil well that must be running in 13 days, regardless of spills and faulty protectors, or else the land and oil will revert to the Inuit.

Forrest looks at the files. The protectors are very faulty. While he's looking at the files, he looks at exactly what the plans for the new oil well Aegis One are. (We learn a little later.) Then he sends it all to Hugh via the internet. (It's 1994, so there is an internet.) Of course, the people at Aegis know that Forrest is looking at these files because he used his own log-in username to gain access; they'll change the password...

Hugh has just downloaded all the files, put them all on a Magic Floppy Disk, and erased/scrambled his hard disk. He's just finished this when Aegis comes in to invite him to a press conference. It's immediately made clear that Hugh doesn't want to be helpful. They check his hard drive, find nothing of value, but they know that the files were sent to that computer, so they torture him and tear up the house to find out where. They torture him to death so horribly that a viewer would be insane to watch... Forrest confronts the head of Aegis, Michael Jennings (played by Michael Caine), about what he saw in the files. Jennings asks him to do one more job at a site. When he gets there, from finding Hugh's corpse, he finds out that this is a trap. He tries to escape, but the planted explosives go off! At the press conference, Jennings declares Forrest and Hugh to be responsible for the sabotaged rig.

Forrest has been hurt and is hiding out in an Inuit tribal chief's house. Salook (Irvin Brink), the tribal chief is a medicine man and has rescued him because (assuming accurate translation) he thought Forrest was a bear. Forrest says that he's just a mouse hiding from the hawks of the oil company; he is told that that's exactly what a bear would say...

The chief and his daughter Masu (Joan Chen) take him out in the wilderness to send him on a Vision Quest. He doesn't want to go, but the dogs on the dogsled attack him when he tries to steal the dogsled to get away, and if he can steal, he can go on a Vision Quest. He is knocked out with an eagle feather, and he goes on the quest and ends up anointed with...petroleum in the sacred water...

The chief and his daughter return to their village before Forrest is finished. Aegis is now trying to wipe out Forrest, and they send a helicopter to the Inuit village. They ask if they've seen Forrest; they say no, but then his original coat is found. They shoot the chief and flee, already prepping their excuse.

Forrest shows up after they leave but before the chief dies. The chief gives forest a pair of totems and his blessing. Then Forrest heads to that cabin Aegis trashed earlier.

Jennings is infuriated that they killed one Inuit in front of dozens of witnesses. The decision is made to hire mercenaries, who are led by R. Lee Ermey. Unfortunately, they missed a backpack when they trashed the cabin--one containing the disk, weapons--and explosives. (They also left the rifle cabinet alone.) Forrest offs a couple of the Mooks following him, and then heads to his secret explosion cache....

This film ends with one of the hugest fires and explosions ever--and it's all real fire and explosions. There is a long Character Filibuster after the fire and explosion on how corporations are destroying the environment, but the climax is the gigantic explosion.


Tropes:

  • And Knowing Is Half the Battle: Infamous live action example.
  • Boring Invincible Hero: Typical Seagal.
  • Broken Aesop: The film is supposed to have a Green Aesop, yet Fridge Logic says that destroying an oil rig would cause far more environmental damage than simply letting it run.
    • Also, it portrays the oil company as exploiting the natives. But it also says they have a contract... generally, those contracts include paying out dividends to the original owners of the mineral rights. Destroying the rig would actually do more harm to the natives' (financial) well-being than, again, letting it run.
  • Character Filibuster: Multiple.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Hugh is tortured to death, McGruder has his face shoved into helicopter blades, and then there’s Liles. Poor, poor, Liles...
  • The Chosen One: Whether Forrest wants it or not.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive
  • Creator Killer: Steven Seagal has never directed another movie. What's more, this film is one of the most visible signposts in his transition from "action star" to "direct-to-DVD joke".
  • The Danza: Michael Caine plays Michael Jennings
    • Also, Mike Starr as Big Mike.
  • Darkened Building Shootout
  • Executive Meddling: A positive example — Forrest's concluding monologue was over ten minutes long in the original cut.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Jennings, to the point of being cartoonishly evil.
  • Facial Horror: McGruder is shoved into helicopter blades face first.
  • Fake American: Michael Caine.
  • Fake Nationality: Joan Chen as an Inuit. "Chen" is such an Inuit surname, isn't it?
  • Fingore
  • Gaia's Vengeance: Yes, Forrest is supposed to embody that.
  • Gorn
  • Green Aesop
  • Groin Attack: Including one where the target rather redundantly yells "MY NUTS!", as though the audience couldn't tell that was where he was kicked.
  • Heel Face Turn: A racist Forrest beats up suddenly realizes racism is wrong.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Features Billy Bob Thorton and Dr. Perry Cox before they were famous.
    • Irvin Kershner, the director of The Empire Strikes Back, appears as a director during the Aegis Oil commercial scene
  • Hidden Depths
  • Inferred Holocaust: As Film Brain pointed out, Forrest blowing up an oil rig will cause more environmental damage than letting it run normally. Also doubling as Moral Dissonance.
  • Kick the Dog: Multiple.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: The film contains several drawn-out torture scenes, such as when Forrest's friend Hugh is beaten with a pipe cutter. Not just on the part of the villains though; Forrest has several scenes where he continues to bully people even when he's already beaten them, such as a very lengthy and painful fight in the bar. And, as Film Brain pointed out, Forrest murders Jennings at the end of the movie, even though he was unarmed, outmatched, and totally unable to defend himself.
  • Magical Computer: Multiple.
  • Mega Corp
  • Mighty Whitey: Taft.
  • Money, Dear Boy: The only possible reason that Michael Caine appeared in this film.) And it is. Around that time, he couldn't find many opportunities for work so he took what he could. Also the only possible reason they could have gotten R. Lee Ermey to be a moron here. And Joan Chen must have needed some money too....
  • Never Found the Body: Why Jennings believes Forrest is alive.
  • Old Shame: Michael Caine, arguably. He needed work in the 90's and did it since it was a job. Seagal and Caine reportedly did not get along either.
    • Well, seeing as it was reported that Seagal basically talked DOWN to Caine, who at that point had one Best Supporting Actor Oscar to his name and three nominations for leading roles, it makes sense. Seagal's acting was always mediocre drivel and he was treating a man who could run CIRCLES around him in the acting department like crap.
  • Only One
  • Outrun the Fireball: Repeatedly.
  • Photo Op with the Dog: Jennings tries to make an ad to improve the image of Aegis Energy, complete with reindeer/caribou.
  • Positive Discrimination:
Cquote1.svg

 Forrest: You ride good?

Masu: Of course, I'm a Native American.

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