Orin Boyd (Steven Seagal) is a police detective from Detroit who shows up at a rally given by the Vice President of the United States and sits himself down behind two of his bosses, who start grumbling when they catch sight of him because he is the type of cop who doesn't play by the rules, which gives them a big headache when they have to clean up after him. The speech goes down well, and the V.P. heads off in his limousine with full police presence, but wouldn't you know it, some of those motorcycle cops are gangsters in disguise and open fire, then a helicopter with a smiley face on it descends from the heavens, its door slides back and a man with a heavy machine gun is there, all ready to blast the V.P. to kingdom come...
Now, bear in mind that the politician has been giving his speech on gun control and how it is a good thing, but this is a Steven Seagal movie where that sort of talk does not hold water. This means the only thing that can save this public official from the guns he was complaining about is more guns, and this is arranged in such a way that you imagine he was meant to go back to the White House once Seagal had saved his ass and demanded that every man, woman and child be armed in America to prevent the baddies from pulling these stunts across the nation, no matter that the streets would now be ringing to the sound of gunfire and little old ladies would be dodging bullets while simultaneously whipping out Colts and Magnums to defend themselves.
Well, Boyd is sent to an anger management course for having the temerity to blast a bunch of hitmen away (and blow up that copter), though it could have been the throwing of the Vice President off a bridge to "safety" that was the final straw. Naturally, this is frowned upon by our hero - actually, everything is frowned upon by Seagal, it's his go-to expression - and little wonder, imagine what his fans would say, Big Steve demanded to be less violent? No! They would like him to be as violent as humanly possible thank you very much, and so it was they got their handgun shooting, knee fracturing, throat punching wish, all wrapped up in the cuddly package that was post-millennium Seagal. That said he was less hefty here than he was in many of his 21st century outings.
This is because his previous film from a short but significant while ago was a complete flop as the hippy-dippy environmentalism-with-explosions version of the star had not caught on, to put it mildly, and producer Joel Silver demanded Seagal slim down and get back to what had made him famous in the first place, a no-nonsense action thriller where he could beat miscreants up to his heart's content and the audience's satisfaction. Taking its cue from Silver's Lethal Weapon sequels, there was a sizeable dose of humour this time around, with comedians Anthony Anderson and Tom Arnold, not exactly cutting edge but Richard Pryor and Bill Hicks compared to their leading man, hired to deliver the quips (they even had a bit of back and forth alongside the end credits). The jokes were not as funny as the stuff we were supposed to take seriously, however.
Take the sequence where Boyd, demoted to the toughest precinct in the city, wanders in on his new colleagues in the locker room to find these macho men proving their masculinity by stripping to the waist and applying a taser to each other's torsos. Now, Seagal may have been in fairly decent shape in this one, but he wasn't about to show us his nipples, so when he gets the stun gun treatment he is fully clothed: after a quick bout of grimacing he shrugs off the test of his manliness by nearly knocking the perpetrator's block off. This is our cue to suspect these cops may not be on the level, and that the ostensible villain, played by DMX (who really did not enjoy working with Seagal), might be a nicer guy than he seems, but that was about it for twists as for the most part Boyd thumped his way through life and in one instance jumped over an entire car, just like Action Jackson in the eighties. No love interest for him, he was out for justice and above the law and so on in an action flick just ridiculous enough to hit the spot for the seasoned/less demanding aficionado of the genre. Music by Damon 'Grease' Blackman and Jeff Rona; DMX's tie-in single absurdly adds the "N" word to Ain't No Sunshine.