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Out For Justice

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Out For Justice

Starring: Steven Seagal, William Forsythe
Director: John Flynn
Rated: R
RunTime: 91 Minutes
Release Date: April 1991
Genre: Action

*Also starring: Jerry Orbach, Jo Ciampa, Shareen Mitchell, Sal Richards, Gina Gershon, Jay Acovone

Review by Dragan Antulov
2 stars out of 4

There is time for peace and there is time for war. There is time for movies that take cautious approach to sensitive and complex issues and there is time for movies in which Good Guys kick the living daylights out of Bad Guys without burdening themselves with any serious contemplation. The time in which we are living is the time for the latter, so movies like OUT FOR JUSTICE, directed in 1991 by John Flynn, would be more than appropriate.

The protagonist of this film is Gino Felino (played by Steven Seagal), New York police detective who grew up on the mean streets of Brooklyn. His marriage is just about to end, but family issues suddenly take second place when he hears the news about his partner and best friend Bobby Lupo (played by Joe Spatara) getting brutally murdered in front of his family. Since the perpetrator - crack-smoking and ultraviolent Mafioso wannabe Richy Madano (played by William Forsythe) - has already been identified, the investigation actually turns into manhunt. Both police and Mafia take part in it, but hardly anyone shows the zeal equal to Felino who uses various (mostly violent) methods in order to extract information about Madano's whereabouts. As Felino begins to close in, Madano and his small but vicious gang of street decide to hit back by targeting Felino's family.

Steven Seagal is arguably one of the worst actors in present-day Hollywood and his reputation wasn't helped by the projects in which his ambitions turned out to be way higher than his abilities. Thankfully, OUT FOR JUSTICE, which he co-produced and co-wrote (including few song lyrics) is not one of them. Weak standard plot about policeman who avenges the death of his partner is nothing more than an excuse for the series of scenes in which Seagal displays what he knows best - taking care of any individual or group foolish enough to challenge him in a various forms of physical combat. The script lacks the usual preaching tone of other Seagal's movies and the mean streets of Brooklyn are used more to provide exotic flavour to the setting than to serve as an illustration of drug addiction, crime, violence and other social ailments of pre-Giuliani New York. Instead of moralising, film presents things like corruption and symbiotic relationship between police and organised crime as something quite natural and, at times, even beneficial to the society. And, naturally, in a situation when everyone wants to see quick justice done, issues like civil liberties and police procedure are thrown through the window. Steven Seagal's character might be obnoxious, intimidating and ultraviolent and the only thing that actually align him to the forces of Good (apart from couple of obviously manipulative attempts to show his sensitive, altruistic side) is the fact that the villains are even worse and, consequently, can be dealt only by higher doses of their own medicine. Because of that otherwise good character actor William Forsythe goes over the top in his portrayal of homicidal cokehead. On the other hand, other actors are quite solid in their roles, even when they are thankless, like those of Madano's brother and sister, played by Anthony De Sando and Gina Gershon. Director John Flynn is more than able to keep things under control and the film goes quite smoothly for 90 minutes, leaving hardly any time for audience to pick various flaws in the film. In the end, authors of OUT FOR JUSTICE can be forgiven for cliched storyline, cartoonish characters and ridiculous amounts of senseless violence - few films managed to show how Good can defeat Evil in such a simple and entertaining way.

Copyright 2001 Dragan Antulov

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