Out for Justice. Out for m***********g Justice. Sure, it’s easy to dismiss Steven Seagal now, as he has gained some weight (enough for directors to shoot him from the neck up now) and chooses less than desirable pictures, but back in the late 80s – early 90s, we couldn’t get enough of him. His films were like Schwarzenegger flicks but more angry and violent (but still just as cheesy).
He started off rocky with the okay Above the Law and the downright awful Hard to Kill, then followed by Marked for Death which had a pair of evil voodoo drug dealer twins. In 1991 however, he shaped himself up for the best film of his career. Screenwriter David Lee Henry and Director John Flynn gave birth to the best Steven Seagal character ever made – Detective Gino Felino Tactical Narcotics Team NYPD. He beat up pimps and threw girls around but when a degenerate redneck tosses a garbage bag out of his moving car, Segal pulls over, opens up the bag and discovers a little puppy. Gino Felino was not only one bad mother, he was a caring and decent human being who respected all living creatures.
Out for Justice – what a film. Some say his follow-up, Under Siege (dubbed ‘Die Hard‘ on a battleship) was the best. These people have no idea what they are talking about. Topless chicks popping out of cakes do not make a better film. Smashing a guy with a cue ball in the teeth multiple times makes a better film. Throwing a pimp threw the windshield of a car makes a better film. These are things a knife fight with Tommy Lee Jones just can’t make up for.
In this film, Seagal is out for justice. Richie, played by a rather round-looking, mustache sporting, William Forsythe, “does” (that’s code for murder) Gino’s partner Bobby Lupo. You see, Richie is all coked up and crazy. He blasts Bobby in the midst of a crowded street with his wife and kids watching. That’s something Under Siege could never replicate. Nor does Under Siege have a coked-out crazy person sporting a mustache (even though Gary Busey co-stars).
This is one of those movies you should have no problem catching on Spike TV or TBS on the weekends but watching this movie on basic cable will not do it the proper justice it so rightly requires. You can’t watch this movie edited. You have to watch this movie in its violent glory, with vulgarities and all. It takes us back to that time when violence, nudity, and vulgarity ruled the action genre. Not like today (except for Running Scared of course). Today we get action flicks with bits of marshmallows, instead of chunks of raw bloody beef.
Soon enough, Seagal started slipping up. He made an awful sequel to Under Siege, a movie with Michael Caine (On Deadly Ground), a movie with a Wayans Brother (The Glimmer Man) until finally peaking off his downfall with a movie involving radioactive chemicals and incest (Fire Down Below). In 2001, he moved into the rap cinema game, with Exit Wounds, co-starring DMX and Anthony Anderson. He was then sent to Alcatraz for Half Past Dead with Ja Rule, before finally slipping into straight-to-video/DVD obscurity, where he remains to this day.
Will he ever escape this terrible fate? Watching Out for Justice plagues me with this question. He never had any kind of Academy potential, but he never wanted it. He just wanted to punch people in the face from time to time. What’s wrong with that?
If we’re lucky, the team behind Out for Justice will bring us a theatrical follow-up. Out for More Justice. Because I am not quite sure if Gino fully understands just why Richie did Bobby Lupo. Even though Lupo is dead, I am sure Gino still has it in him to hit a couple more people in the face with a pot or a pan or a sock full of pool balls. Man, I really should be a screenwriter.
One more thing… Hey Warner Brothers, the DVD for this film SUCKS. Why don’t you schnazz it up a little bit so a brother might actually want to spend some dollars on it. You do it to every other film in your catalog.