Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Out For Justice (1991)
* * * 1/2

Cast: Steven Seagal, William Forsythe, Jerry Orbach, Jo Champa, Gina Gershon, John Leguizamo

Directed by John Flynn

“Steven Seagal will play cops and robbers one more time with his childhood friend, this time, for real” went that tagline for what is the best Steven Seagal movie ever made. Perhaps this might mean little to most but even detractors of Seagal will find a stronger story, more character depth and a really hate-worthy bad guy (Well played by Forsythe) The story is perhaps too ambitious for its own good by going out of its way to detail Seagal’s connection with mobsters but in Flynn’s intense approach to the revenge angle is what scores the most points in OFJ’s favor. The revenge angle is merely Seagal hunting down his childhood friend to avenge his partner while blood flows freely, but the film has some great moments. Indeed the film almost feels like a Shaw Brothers revenge movie without the training montage, and what the action sequences don’t feel unnecessarily tacked on and while Seagal is no great shakes as an actor, Seagal’s thug-like presence seems well suited this time and Seagal’s performance is actually pretty decent all things considered. Also the Brooklyn back drop adds a gritty atmosphere which makes the film more riveting than most Seagal revenge fests. Indeed the gore level is there but compounds the grittiness, the action quotient is perfect and OFJ also boasts a great soundtrack. In that regard Seagal has never been showcased better and genre fans will appreciate Flynn’s gritty handling of the action.

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