I just finished writing the review on Driven, Stallone's latest attempt at getting back into the spotlight, and now I'm writing the one for Exit Wounds, Seagal's attempt at a new greatness. Seagal, compared to Stallone and Schwarzenegger, has had the worst luck out of them all, and it's not surprising. Seagal, with his breathless, faint, and tough guy voice, doesn't cut it in either the acting role or in the hero role anymore. His style of fighting doesn't look as flashy as the popular Jackie Chan and The Matrix speedy kung fu styles. The only thing that saves him is that he brings a kind of presence to the screen that makes us a little excited when he takes on a group of bad guys.
Exit Wounds marks Seagal's return to real movies. Since doing the popular Under Siege duo, he has been bouncing around in Hollywood purgatory, or, better known as direct-to-video. When the people who mean something realized that he wasn't raking in the dough, he was cut loose from movie theaters and forced to do several horrible, horrible, horrible direct-to-video movies like Fire Down Below. But in Hollywood, it only takes one movie to make a big comeback, and that's what Seagal is looking for in Exit Wounds, which smartly teams him up with some other 'big' names hoping to grab onto their fan bases. DMX costars, and Tom Arnold also has a part, trying to give some comical boost to an otherwise gritty film.
Seagal means business several times throughout the movie, as he saves the Vice President's life (and then gets fired for some reason), saves his car from being hijacked, and then proceeds to take down a huge police corruption scandal. Of course, people want to see this movie for the action and action it has, including car chases, gunfights, fistfights, and more. The opening scene is probably the best.
Unfortunately, there is more than one time when the action seems a little unbelievable, which really takes a bite out of the movie overall.
The story is decent enough, even if it is slightly predictable. There are a few times, though, where you are left wondering if the screenwriter really thought out what he was doing, since not everything makes sense. At one point, Seagal breaks up an exchange between DMX and another man, who turns out to be a cop. Seagal, of course, lets him go after he learns that this cop is working undercover (of course, it is pretty obvious to us that he is the bad guy), but doesn't question the fact that this man tried to chop his head off with an electric saw. The one big twist in the storyline that happens two thirds through the movie seems a little awkward, too.
It is a smart move to put DMX next to Seagal, because then not only do you have a costar to take away some of the slower scenes from Seagal (and his slower scenes usually suck), but you also attract a larger fan base. However, when you have DMX doing a flying kick, it just doesn't look write. He was obviously not meant to do kung fu moves, so why try to work them on him? Also, the inclusion of Tom Arnold, who's scenes are obviously meant to parody Seagal's tough guy attitude, seems a little off the subject for the movie.
The ending could also have been a little better, with a little less gore.
Exit Wounds is not a great movie, and it barely scratches on being a good movie, but it is definitely a vast improvement over Seagal's other fares. His tough guy attitude doesn't work as well in the 21st century, but more than that Exit Wounds just needed a little more believability, a little more intelligence, a more interesting ending. For the most part, it is worth seeing, but probably just once and after you've had a beer or two.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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