Out for Justice

Out for Justice

Out for Justice

1991. Directed by John Flynn

Buckle up and get ready because this going to be one testosterone fueled voyage through the B movie promised land!

The crown jewel of Steven Seagal's blood drenched portfolio Out for Justice is an experience in the absurd and every second is pure glory.

The plot is straight forward. Bad guy kills Seagal's bro, and Beret clad Seagal, the only officer on the force with the knowledge of the "neighborhood" is out to settle the score. Let the chase (entire film) begin.

What sets this film apart from the rest of Seagal's works is that Flynn desperately wanted this film to mean something. From it's opening Arthur Miller quote to the inclusion of side plot lines such as the debts of family and loyalty, Out for Justice reaches for the sky, only for its wings to melt in a furious symphony of bullets, cue balls, and blood.

It's color tone is virtually dead, like the city its players inhabitant, but it's hip hop filled soundtrack and larger than life characters keep it revving. The action scenes are choreographed well and are weaved into the narrative with painful precision, allowing them seem everyday in the film's madcap take the urban jungle.

The attempts at building a mythology are fascinating. From the way Seagal interacts with his neighborhood, the mafia code of justice (how they interact with the legendary Gino), and the way the "neighborhood" itself is a character, complete with it's own No Sleep Til Brooklyn theme music.

The most important part of this mythology however, is Seagal's Gino, from whom criminals constantly flee and pay other criminals to stand in his wake as fodder, meeting their ends at all of the Seagal hallmark arm breaking maneuvers and clever uses of unconventional weaponry. (Shout out to the Corkscrew!)

In the end Seagal gets his men. Both the man who killed his partner and the man who tried to kill a helpless puppy.

Some of the hallmarks of this classic include:

You can time the appearance of the neighborhood mafia, signaled by its own theme music, with an egg timer. 90 seconds after every major action piece, they show up like the keystone Corleone's and it's magic.

The Pool hall apocalypse! Complete with pool stick wielding martial artist and the repetitive shoving of a character into a phone booth that culminates in one of the most vicious uses of a pool ball ever seen on film.

The masterstroke, however is the intro scene in which Seagal tosses a red velvet shoed pimp through a windshield prior to his name freeze framed across said windshield setting the tone for the ride you've agreed to take.

All of this adds up to something that could have been great but its utter insanity is what makes it forever special in my heart.

I'll leave you with Seagal's words of wisdom:

"Anybody seen RITCHIE!?"

Available on Amazon, Vudu, & Itunes for streaming rental. 

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