What can two men do against a gang of crooked cops?
I imagine that producer Joel Silver must have spent his childhood blowing things up real good. Firecrackers and plastic army men were probably his favorite toys. How else can you explain all the action flicks he's produced? Silver has worked on no less than 50 films, most of them featuring people being shot with rockets and expensive cars blowing up. Silver's fingerprints have been on everything from the Lethal Weapon series to the mega hit The Matrix. Needless to say, he's a busy guy. In 2001 Silver produced the Steven Seagal/DMX action thriller Exit Wounds. Yes, that's right, I said Steven Seagal…amazingly enough, he IS still starring in movies. Featuring a bunch of rap songs I've never heard of, Exit Wounds shoots its way onto DVD care of Warner Brothers.
Facts of the Case
Ever seen that movie where there's a rogue cop who has to thwart a gang of crooked cops with big explosions and lots of gunfire?
Yeah, me neither.
Lucky for us there's Exit Wounds, a movie about a rogue cop who has to thwart…ah, you get the picture. Steven Seagal stars as Orin Boyd, a tough-as-nails officer who's demoted by his boss (Bruce McGill, Animal House) when he botches up a rescue attempt for the Vice-President of the United States. Even though he saved the V.P., the force didn't like the way he handled it (i.e., shooting bad guys, destroying public property, etcetera). Transferred to a new precinct, Boyd meets his new boss, a hard-nosed woman named Com. Annett Mulcahy (Jill Hennessy, Law & Order). Mulcahy plans on curbing Boyd's attitude by placing him with Officer Clark (Issiah Washington, Romero Must Die), his new street beat partner.
Quicker than you can say "Lethal Weapon," Boyd is finding out that the Detroit police department is filled with all kinds of cops on the take (how, you ask? Does it really matter?). The ringleader of this operation is Officer Montini (David Vadim) and other cops that I won't name (just to keep that element of surprise). It seems that this all has to do with some drugs, lots of cash and all kinds of laws being broken by the supposed criminal ringleader Latrell Walker (rap star DMX).
Along the way we'll meet some good cops, some bad street thugs, some comic relief (Tom Arnold and Anthony Anderson), and of course…lots of things getting blowed up real good.
Steven Seagal is like the poor man's Sylvester Stallone. In fact, scientists have been able to prove that, in a parallel universe, Seagal and Jean-Claude Van Damme are just as popular as Stallone and Schwarzenegger. I've seen the pie charts and graphs so there's no arguing with their facts and findings.
That being said, I didn't even know that Steven Seagal was making movies anymore. Sure, I figured he was maybe doing some straight-to-video stuff, but who knew he'd end up in a movie that would go on to be a semi-hit upon its theatrical release? Granted, much of Exit Wounds' success was because of hot young star DMX, but hey, a hit's a hit, right Stevie?
Your enjoyment of Exit Wounds will depend solely on your expectations of what you want in an action movie. I knew almost nothing about Exit Wounds when I popped it into my player. What I did know was I all wanted from the movie was to see a lot of people being shot and things going "boom." On that level Exit Wounds delivered. If, however, you're looking for characterization or twisting plot pieces…well, Exit Wounds is just shooting blanks.
Steven Seagal couldn't be less charismatic if he were dead. With his sleep-eyed stare and droll delivery you'd swear he was hittin' the doobie right before each take. The second strike Mr. Seagal has against him is that he looks like he's been hitting the craft services table every opportunity he gets. Slow and paunchy, Seagal moves at the speed of a broken down go-cart. Even with the camera twirling around him it's fairly obvious that the years are not being kind to Seagal's lightning fast moves…or his waistline. DMX does what he can with his role, but it's standard tough guy material, and that's exactly how he plays it. I didn't really find DMX to be all that energetic as an actor, but maybe he'll fare better with a more exciting script.
Speaking of the scripts, I've never seen so many cop clichés thrown together in all my life. The dialogue is stale, the roles one dimensional, and the plot old and tired. On the other hand, did I mention that we get to see all kinds of cars chase and shoot each other? Surprisingly, Exit Wounds includes an eclectically strong supporting cast, including a sexy Jill Hennessy as Seagal's slight love interest, Bill Duke (Predator) as a grizzled police vet, and Tom Arnold as an obnoxious radio show host. Everyone plays their part well except for Arnold, who's character gets abrasively annoying after being on screen for only 3.2 seconds.
HOWEVER, after all the complaining you've got to give one thing to Exit Wounds: it knows how to entertain. While there isn't an original bone in its whole body, Exit Wounds still had enough shoot-'em ups and carnage to keep even the most ADD viewer involved. It may be nothing new, but at least it doesn't get old.
Exit Wounds is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is a brand new release, and as such looks very good. Colors were bright and clear with darks being effectively solid. I spotted no edge enhancement and no digital artifacting. Warner has done a commendable job with this title, and it comes as close as you can get to reference quality.
Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 in both English and French. As far as soundtracks go, Exit Wounds does a wonderful job of enveloping the viewer in the world of high tech explosions and rapid gunfire. All speakers were engaged during almost all scenes, especially aggressive during the club scenes and anything involving a speeding car or Uzis. Dialogue, effects and music were all clear with no distortion. Also included are subtitles in English, French and Spanish.
Exit Wounds includes a small trove of extra material. To start out with there's an 18-minute documentary titled "The Making Of Exit Wounds." This is a typical featurette that take s a glimpse behind the scenes, including interviews with actors Steven Seagal, DMX, Jill Hennessey, Tom Arnold, and producer Joel Silver. My favorite line in this feature is Tom Arnold stating that "Exit Wounds isn't your typical action movie…" You know Tom, when you start out an interview spouting BS, there's nowhere else you can go that's going to make you look like a credible source. In all honesty, "The Making Of Exit Wounds" is more in-depth than most promotional featurettes, including some footage from on the set, filming, and stunt rehearsals.
Next up is an eight-minute "Day on the Set with Anthony Anderson." This feature was about as amusing as watching Steven Seagal attempting to perform tae-kwon-do without breaking a sweat. Anderson is jovial enough in the movie, but the guy just isn't that amusing when a camera is following him around. This piece gives no real insight into the making of the film, so its inclusion is baffling. It's basically an outlet for Anderson to mug for the camera and act goofy.
Finally there are a few cast and crew filmographies, an anamorphic DMX music video for the song "No Sunshine," as well as an anamorphic theatrical trailer for Exit Wounds.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
It's a Steven Seagal movie. Let's not beat a dead horse.
Are you a fan of pulse pounding action and explosive effects? If so, it's likely that you'll be apt to enjoy Exit Wounds. Though it's by no means Schindler's List, Exit Wounds should satisfy your primal love of action mixed with today's hottest music…even if it does has Steven Seagal in it. Warner has done a great job on all aspects of the disc, and though I can't say I need to see Exit Wounds again, it's certainly worth a one time rental.
Umm…as dip-thong entertainment, Exit Wounds is free to go. As anything more it's guilty of being sloop!
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
• Theatrical Trailer
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