Exit Wounds 2001
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Exit Wounds (DVD)
Fifty kilos of heroin have disappeared from the property vaults of the toughest precinct in Detroit, and no one knows how. When irreverent urban detective Orin Boyd (Steven Seagal) is reassigned to the citys worst police division, he stumbles on an inside drug operation ... and the one person who can help uncover the truth is not a cop. But the gangster who holds the key to the truth isnt what he seems. Now, with enemies everywhere and only one chance to survive, cop and gangster join forces to reveal the deadly police corruption.]]>
One can always count on Steven Seagal to act as the repository of yesterday's action-film clichés, and Exit Wounds is yet another case in point. Seagal plays Detroit cop Orin Boyd, a lone wolf lawman who gets in the middle of his precinct's losing battle against police corruption. Taking on a powerful but crooked cop named Montini (David Vadim)--who is busy making deals with a rich gangster (DMX)--Boyd soon sends fists and feet flying while Tom Arnold provides the comic relief. Director Andrzej Bartkowiak surely had less fun guiding Seagal through slow-motion fight sequences than he did Jet Li in Romeo Must Die, but as compensation he gets to work with the mesmerizing DMX, who looks as though he has leading-man possibilities. Plenty of gratuitous gore, awful cop banter, and miles of cleavage courtesy of Jill Hennessy, who plays Boyd's tough-as-nails boss. --Tom Keogh
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But you should still watch it
The story: disciplined for saving the life of the vice president, hardcore cop Orin Boyd (Seagal) is reassigned to a notoriously violent precinct where he is promptly caught up in a dangerous web of drug dealing and police corruption.
I have and will probably continue to focus on Steven Seagal in this review, but I don't mean to overlook or downplay the rest of the cast. As far as commercially recognizable stars go, this is the last one of Steven's to feature such a prominent collection: Isaiah Washington as his partner, Jill Hennessy as the precinct captain, Bill Duke as the *other* captain, Michael Jai White as the two-faced lieutenant, goofy Anthony Anderson and Tom Arnold as the comic relief players, and of course DMX the mysterious drug dealer. Just about everyone plays their roles as well as possible, making one of the few complaints I have about the casting be simply that a couple of my favorite characters don't have enough screentime. I'm not entirely sure of DMX's strength as an actor, but hey, as a rapper-turned-thespian, he beats the pants off of Ja Rule in Half Past Dead. Steven himself is almost unrecognizable: producer Joel Silver bragged in press releases how he had gotten Seagal to lose weight, his ponytail, and his "Navajo blankets," but the real difference-maker here is that the story keeps Steven from indulging in any of the social and political interests that had made his other movies stand out and branded him as a weirdo. He plays a standard tough guy, which a lot of people probably think is a good thing, but personally, I miss the Navajo blankets.
The action is an even blend of hand-to-hand combat, gunfighting, car chases, and some explosions. The street race taking place about halfway through the movie is particularly memorable, but like any martial arts fan, I'm in it for the fisticuffs. Hong Kong action wrangler Dion Lam (The Storm Riders) was brought in to supply these, but while I give the fights a general passing grade, I think they could have been a lot better. Wires are heavily utilized and sure enough, Seagal is seen flipping and spinning around a lot, which makes for a weird but cool effect. There's less of his trademark aikido and more general martial arts, but there's enough inventive technique to make me really enjoy at least two of the brawls (i.e. the attempted carjacking and the fight in the club). The problem, however, is that these Hong Kong-style matches are shot in a Hollywood manner, which means there's a lot of unnecessary cutting - not just of camera angles, but even to different scenes, at times. This latter tendency becomes a particular nuisance during the much-anticipated showdown between Seagal and fellow martial artist Michael White: even though you have both of them wielding giant paper cutter blades as swords and White doing some slow-motion flipping, the film repeatedly cuts away to a scrap between DMX and David Vadim that is nowhere near as exciting.
Though it goes overboard at times, I like the film's sense of humor, in the form of both its intentional comedy bits and the silly plot-related ideas (SPOILER: the drug-soaked t-shirts are the best clothing-related plot point since the exploding pants in Knock Off). Additionally, I think the movie's pretty unique for a Hollywood action movie of this period for how relatively gritty its action is: there's the wirework, sure, but next to no noticeable CGI and proper reliance on the stunt team. Behind Romeo Must Die, I think this is the best feature that director Andrezj Bartkowiak's made, and it's certainly among the better ones of Seagal's filmography - probably the kind of film that a lot of his disenchanted viewers wish he were still making.
Segal plays Orin Boyd, A good cop, one of the few that is not corrupt. After breaking the rules to save a vice president he is sent to a lower class precinct to learn some manners and earn his badge again. After proving his valor he is re assigned to work with a partner (Isaiah Washington) they are on the look for Drug rings around the neighborhood, they suspect something funny about a man named Latrell Walker (DMX) he is seeing doing dealings with cops and other people. Segal later finds out that Walker is with the good guys, and indeed wants to bring down the corruption...but who do you trust?
The movie is a bit unoriginal in some areas, but Seagal, DMX and the cast do a decent job with what they have. a thing I disliked was that there was to much wire work on the fight scenes. They at least managed to keep the Seagal's doubles minimal. Definitely worth owning even if you're not a Segal fans.
MY PERSONAL RATING: 3 ½ OUT OF 5