All of a sudden, and out of nowhere, Steven Seagal reappears after a 5-year hiatus since his straight-to-video crapfest The Patriot, with this film, Exit Wounds. A film title that struck me more, in part by director Andrzej Bartkowiak, than his previous effort titled Romeo Must Die. Exit Wounds was a return to familiar ground for Seagal, and it’s an improvement for Bartkowiak, but still falls short. I expected more out of this film, and it was coming out pretty good but towards the end, it just disappointed me, completely. Still, I quite liked it.Steven Seagal is… of course, a cop, what else can he play? He’s tough shit Detroit City cop Orin Boyd who after “illegally” saving the Vice-President’s life, he gets transferred to the 15th precinct. This is supposedly the shittiest precinct in Detroit. There he gets to meet the head honcho of the 15th Commander Mulcahy (Jill Hennessy), who makes his life somewhat miserable. Amongst some run-ins with other cops, he starts sniffing the trails of cops Montini (David Vadim) and Strutt (Michael Jai White), and soon after coincidentally being there during a assault on the police vault, where confiscated drugs are (Bad Boys anyone?), Boyd, along with his new partner George Clark (Isaiah Washington) start trailing a rich gangster Latrell Walker (DMX) –who has a secret of his own- and his sidekick T.K. Johnson (the ever annoying Anthony Anderson), since they may be involved into a huge drug trade with corrupt cops.
"An Improvement For Seagal, Which Isn’t Much"
What’s there to say? Nothing. What you get here is just a basic formula movie, with a tough motherfucker out to clean out the streets. The script is full of clichés everywhere, from the very beginning showdown, towards his meeting with Mulcahy, to the encounter with Latrell, and on and on towards the very end. Did I mention predictable too? The “been there done that” tag line appears everywhere in the movie. Seagal again plays the usual cop who has a thing for forcing the law to the limit, and always gets fucked for that. You know, I’m somehow getting tired with this shit. I mean, every fucking cop that Seagal plays is always a no-bullshit tough fucker who will always get the slap in the ass, and always be asked to turn his badge in because, hey, it’s against the law. The classic first fight sequence appears every time, this time with a band of black guys trying to steal his truck. “What am I? A shit attractor?” The only problem is that it’s outdated, it’s been done before, hell, and Seagal has even done it better than in this film. Thanks to this, the film becomes somewhat tiresome, with only the martial arts sequences and a few gunfights to keep you awake through the entire film. Oh, and the mid-part twist, when DMX reveals his little secret pretty much crumbles the film, since the ever-increasing expectations called for more cleverness in the script. We never get that, and instead, the unintelligent twist will just leave you sighing in disappointment.
And what is it with the soundtrack? Jeez, I was already tired with all those damn rap songs playing every time a fucking black guy is on the scene.
Speaking of the action sequences, director Bartkowiak manages to be a little more down-to-earth when it comes to them. Seagal manages to do what he does best: kicking asses all over. There were actually a few standouts, with Seagal trashing those guys that were stealing his truck, to the practically hilarious sequence of Seagal wrestling some heavyweight fuckers at a strip club. The gunfights were actually cool, especially when DMX modifies his shotgun with the use of his belt. But at times, the scenes were unnecessarily gory. There’s gore in places that there shouldn’t be, and it may turn some people off because of it. The big fuck-up comes in the end. It’s hilarious, and hilariously bad sequence. DMX at first shows some good martial arts moves, but then when he faces off with one of the bad guys, he fights and behaves like a fucking faggot. I mean, what the fuck is that? Then there’s Seagal fighting another baddie, it was getting actually exciting, but then comes the classic helicopter failed escape. Gosh, that pretty much is the “shot of grace” for this film. In other Seagal films, at least you had a cool, violent showdown and ending between Seagal and the bad guy of the movie. Here, the film just chickens itself out in the most ridiculous way, and you’re left in the vacuum, crushed because you were expecting more, and it never came. That pretty much did it for me with this movie.
The performances were average. Of course, Seagal can’t act for shit, and gives out his usual one-sided performance. The same thing goes for DMX, and again for Anthony Anderson. Man, what is this fat fuck doing here? Jeez, he doesn’t belong in an action movie; he belongs into one of those pansy-assed comedies. Gosh, I can’t stand that fuck. Michael Jai White was also average, so was the rest of the cast. And what the hell is Jill Hennessy doing here? Man, talk about serious miscasting.In the end, I kinda liked this flick, but only because I dig some of Seagal’s work, but other than that, it’s a hit and miss film, mostly miss. Andrzej Bartkowiak shows a little improvement, but he still needs to improve, firstly, by getting a good screenwriter. C’mon Joel Silver, don’t keep producing formulaic action trash, keep bringing out ideas, or did The Matrix just dry your brain out? (2.5-5)
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=4936&reviewer=235
originally posted: 04/08/02 12:33:21