Friday, 20 January 2012

Urban Justice (2007)

Steven Seagal is a motherfucking hardass. Oh, if you’ve seen one or two Seagal movies before this one then you’ll already know that he’s a hardass. But this movie goes to great lengths to prove that he’s a MOTHERFUCKING hardass. I think so, anyway. Because every other word in the script seemed to be “motherfucker” or “nigga”. Unlike real life, I don’t have a problem with these words being bandied about in a movie. Sadly, when those two words seem to make up half of the script then it signifies a bit of a problem. We get the fact that Seagal is a hardass and that a bunch of badass black guys are all gangsta ‘n’ shit and gonna get all up in his face but we get that fact within the first 15 minutes or so. The rest is just, well, laziness.

The plot this time is actually a decent one – Seagal is back in town to find out who shot his son. He doesn’t care about anything else, he just wants his revenge and that’s it. Oh, he’ll punch and kick anyone who gets in his way but it’s not personal. That's it.

It's a shame that the script is so lousy here because, in many other respects, this is one of the better Seagal movies that has appeared in the first decade of the 21st century. It has some decent actors, including Eddie Griffin and Danny Trejo (though the latter has little more than a cameo role, sadly), a budget that makes the film look like it cost more than all three of his previous movies put together and a nice grittiness that's reminiscent of the leading man's earlier movies.

Director Don E. FauntLeRoy keeps things moving along and throws enough action into the mix to keep fans happy. We are all well aware that Seagal is well past his prime but he throws a few moves together that make him look believeable tough and . . . . . . . . . . . like a motherfucking hardass. The effort, at least, is appreciated.

Gilmar Fortis II gets the blame for the script. Oh, there have been many terrible scripts written for Seagal but the annoying thing about this film is that it didn't have to have a terrible script. The storyline makes sense. It's simple and action-packed. That's why it's more annoying when the dialogue is full of Seagal being "down with the kids" and gangstas being gangsta with each other, for the sake of just being gangsta, dog. Aaaaiiiight. If you think it's laughable to see me try to act all tough and urban in written word form then just wait until you see Seagal doing his thing onscreen.

Having said that, this is still a lot less painful than you would expect it to be.


  1. Gilmar Fortis II6 August 2012 at 03:25

    I feel compelled to respond to this post. It's easy to attack the screenwriter for this film. Sure, there's a lot of bad dialogue. I mean, a lot of bad dialogue. Some questionable plotting decisions. And characters whose decisions don't entirely make sense. But is that any reason to blame the screenwriter?

    Oh wait-- those are all screenplay problems.

    But I feel compelled to respond because, in defense of all screenwriters, sometimes they get rewritten. And even if there's one screenwriter with sole credit, it doesn't mean he didn't get drastically rewritten. It happens. I can attest to that.

    So take it easy on the screenwriter. Maybe he/she wrote a very good screenplay what was drastically changed before being shot.


  2. Hello sir, many thanks for your reply. Don't worry, I temd to attribute most of the blame for Steven Seagal movies to . . . . . . . . . the fact that they ARE Steven Seagal movies, haha.
    I do always try to at least mention writers in my reviews because I'm well aware of the poor deal they get - if the movie is great then they are often forgotten in the mix while if it is awful they can often get all of the blame heaped on them even if, as you point out, something has been drastically rewritten from the decent original concept it once was.
    However, mentioning writing means that I do have to comment on whether or not I liked it, the final product is all we have to go on by the time it gets to us as an audience.
    I hope that those bad experiences make some writers set new limits and protect their work in the future but I have no idea as I'm not an industry insider. Is that the case or is it just too big a battleground to care about what happens to the work once the job is paid. If every waiter/waitress and bartender in L.A. is an aspiring actor/actress then I imagine that every OTHER waiter/waitress and bartender has a cript in progress they're only too happy to pass on to anyone who might help them out. Or am I being far too cynical?

    1. *temd = tend.
      Why is it that I make a simple typo whenever I actually discuss writing? God mocks me.