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  Out for Justice The Foot Fist Way
Year: 1991
Director: John Flynn
Stars: Steven Seagal, William Forsythe, Jerry Orbach, Jo Champa, Shareen Mitchell, Sal Richards, Gina Gershon, Jay Acovone, Nick Corello, Robert LaSardo, John Toles-Bay, Joe Sataro, Gianni Russo, Juliana Margulies, Shannon Whirry, John Leguizamo, Julie Strain
Genre: Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Detective Gino Felino (Steven Seagal) is sitting in a van with his partner when they notice a pimp slapping around one of his employees right there in the street, so feeling gallant he leaps out of the vehicle and rushes over to intercept. The pimp is less than impressed, but any attempt at getting rid of Gino is met with the cop showing him the back of his hand, as well as throwing him through a car window, yet today he will have bigger fish to fry as a childhood friend of Gino's has been gunned down in front of his family while they were out shopping. Who would do such a thing? Step forward Richie Madano (William Forsythe), a local Mafia hood who has become increasingly unruly since his crack addiction, and is now on the warpath...

So yer man Steve does likewise after Richie in a film many regard as possibly his best example of his strongarm tactics, even if the requisite exploding vehicle was missing this time around. The structure was so simple a child could understand it, even if a child shouldn't be watching it: Richie and his cohorts drive around pausing every so often to kill somebody while Gino pursues them, alternating discussions with king-size beatings of any man who crosses him. Some of those discussions bordered on the surreal, such as the anecdote he insists on regaling one Mafioso about the time he spent as the world's scariest nine-year-old, but for the most part those chinwags took the form of threats.

Even for a Seagal movie the atmosphere was thick with violence, so you were never more than ten minutes away from someone getting shot or thumped. If that amused you, then dive in, the star had known from the start what his audience wanted and was content to give it to them with the occasional lapse into egomania when he thought what we wanted was to watch the hapkido expert lecture us on ecology. He didn't make that mistake very often, therefore by the twenty-first century he was appearing in often straight to video productions barely distinguishable from one another, even for the diehard aficionados. In the case of Out for Justice, it was a chance to see him when he was slimmer and sharper with the ol' reflexes.

But really the chief reason this was held in such high esteem by the fans was the villain, probably the best bad guy Seagal ever butted heads with. William Forsythe toiled in supporting evildoer roles for most of his career, occasionally getting the chance to demonstrate he could actually be a very fine actor with the right part, but for those who went, "hey, it's that guy" when they spotted him - he was one of those performers, you know the sort - his work here would illustrate why he commanded respect among action movie followers. Forsythe's Richie was, to put it plainly, bonkers, and if there was a major flaw in this it's that he wasn't in it nearly enough, the scenes he did appear in essentially acting everyone else off the screen through force of demented personality.

Little wonder that when Seagal saw his co-star's efforts, he ordered many cuts because Forsythe was stealing the movie right from under his nose, which may have done wonders for Steve's self-esteem but hurt the rest of the drama. More Forsythe behaving badly would have been a real boon to the entertainment, but it was not to be, so we had to settle for the infamous barroom brawl scene where Gino shows a pool hall full of hoods he is the boss by whomping them with a cueball in a hanky, along with besting a random martial artist in combat (one of Bruce Lee's closest associates, doncha know, what was Steve trying to prove by smashing his face in?). Though there was actual 'tec work for a change, the hero is a curious kind of cop, with no office, no boss and carte blanche to hammer or blow away anyone he saw fit with no repercussions, so we should be thankful he was on the side of, er, justice. Pausing briefly to note soon to be stars in minor roles, most of this relied on bloody action, or hitting a man over the head with a big sausage. Music by David Michael Frank (songs by Seagal).
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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