Film / On Deadly Ground

"That's a crock of shit!"
Background dialogue

This 1994 action movie is in all likelihood 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), stars as Forrest Taft. Also in the cast are Michael Caine, Joan Chen, John C. McGinley, R. Lee Ermey, and Billy Bob Thornton.

In the beginning of the film, Taft is working as a contractor for Aegis Energy, putting out an oil rig fire in Alaska. With large explosives. Hugh Palmer (Richard Hamilton), who is in charge of running the rig, is blaming the company, 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.


  • And Knowing Is Half the Battle: Infamous live action example.
  • Bar Brawl: Forrest starts one when some rednecks bully an Native American.
  • 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. It should however, be pointed out that the rig was in fact constructed wholly of faulty parts. letting the rig come online would've resulted in a catastrophic oil spill of a greater magnitude than the one the film starts with. In this instance, destroying the rig WAS the lesser of two evils, even if the special circumstance is set up in as unrealistic and weaselly a manner as possible.
  • The Chosen One: Whether Forrest wants it or not.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Michael Jennings, the Aegis CEO.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Liles gets probably the most drawn-out death of the villains, getting horribly maimed in a car crash, set alight by petrol pouring out of the fuel tanker she crashed into, and then blown to shreds when said tanker explodes. It seems way over the top for an attempted Karmic Death, when the only particularly villainous thing she did was likening Alaska to a third world country.
  • Green Aesop: Seagal's message is that oil is bad, oil companies are bad, and anybody who makes a living in the production of oil deserves to die by his hands. Now bend over and take that message for 90 minutes.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Jennings may have lived had he not told Forrest he didn't have the guts to finish him.
  • Photo Op with the Dog: The exec tries to make an ad to improve the image of Aegis Energy, complete with reindeer/caribou.
  • Positive Discrimination:
    Forrest: You ride good?
    Masu: Of course, I'm a Native American.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: It wouldn't be a Steven Seagal movie without one.
  • Reverse the Polarity: According to the movie, Forrest didn't do any damage to the environment when he blew up the oil refinery because before doing so, he "reversed the valves".
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Liles, the token female baddie, tries to cut and run in the climactic fight. She fails spectacularly. Mind you, her only crime was being a totally harmless employee of the villain, but Steven Seagal had a point to make, so of course she deserves to die along with all the other people simply doing their jobs on the rig.