Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Steven Seagal, DMX, Isaiah Washington, Anthony Anderson, Michael Jai White, Bill Duke
Director: Andrzej Bartkowiak
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Studio: Warner Bros.
Features: See Review
Length: 101 Minutes
Release Date: August 31, 2001

“A lot of people talk about police corruption…but no one ever sees it.”

Film ***

Back in the days of the success of the Die Hard and Lethal Weapon franchises, producer Joel Silver had made a name for himself as the king of action movies. He's had his high points, such as Executive Decision and The Last Boy Scout, and his low points, such as Conspiracy Theory and the embarrassingly bad Fair Game. You might have noticed that I didn't include the producer's most distinguished failure, Hudson Hawk as one of the low points, and that's because I find that movie to be a true cult classic. However, it was with 1999's breakthrough movie phenomenon, The Matrix, that put Silver back on top again as the action movie impresario he was once known as. This year was another terrific year for him, as he gave us two energetic and very entertaining action pictures. One was the brilliantly executed summer release Swordfish with John Travolta, which is thus far my pick for the best film of the year, and earlier this year, he teamed up Steven Seagal, who was in need of a comeback, and rap music sensation DMX for the bone-crunching action thriller Exit Wounds.

The movie succeeds in being what it is supposed to be, a fast and mean action machine, and nothing more. However, Exit Wounds does benefit from having a bit more plot than you're used to finding in these sorts of movies, as well as a bit more character depth, which makes the movie an even bigger blasts. Seagal plays Orin Boyd, a disgraced Detroit detective who is ordered to transfer to the city's worst police precinct, the 1515, following an incident where Boyd made a daring attempt to rescue the vice president, which he successfully did, but stirred up a national scandal in the process. Boyd isn't an angry cop, but just a simple magnet for trouble, but he is soon also ordered to attend an anger management class, in a very funny scene, where he generates numerous supporters, including enraged talk show host Henry Wayne (Tom Arnold).

Boyd, as I mentioned, is a big magnet for trouble, and he has attracted a major amount this time. The 1515 precinct, in addition to being the worst precinct in Detroit, has a suspicious feel to it, and one that may involve most of the cops on the take and distributing drugs, and that's where the movie's other central character comes into play. Latrell Walker (DMX) is an alleged drug dealer who is also a multibillionaire, thanks to a business he constructed on the internet. Is Latrell dealing drugs, or is he waging a personal war against the police corruption in Detroit?

Fans of Jet Li's movie Romeo Must Die might get a big kick out of Exit Wounds, since the fight scenes are given the same unique choreography that was laced in that movie. Seagal and DMX both can clearly be seen doing their own fight scenes with the help of some nifty digital effects and wirework, which adds up to a series of action sequences that really need to be seen to be believed. Exit Wounds is a perfect fit for action fans, and ranks as one of Steven Seagal's better movies. The actor's sullen form may not have changed that much, but he seems to be enjoying himself in this outing. And DMX, perhaps my favorite of any rap artist, makes for an intriguing performance here, and I hope it will garner him more movie roles in the future. Exit Wounds is mindless entertainment that works solely on its intended purpose, to get the adrenaline pumping and the butt kicking at a fast and frequent pace.

Video ****

It's very safe to say that you would never expect Warner to falter a new DVD release, especially an action movie, and Exit Wounds is proof of that notion. Presented in a sharp, anamorphic presentation, the disc is alive and kicking with a crisp and enormously clear picture presentation, along with terrifically vibrant colorization. Another stroke of genius from WB!

Audio ****

Likewise in the audio department, WB has issued a knockout of an audio transfer for Exit Wounds. The 5.1 Digital presentation that serves this hard-hitting action fest with a bass-booming vengeance, capturing everything from loud explosions, to fast whizzing bullets and even fast knuckle throwing and bone crunching. Warner has long served its action releases terrifically well, and this disc is no exception.

Features ***

The highlight of this disc are two behind the scenes featurettes, one is a fifteen minute Making of Exit Wounds documentary, and the other is a personal video documentation by co-star Anthony Anderson, which is a real hoot! Also included is a music video for the DMX song “No Sunshine” and a trailer.


Steven Seagal may be an acquired taste for some, and I've never been his greatest fan, but Exit Wounds has very much restored my faith and illustrates that this veteran action star can still break bones like you've never seen!