"Poneytail-less Seagal up to his old bag of tricks again"
I always thought hell would freeze over before a Steven Seagal movie, opening just a week after, would be superior to a Robert De Niro film. Well, better get a coat because it’s going to get chilly.After a brief exile to straight-to-video land (well deserved after Fire Down Below) Seagal is back playing a rule breaking cop. After embarrassing the Secret Service in the process of saving the vice president from an assassination attempt, Seagal is banished to a ghetto precinct as punishment for repeated disrespect for authority.
Seagal soon locks horns with drug dealer DMX (who used the Method approach in preparing for his jail scenes) and is forced into ass kicking mode.
The plot is full of cop movie cliches, with twists and turns about as surprising as Seagal wearing black for most of the film. But Exit Wounds doesn’t deny its dim bulb plot or excess for the sake of excess. In fact, the movie revels in them.
Exit Wounds is a throwback to the shoot-em-up, blow-em-up, high-body count, low intelligence action vehicles of the ’80s. The kind of action movie that’s becoming an endangered species with the increasing use of computer generated imaging.
It should come as no surprise that the movie is produced by Joel Silver, king of ’80s enjoyable junk like Action Jackson, Lethal Weapon, Predator and Roadhouse.
Exit Wounds succeeds by playing off Seagal’s image, the scowling intimidator who knows only one expression. Hard to Kill and both Under Sieges were well done action films, but somewhere along the way Seagal strayed from what audiences wanted to see.
And it wasn’t a tree-hugging conservationist (i.e. On Deadly Ground) who would wax poetic about saving the environment and the joy of peace and love and then proceed to kill 75 people with his bare hands.
Seagal has only one character he plays effectively, and that is the tough as nails, against the rules iconoclast, breaking bones and taking names. However, Seagal finally adds a new element to that stock character in Exit Wounds.
He still plays every scene with his “I wish I was as cool as Clint Eastwood” whisper, but the script gives Seagal the opportunity to thrust his tough guy persona into amusing situations and even gives him a chance for a little romance.
Watch Seagal direct traffic with a whistle and goofy hat. See Seagal sit through anger management class with Tom Arnold. Most surprisingly, watch Seagal affectively woo his female boss.
Add these comedic elements to the wonderfully choreographed fight scenes, car chases and enough explosions to satisfy the most diehard of pyromaniacs and you’ve got the formula for a great action movie.
On the down side, the $18 million dollar opening weekend box office for Exit Wounds will surely mean a series of imitations.We’ll probably have to sit through Puff Daddy/Stallone and Master P/Van Damme vehicles. However, you’ve got to admit an old school Chuck Norris/Flavor Flav teaming would be nice to see.