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:: Exit Wounds

From muscling his way into the screens in the late 1980s, Steven Seagal provided a fresh face and take on the martial arts market. He won many movie fans and he helped make Aikido a more familiar term in the genre. Above all, he brought a strong screen presence, mostly in roles of fighting corruption and crime. I have been awaiting his return to the screen, as he has spent the last few years away pursuing such rewarding pastimes as singing country music. It seems as though others in Hollywood wanted to prise him back to the roots of where his career began – to go back to the streets and kick some butt.

In “Exit Wounds”, Seagal is back on the beat as Orin Boyd, a lone cop who has been reassigned to a troubled Detroit precinct under the orders of Commander Annette Mulcahy (Jill Hennessy). Also joining the cast is rapper DMX as the dangerous Latrell Walker, therefore appealing to a crossover audience. The opening scenes, featuring an explosive, over-the-top assassination attempt on the US Vice-President, are vintage Seagal. It’s an impacting moment to set the tone. Boyd gets himself in the middle of a big fat mess involving drug dealers and crokked cops, and he has to figure it all out. You see the usual betrayals and bigger betrayals. DMX is really good in this film, and he is well supported by Anthony Anderson, as an obnoxious ghetto clown. In fact, Anderson, as T.K., provides much of the comic relief throughout the film.

In keeping with similar plots in his previous work, Boyd is castigated by his superiors for the “excessive force”. Through other supposed indiscretions, he is consequently demoted, even to the comical situation of seeing him as a traffic cop in the middle of a busy intersection.

Director Bartkowiak extravagantly devises the obligatory action sequences of the car chases, bone-crunching combat and motorcycle wrecks. Interspersed with these moments are some interesting attempts to poke fun at Seagal’s stoic screen presence. His character must endure some anger management therapy. Here, he meets Henry Wayne (Tom Arnold), who plays a hilarious role as a manic, talk-show host.

This is a strong return for Steven Seagal. His fans will enjoy it; even though he’s slowed down a little and that the film contains a few little faults. The fight sequences, classy cars, lots of wrecks and gunplay all make it fairly entertaining.