Runtime: 101 Mins
What To Expect: Seagal’s last good movie
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It took a while, but here, in 2014, Exit Wounds (2001) has finally been released on Blu Ray in unleashed 1080p goodness. This movie is kind of significant in the Steven Seagal resume for a couple of reasons. Firstly prior to its release, Seagal had gone through something of a shitty run. Some people think his DTV slide began in the 2000s, but it actually began in the late 1990s. The Patriot (1998) was his first DTV, and he struggled for a few years from there on. After that, this movie was dubbed his comeback movie for that reason. The second reason it’s important is because not only was it his first good movie of the 2000s, it was also his last.
Let’s recap the outline of this movie. It’s the usual play on the Dirty Harry template used by so many manly movies. Rogue cop gets busted down the ranks to some shithole precinct for police brutality, only to uncover seedy goings on at his new workplace. Said cop then uses violence and extreme prejudice to bring down pissant offenders. This is a serviceable scenario for a Seagal movie, but it’s not perfect. The story can drag its feet, at times becoming needlessly convoluted even for a simple smash-em-up. Especially in the second act and especially because of the casting of rapper DMX. I interpreted DMX as the worst thing about the movie – the man is an exceptionally shit actor, y’see there are wooden actors and then there is DMX. His screentime should’ve been given to Michael Jai White, who you’ll recall is also in the movie. That DMX fight with Seagal should’ve happened with MJW, who does fight Seagal at the end but we’re talking about using screen time properly here.
Having gotten the weaknesses of the movie out of the way – the hokey plot, the energy sapping ‘performance’ of DMX… onto why this movie just about deserves a 7/10. If it’s a shit thriller, it’s certainly a better action movie. It harkens back to the old days. The ’90s style where the camera was held steady and the impacts were brutal and practical with excess measures by the cast. Shoot the bastard ten times, just in case. But even that is not the main selling point. As mentioned, this is Steven Seagal’s last good movie. It was so refreshing to retrace this movie, to root for Seagal instead of laugh at him. To notice the guy isn’t obese, to remember that he used to be able to kick ass convincingly. And here, he’s hungry too. He’s acting in this movie, he’s enjoying it. And you know what? For good measure if Seagal and MJW aren’t enough, Bill Duke is in there too, if infrequently.
This is a Blu Ray review. So time to talk Blu Ray shop. This is a satisfying movie to own on Blu Ray simply for the movie itself. That is to say, it’s a great transfer that kinda doubles down on the nostalgia – Seagal looks young, clearly young. The budget is unusually big for a Seagal movie and the print is finely preserved, the opening bridge hijacking, with a group of militia men going for the Vice President with a red chopper equipped with an M-60 never looked – or sounded so good. If you to ask the studio for a better picture quality from Exit Wounds in this release, they might well tell you it’s not possible. There’s a downside though. Extras? They’re here, but if you own the DVD release there’s nothing new. Sorry to report but there’s no Seagal commentary either. A new featurette or two and insight from the ‘Sensei’ would’ve otherwise made it a 10.
This was Seagal’s last picture with Warner Brothers. And his second last solo theatrical lead. It’s no Under Siege or even Under Siege 2, but it’s relatively strong. For old times sake…