Out for Justice

A muddled yet mostly entertaining actioner, Out for Justice follows NYC cop Gino Felino (Steven Seagal) as he embarks on a campaign of revenge after his best friend is murdered by a psychotic mafia enforcer (William Forsythe’s Richie). Filmmaker John Flynn, working from R. Lance Hill’s screenplay, delivers a strong pre-credits sequence that immediately captures the viewer’s interest, with Gino’s less-than-gentle treatment of an abusive pimp effectively (and instantly) establishing the character as a loose-cannon, rule-breaking archetype. From there, Out for Justice segues into a palpably erratic narrative that’s comprised of an almost equal balance of engaging and tedious sequences – with the inconsistent atmosphere compounded by a script that leaves too many seemingly important elements unexplained. (The rationale behind Richie’s reign of terror, for example, remains vague at best.) It’s clear, then, that the film benefits substantially from a series of exceedingly violent and sporadically electrifying action sequences, with Gino’s assault on several goons in a rundown poolhall, armed with a billiard ball wrapped in a towel, certainly standing as an obvious highlight within the proceedings (and probably within Seagal’s entire body of work). There are likewise a handful of compelling fight sequences sprinkled throughout and the climactic brawl is undoubtedly as satisfying as one might’ve hoped (ie a villian is dispatched with a corkscrew to the forehead!), and yet Out for Justice is, in the end, a fairly forgettable Seagal effort that nevertheless stands as a veritable masterpiece in comparison to his more recent output.

**1/2 out of ****

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