On Deadly Ground

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On Deadly Ground is a 1994 environmental action-adventure film, co-produced, directed by and starring Steven Seagal, and co-starring in an all-star cast, Michael Caine, Joan Chen, John C. McGinley, R. Lee Ermey, Kenji Nakano, and Billy Bob Thornton in one of his early appearances. The film held a #1 position at the box office and exemplified the dangers of pollution. It earned $38.6M during its theatrical run.[citation needed] In recent years, the film has gained a cult following.[citation needed]



Aegis Oil operates Aegis 1, an oil refinery and several oil rigs in Alaska. They purchased the oil rights from the local Eskimos twenty years ago, but will lose them if the refinery isn’t on-line by a certain deadline. With 13 days to go, and billions of dollars at stake, the company cuts corners and uses faulty equipment. Hugh Palmer, a rig foreman, is aware of this; as he predicts, his rig catches fire. It takes Forrest Taft (Seagal), a specialist in dealing with oil drilling-related fires, to extinguish the fire. Taft refuses to believe Hugh’s story of faulty equipment, but discovers that it’s true after accessing the company’s computer records. Michael Jennings (Michael Caine), the ruthless CEO of Aegis, believes that Hugh's carelessness is to blame and arranges for him to be ‘dealt with’ by his henchmen MacGruder (John C. McGinley) and Otto (Sven-Ole Thorsen).

Jennings is alerted to Taft's activities and orders that Taft be also removed. MacGruder and Otto torture and murder Palmer. Taft is set-up for a trap by investigating a supposedly damaged pump station. He is badly wounded by an explosion, but survives and is rescued by Masu (Joan Chen), the daughter of Silook, the chief of her tribe.

MacGruder and Otto are unable to locate Taft's body, and Jennings assumes that he is still alive. Taft is being cared for by Silook's tribe. After unsuccessfully trying to leave, using a dogsled, Silook has Taft undergo a vision quest in which he sees the truth. When made to choose between two women, Seagal opts for the elderly, clothed grandmother, forgoing the erotically-charged nude Eskimo seductress. The grandmother warns Taft that time is running out for those who pollute the world. Taft realises that he has no choice but to see the refinery closed. He leaves, with MacGruder and Otto hot on his trail.

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