Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Out For Justice (1991)

Steven Seagal stretches himself yet again as a tough, New York cop out to kick ass to avenge the death of his colleague in this bloody, brutal action thriller that benefits immensely from a smattering of familiar faces in the supporting cast and pacing that never lets things slow down for too long.

Seagal plays Gino Felino (no, that really is the name that they’ve given him), a man who gets very, very upset when his partner is gunned down in the street in broad daylight by drug-addled and power-hungry maniac Richie Madano. Gino will do whatever it takes to get to Richie, even if it means upsetting the gangsters that he’s always maintained cordial relations with, arresting Richie’s family members and generally busting up shady areas that he knows Richie has been known to frequent. As Gino gets closer to Richie, the risks get higher and higher.

Director John Flynn has produced a few decent movies during his career and this is one of them, as long as you’re a fan of Seagal’s fighting style. David Lee Henry’s script isn’t bad either, managing to balance a little mystery and a little soul-searching for our leading man in between the nose-breaking and ass-kicking.

Seagal is, as ever, as appealing or unappealing as you’ve already decided to find him. He knows his target audience and delivers accordingly. Thankfully, he’s surrounded by some great acting this time from the likes of Jerry Orbach, Dominic Chianese (probably best known nowadays to people as “Junior” from The Sopranos) and a magnificent William Forsythe being . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . magnificent in the role of Richie Madano. The ladies onscreen include Gina Gershon, Julianne Margulies and Shannon Whirry in a small role.

The action scenes are enjoyable, a mix of style and harsh straightforward moves that are Seagal’s trademark. Out For Justice would, arguably, be the last Seagal film to really have that slight edge, that coating of old-school revenge thriller over the martial arts polish, and it’s all the better for it, boasting a finale as satisfying as it is bone-crunchingly painful. 

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