Another weekend, another late night cheesy action flick. This past weekend it was “Out for Justice,” starring the bad ass Steven Seagal (sporting a jaunty beret!). My quick and dirty review is – I can’t believe how fucking bad this movie is! And no, it’s not so bad that it’s good. It’s just plain old “bad.”
Out For Justice
This is your typical Steven Seagal action flick from the early 90’s where he plays a cop, covert military officer, or special agent type of guy who kicks ass to solve a problem. The short review is he’s a cop after a guy from “the neighborhood” who killed his best friend. This leads him in to all sorts of interesting situations where his martial arts bad assery saves the day, leaving a trail of broken arms, wrists, legs, and necks in his wake as he works his way up to the chief scumbag Richie, played with full, over the top bravado by the amazing William Forsythe.
Let’s have a go at three Pluses and three Minuses for Out for Justice:
- Jerry Orbach is in this. Jerry Fucking Orbach! Can you believe it? The man is a legend and he plays Steven’s captain or boss or something. It’s never really explained what the org chart looks like. Jerry just pops up here and there giving this whole production some semblance of legitimacy.
- There are some absolutely amazing displays of martial arts in this film. While Steven has let himself go lately, this was filmed back when he was an ass kicking machine. The scenes in the deli/butcher shop and bar/pool hall are some of my favorite Steven Seagal action sequences. He totally kicks ass in this film. This is probably the film’s only true redeeming quality.
- Two of my other favorites actors have bit parts in this flick. Gina Gershon plays the sister of baddie William Forsythe and looks super hot doing so. You know, Gina would make a great “Over Forty Fox” one of these Friday’s. Hmmmm… In addition to Gina, we also get a brief cameo from Raymond Cruz. That dude is amazing and always a plus in any scene he’s in.
- Look, let’s get real here. Steven Seagal can’t act his way out of a paper bag. He plays the same character over and over again. Watching him try to “act” alongside William Forsythe and Jerry Orbach is pitiful. I hope those guys got big paychecks for having to put up with Steven every day.
- To pick a nit, beyond his overall acting, Steven attempts, very poorly, to talk with a Brooklyn accent. It doesn’t work and every time he speaks it’s like nails on a chalkboard. Maybe the director was afraid of him or something, but I can’t believe nobody told him to stop trying. It’s almost Kevin Costner level bad.
- The final fight scene is totally anticlimactic. William Forsythe is totally over-matched by Steven Seagal and there’s zero effort to make the fight “fair.” Steven just fully kicks William’s ass and throws him around like a rag doll. William’s henchmen gave Steven more of a fight than the big bad guy. Kind of a let down after 90 minutes of pretty decent martial arts action.
The Five Hallmarks of a Quality Action Flick (2/5):
- NUDITY = NONE! In a movie filled with hookers and tramps, there isn’t one single naked chick shown. You have Gina Gershon, Julianna Margulies and Shannon Whirry in your film and can’t figure out how to get them topless? What a waste!
- GEAR UP SCENE = Nada! Steven spends the entire movie going around town and beating people up, but never once has an iconic gear up scene. To be honest, he is more effective using his surroundings.
- COOL CARS = Nope, lots of late 80’s/early 90’s sedans. Even the bad guy drives a shitty “sports car” that he leaves within the first 10 minutes.
- WEAPONS = Steven uses everything and anything around. The deli/butcher shop fight includes some interesting knife play. My favorite is the bar/pool hall scene where Steven uses a cue ball with nasty effect and then the obligatory cue stick battle with the token Asian henchman.
- MEANINGFUL FRIEND DIES = Oh yeah, that’s what starts the whole story off. Steven’s best friend, Bobby, gets killed right after the opening credits, sending Steven into a rage to clean up the town and bring the killer to justice.
My recommendation? It’s not great, but it is a fun reminder of how awful early 90’s action films were. I’m sure this thing was a huge box office hit during it’s theatrical release, today it would be protested for it’s portrayal of Italian-Americans, women, Asians, lack of diversity, misogyny, over-the-top violence, and who knows what else. They just don’t make ’em like they used to! Don’t spend any money to watch it, but definitely catch it on cable if you can!
Have you seen “Out for Justice?” if so, what did you think?