Many may consider Steven Seagal's non-presence for the past four years a blessing (he last appeared in 1997's Fire Down Below) but this reviewer feels that audiences are too dismissive of him and that he needs to be given another chance. They just waited for him to slip up and as soon as he delivered a flop, called him names and forgot about him.

Veteran action producer Joel Silver ordered him to lose the waistline, gave him better material to work with and thrust ol' Steve back in the limelight. After all, an actor can only do as good as the script.

Taken from a novel by John Westerman, the plot centres on Orin Boyd (Seagal), a cop busted down to patrolman after a rough encounter with the US Vice President. Once on the streets, Boyd's ever suspicious nose can't keep him out of trouble with undercover cops who are trying to bust local drug boss, Latrell Walker (rap star DMX), or so it seems.

Boyd smells foul play and intrudes upon a stakeout, handcuffing TK (Anthony Anderson), one of Walker's men, to the front of his car before doing so. When he returns to find the front of his car missing and the thug long gone, Boyd takes it upon himself to get it back and inadvertently exposes a ring of corrupt cops in the process.

There are many attempts at irony throughout the movie and surprisingly enough most of them work. Boyd is forced to attend rage control classes, in which he meets eccentric TV host Henry Wayne (Tom Arnold), who becomes his wannabe partner. Sadly enough the classes don't work, as Boyd continues to use violence first and ask questions later.

There are only a couple of cop movie clichés. The bad guys are too hissable and it's a pity we know who they are as soon as we see them, but this was never intended to be used for suspense in the first place.

Bartkowiak's direction is better than in his debut, Romeo Must Die, and adds a heavy dose of frenetic rush to such a fast-paced film. Action scenes are handled with experience and care. There is no MTV-style editing and no confusion. He tends to favour dark colors and uses them often but should have spent a little more time with the characters.

Seagal has learned a little in the acting arena, but still doesn't know how to express himself. There's too much frowning and not enough emotion. We want to feel more from him, but he won't allow us. I guess this is just how Seagal is. He just can't get away from himself no matter what role he plays. But it's good to see that he is in better condition than of late and has proven to Hollywood that he is still here, still frowning.

Reviewed on: 22 May 2001
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Exit Wounds packshot
A maverick cop joins forces with drug lord to expose corruption in the police force.
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Director: Andrze Bartkowiak

Writer: Ed Horowitz, John Westerman, Richard D’Ovidio

Starring: Steven Seagal, DMX, Tom Arnold, Michael Jai White, Isaiah Washington, Bill Duke, Anthony Anders

Year: 2001

Runtime: 102 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: USA


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