Judge David Johnson executes with very little force. But he does is it with feeling!
Don't break the code.
Steven Seagal. Ving Rhames. Danny Trejo. My expectations are not sky-high.
Facts of the Case
In the violent world of organized crime, one man reigns supreme: Mr. Alexander (Seagal, Under Siege). He's grown long in the tooth and wide in the trousers, but the man is still dangerous and knows how to run a crime ring. But when his prized enforcer (Bret Foster) screws up a prison hit, all hell breaks loose. Now, Mr. Alexander is being threatened by The Iceman (Rhames, Con Air), who's looking to take his posse and commandeer all of the old man's illicit dealings.
As a seventh-grader, working on my first creative writing assignment of junior high, I was determined to show my new teacher that I was a force to be reckoned with. I called out the full force of my young imagination and concocted a story about a planet called "Stinketaria," which, apparently, stunk really bad. I felt fairly proud of myself; yet my teacher was less impressed and, much to my surprise, called out the writing prowess of a good friend of mine, who had written the following line: "I felt lower than a snake's stomach."
Well, you know what Jason Withers, I'm going to go ahead and say that the statute of limitation has expired for your creation so I will now co-opt it to say this: my expectations were Force of Execution were lower than a snake's stomach.
To say that they were marginally exceeded is…good? Sure, let's go with "good." Now, the only reason why Force of Execution didn't join the rest of Seagal's recent straight-to-video output in the garbage disposal is because of Bret Foster. And to director Keoni Waxman's credit, I think he understands this as well.
Foster is a legit fighter, a mixed martial arts specialist who brings an impressive array of skills to the screen. His fight scenes are decently choreographed and the camera spares him from overt shakiness and quick cuts. Really, the story centers on him, but the narrative keeps him sidelined for much of the middle. That leaves us with a saggy center act, filled with Ving Rhames and Steven Seagal posturing and exchanging mumbled profanity and street tough barbs. They're fighting over a criminal empire and Seagal's character is supposed to be some sort of noble anti-hero, but really, it was tough to empathize with any of these dickbags. Just show me that guy kicking people in the face again.
Thankfully, the director obliged and Foster scored some appreciated screen time, capped with a nice little final bad guy fight (which was unfortunately supplemented with some Segal fighting, an exercise these days fraught with stunt doubles and shoving).
The Blu-ray: a fine 1.78:1, 1080p transfer is joined by a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround mix. The only extra is a making-of featurette.
Is Foster's adeptness enough to recommend a viewing? Probably not. But compared to the wretched crap I've had to watch over the years, this is like an oasis in the toilet.
So close to not guilty. So. Close.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Anchor Bay
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