Worth A Look: 7.32%
Pretty Bad: 21.95%
Total Crap: 29.27%
8 reviews, 34 user ratings
by Scott Weinberg
I'll never be able to understand the appeal of Steven Seagal. His breathy, mumbling, grating voice. His pinched-up, confused looking facial expression. (Note the lack of an "s" at the end of "expression".) Apparently this wiener used to be some big chop-socky martial arts wizard in his youth. But youth, much like last year's disposable action-movie flotsam, fades depressingly fast.Starting in 1988, Steven Seagal has been the vacuous "star" of a whole laundry list of disposable action flicks, movies distinguishable only by the generic blandness of their titles:
"Steven Seagal is funnier by accident than most comedians are on purpose."
Above the Law (Cop, bad guys, Henry Silva, Pam Grier)
Hard to Kill (Cop, bad guys, William Sadler, Kelly LeBrock)
Marked for Death (Cop, bad guys, Keith David, Joanna Pacula)
Out for Justice (Cop, bad guys, William Forsythe, Gina Gershon)
All four of these movies are as stupid as the day is long, with Seagal grunting and waddling around, stopping occasionally to crinkle an eyebrow over the "unexpected" demise of his wife/best buddy/newlywed cop partner with a baby on the way before commencing with the whole "I'm gonna shoot you in the neck and when I run out of bullets, I'm gonna kick you in the neck" thing. It's at about this point in his career that Steve wanted to stretch his skills and broaden his horizons. He asked his agent to find him scripts with less than three words in the title. Seagal the genius ended up with his biggest hit yet.
Under Siege (A somewhat entertaining Die Hard plagiarism that is fun despite Stevie's presence and not even almost because of it.)
I'm convinced that if this one had been released with the title Under the Siege, it would have achieved the same fate as those other cinematic dungheaps and I wouldn't be sitting here today writing on the career of an actor who has less pure talent than Screech from Saved by the Bell. And since this most recent flick cut a solid profit, the next few years were sheer bliss for Seagal, his family and his fan.
On Deadly Ground (Resist kicking in your TV while Seagal preaches to you about wildlife conservation.)
Under Siege 2 (Well, duh!)
Executive Decision (Which turns out to be a fairly solid flick because someone had the wisdom to kill Seagal's character about 32 seconds after the opening credits.)
The Glimmer Man (A dentist with a rusty drill and a very short supply of Novocain is more fun than Seagal and Keenan Ivory Wayans.)
Fire Down Below (If this movie were a person, it would be that Kato guy from the OJ trial: Stupid, pointless and entirely forgotten.)
The Patriot (In a shocking display of marketing savvy, Stevie tries to get people to rent his movie by hoping they rent it by accident, as if he and Mel Gibson somehow resemble one another.)
The general rule of thumb for aging Hollywood action stars is this: If your last 5 movies go straight to video or make less money than your average 11-year old's lemonade stand, you're out of the loop. And for a while, Seagal actually was! Good taste and evolution have prevailed!
Not so fast. Stevie somehow scrounged up yet another human soul to appease Satan, and some drunken casting director clicked the wrong box on her Scantron Hollywood Casting Sheet. Instead of casting Sally Struthers in the lead role of Exit Wounds, Stevie got the gig and showed up to the set with his stone-faced visage nearly cracking a smile.
Exit Wounds showed up in March of 2001 in a cinematic season so devoid of entertainment that I'm convinced my 1984 Bar Mitzvah video could have turned a solid profit. In a multiplex full of movies such as See Spot Run, Monkeybone and 3,000 Miles to Graceland, the great unwashed once again made Seagal a viable action star, if only by default. Yes, it's true: Exit Wounds was the number one movie on the weekend it opened. But before you mistake "profitable" for "quality", remember that Milli Vanilli was also a #1 band in America a few half-decades ago.
To say that Exit Wounds is an improvement over his prior movies is akin to saying that your dog's poop smells sweeter than my dog's poop. Maybe I'm living in some sort of bizarre "intello-world", but I simply cannot see anyone watching this movie without breaking out into unparalleled peals of laughter. Unfortunately, Exit Wounds is not a comedy. And if it were a comedy, this movie is a brand of comedy more subtle and brilliant than I have ever seen.
Seagal plays a cop named Orin Boyd. I did not make that name up. Someone much funnier than I can take credit for that. Orin makes unhappy his superiors with his violent transgressions, his disdain for authority and basically because he's a creepy ghoul. Orin is transferred to the "badass" precinct, does nothing to ingratiate himself in his new environment, chases after a drug dealer and begins to suspect that his fellow cops may be a bunch of dirty, crooked motherf...
I can't do this. Read that above paragraph again. I'll wait.
Yes, that's really the plot! I've seen bagel mold that offered more originality than this pathetically stupid film. If there's one thing that's original in this movie, it's that Exit Wounds contains literally nothing. I wouldn't be surprised if the script of this movie were comprised entirely from excerpts of other scripts. ("OK, today we're going to do pages 102-109 of Lethal Weapon 2 and pages 235-257 of Fort Apache the Bronx! Someone find me a screenplay from one of those cop-movie spoofs. They're always good for some fresh ideas.")
Calling Steven Seagal an actor is like calling a tree Mikhail Baryshnikov. Watching Steve emote is a stressful and monotonous experience, only intermittently interrupted by him offering a line reading so profoundly awful that it threatens to instantaneously devour the very celluloid on which it is contained. Name the worst actor you've ever seen. Seagal is worse.
As in all of Steve's movies, he's surrounded by some of the least discerning character actors on the planet. This time around we're offered the thespianic talents of rapper DMX, Michael Jai White and Tom Arnold. Quite the ensemble. These actors play crooked cops, drug running criminals and TV talk-show hosts, occasionally swapping roles and just running with it.
The action scenes are as plentiful as they are insipid and poorly photographed. Characters take to flipping around the room on wires that I think are meant to be invisible and throwing shotguns at one another. Seagal continues to work on his patented "I'll kick you on the side of your shin while some Foley artist cracks open a watermelon to simulate the breaking of leg bones" technique and man is it fun. Car chases are filmed from about 251 feet away so as to ensure the anonymity of Seagals' myriad stuntmen and characters are blown open repeatedly with massive shotgun blasts only to pop up 30 seconds later, mutter "I'm OK" and then fly away on those groovy wires.
Do action movies have to be logical and sensible to be a good time? No. Is it impossible to enjoy a mindless action flick? Absolutely not. Is it possible for Steven Seagal to star in a movie that is not a clichéd and limp ripoff of a thousand better films? No freakin' way. But thanks to the gimmick casting of DMX, a slick ad campaign and a disturbing amount of Americans who threw their money at this waste of film...you can bet that Stevie will be back...
With a Vengeance - Coming Soon!Please join me by donating any spare money you may have to the Anti-Steven Seagal Movie Foundation. The ASSMF has already raised enough money for a large titanium cage. Now all we need is a harpoon gun full of thorazine. Please help.
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originally posted: 10/10/01 11:32:08