by Greg Muskewitz
Even less fun than seeing "Exit Wounds," is forcing myself to scrape something up to say about it. The title itself is of little fun to mentally warp. When I think of a wound, I visualize a circular hole, like a gun-shot wound would leave. So that conjures up "Exit Holes," which next visually grants itself the look of a giant anus, that surmises that the movie is nothing more than the crap it defecated out.Steven Seagal is a no-B.S. Detroit cop who isn't very liked by his higher-ups. So after a bang-up opener, he is reassigned to a new precinct where he already has a reputation. DMX is a bad guy, or so we are supposed to be made to think is, who really wants to get his brother out of jail for a crime he didn't commit. Once each of their motives are defined, "Exit Wounds" turns into a banal crack-down on police corruption. Actually, it doesn't turn into one --it already was!
"An unhealthy dump."
Seagal hasn't had a hit now for quite awhile, so why not team him up with the glitzy, jittery direction of Andrzej Bartkowiak who made his directorial debut last year with "Romeo Must Die." It was an idea, but not one well thought-out. And Bartkowiak, who succeeded in giving raptress Aaliyah some good acting exposure, attempts to do the same with DMX (who had about five-seconds on-screen in "Romeo"), but the problem is that he can't act. D-M-X, S-U-X! Nearly every line he delivers, he over-emphasizes and reads rather than feels or believes (or for that matter understands) what he is saying. (Doesn't DMX seem born to be directed next, under McG in "The Monikers?")
Seagal, still looking out of shape since "The Glimmer Man," again plays no variation on any of the roles he's played in the past. We don't expect him to, and maybe that's why people have stopped going to see his movies, but I have never minded him. I doubt he will ever match the success and popularity that he achieved with "Under Siege," but in this, the mounds of crap that he's buried with, hardly give us any time to speculate about him. Tom Arnold dashes around a couple times here, the only thing that aroused any humor, however small in amount, but still serves as a huge embarrassment for him. Anthony Anderson also pops up for comedic relief, but does the same thing he's done in every movie, and he's been in far too much lately so I would love to see him take a leave-of-absence along with Charlize Theron and Julia Roberts. It's not talent, it's annoyance. Michael Jai White and Isaiah Washington also embarrassingly turn up.
The story is offensively generic (the author of the book says most of it was written in the front seat of his police car --forgetting to leave out how we was probably on dope and drunk with donuts on his lap too), seen many times over and over. The set-up for the action scenes are non-sensical, and employed at those times simply to try and speed things up. (Seagal leaves a "Rageaholics Anonymous" meeting, and so to spice it up, there just has to be thugs trying to break into his truck, etc.) Where at least in most Seagal movies he didn't fart around with dealing out the ass-whoopings, he dawdles and dilly-dallies in this, therefore extending the fights ridiculously (and making only that much more unreal). The majority of the action sequences are all car-chase related; overdrawn, overblown, overbearing. Only the occasional shot (a car spinning around and sliding as the camera slides perpendicular with it) are of any worth. Even though I enjoyed "Romeo Must Die" (mostly for the energized action, and the well-captured debut of Aaliyah), just because one makes a good cinematographer, doesn't mean he makes a good director. And it doesn't mean that he know how to select one in his old position, either.Final Verdict: D-.
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originally posted: 03/18/01 20:02:07