I remember a time when I used to enjoy Seagal. Such films as Above the Law, Hard to Kill, Marked for Death, Under Siege, and Out for Justice are all solid action films from the '90s. Under Siege is even kind of good. But lately, films like Under Siege 2, Fire Down Below, and The Patriot have shown the age of the Italian stallion of Aikido.
Now, Exit Wounds stands as Seagal's biggest failure, a pitiful reminder of the death of the American action film. By overextending the violence, the ludicrousness, and the sheer improbability of everything, Exit Wounds plays out like a circus of the damned with Tom Arnold working the Tilt-A-Whirl. (Speaking of Tom Arnold, it's always a bad sign when his thespian attempts at comedy are the most memorable parts of a film.)
Exit Wounds is bad -- really, really bad. Should you care about the plot, the mighty Steven plays Orin Boyd, a burned out cop without his trademark pony-nub who gets reassigned to a tough Detroit precinct after saving the Vice-President's life during a Michigan militia terrorist act. Apparently, this particular precinct is filled with police officers who use the gym way too much, use stun guns in strange naked homoerotic bonding moments, and routinely steal heroin from police labs to fund those out-of-state fishing trips so popular among Detroit city cops. Then there's DMX, the hardcore rapper-turned-actor who does a better job in his music videos than in this role as a stereotypical drug dealer/club owner/martial arts master/dot-com entrepreneur. Seagal and DMX team up to stop the corrupt cop ring, run by Michael Jai White (Spawn).
The gratuitous violence of Exit Wounds would have made Peckinpah cringe and reach for the stop button on the remote. In earlier Seagal films, you got brief moments of violence that made the films memorable and not so gory. Exit Wounds overflows with carnage -- people being bloodied by fists wrapped in chains, body parts being impaled on exposed bolts and pipes, people being crushed by oncoming cars and buses. And every single car involved in a chase sequence erupts in flames, of course.
The biggest shame of the film is the misuse of Seagal. Instead of having Seagal demonstrate the prowess and speed of a 7th Dan of Aikido, shown off so well in his earlier films, he ends up being nothing more than a patsy, used to connect the dots of all the inane plot points in what stands as a truly rotten film.
Run time: 101 mins
In Theaters: Friday 16th March 2001
Box Office USA: $51.4M
Box Office Worldwide: $80M
Distributed by: Warner Bros.
Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 32%
Fresh: 21 Rotten: 44
IMDB: 5.5 / 10
Director: Andrzej Bartkowiak
Screenwriter: Ed Horowitz, Richard D'Ovidio