Saturday, January 10, 2015

Out for Justice

  Anyone who's seen my movie collections know that I have sections devoted entirely to the kind of movie that Out For Justice is. It's good old fashioned balls-to-the-wall action. Out for Justice isn't a Die Hard, or a Lethal Weapon. It's hero isn't a Dirty Harry, or a Snake Plissken , but instead belongs to the onslaught of aftermarket action heroes who had their glorious 15 minutes of fiery fame. Steven Seagal plays New York cop, Gino Felino. Despite the fact he sounds like a guy who might open a sandwich shop, he's an okay action hero. He punches bad guys and waves his gun around, giving lectures to criminals who're too dense to listen. Why does he keep doing this? So he'll have an excuse to flip them on their ass when he's done.

  Gino does a lot of that in this movie. Since just about everyone he meets is a criminal, or a scumbag in general, just about everyone in this movie gets flipped on their ass. I would've tried to count, but it would've been a count that I'd have quickly lost track of. In short, Seagal kicks all the ass. When he's not kicking ass, he's making his rounds through the streets and the 'neighborhoods', trying to find the guy who offed his buddy, Bobby. Yes, there is a plot! Amazingly, it's of little consequence though. We hear "This guy killed Bobby!" about several dozen times and then Seagal is off to track down a rather pathetic looking William Forsythe who's trying his hardest to seem psychotic, but you know... the scary movie villain kind of psychotic. Not the generic kind of psychotic.

  Unfortunately, despite lots of violent theatrics, he just ends up seeming like the generic kind of psychotic. Nevertheless, the paper thin set up has Seagal cranking out lines like... "Just give me an unmarked and a shotgun and let me do this my way." Which is awesome. I mean, it's just awesome. Any more with a headlining action star is just a vehicle to see him kick ass. That's all Out for Justice is. It's a "hard-hitting" action movie that was probably billed as "the most exciting movie you'll see all summer!", along with a dozen other shoot-em-up flicks at the same time. I'm trying to make a point, but it's sort of self defeating.

  Out for Justice isn't a good movie... but it's a good Steven Seagal movie. It belongs to that cluster of movies that action junkies like, but aren't exactly great movies on their own merits. Out for Justice has lots of dialog heavy scenes that don't really go anywhere. Characters are introduced and then dropped just as fast. There's mobs and gangsters and nightclubs galore. We're just here to see Gino navigate this dangerous maze of criminals and psychopaths with his soft-spoken trash talking and his martial arts. It's akin to a video game. There's a bar fight level, a night club level, a streets level, and in each level there's a batch of bad guys for him to fight. Ultimately every action movie boils down to a similar formula, but it's the ones like this that make that formula so obvious.

  You come for the action, you stay for more action. Steven Seagal never had a Terminator, or a Rambo. He never had, to me, that one iconic role that would elevate him above movies like this. Not to say that for what it is, it doesn't do it's job, and does it well at that. It's just standard in every other regard possible. Yet it has some memorable and remarkable action scenes, and some funny moments in general. Gino rescues a puppy thrown away by some dickwad, and it's a cute scene. Throughout the movie, the dog is sort of just, around now and then. It's a cute touch, and somewhat unexpected in such a tough-guy flick. Yet still, the highlights of this movie is like... that one punch here, or that shotgun blast there. Those "Oh SHIT!" moments when Seagal pulls off some crazy stunt that looks super cool.

  That's all this movie's good for. But it IS good for it. No action junkie could turn down Out for Justice on a lazy Saturday night in. I had a lot of fun with it. I'd probably watch it again sometime. It's fun. And honestly, isn't that all these movies really need to be? Just... fun. Mindless, simple, punch-em-in-the-balls... fun. I love these kinds of movie. They're arcade game nonsense, but they're entertaining and well made. Slick, stylized, simplicity. The stories are usually irrelevant, but that's okay. It's all about the punching, kicking, and shooting. Stuff blows up real well, not unlike Stone Cold, Raw Deal, and Rapid Fire. If you enjoy movies with titles like those, you'll undoubtedly enjoy Out for Justice.

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