Steven Seagal's latest movie, 'Out for Justice,' misses the mark


April 16, 1991|By Lou Cedrone

The roll Steven Seagal was on may come to an end with ''Out for Justice.'' Seagal's previous films (''Above the Law,'' ''Marked for Death,'' ''Hard to Kill'') were, on their own level, entertaining. You wouldn't include any of them in a top 10 list, but they were, as action films go, fast and exciting.

L ''Out for Justice'' is neither. It's an out-and-out clunker.

This murky muddle of a film has an uneven soundtrack, and at times the dialogue is inaudible. But that may be a blessing. Often enough the dialogue isn't worth hearing.

Like all of Seagal's movies, this one is big on violence, but it is so silly, so badly staged, it plays like The Three Stooges. It's ugly, yes, but you'll never believe it. You may even laugh at it.

Seagal plays Gino Felino, a New York cop who learns that his Brooklyn neighborhood is being terrorized by a former acquaintance, a bully Gino knew as a kid.

Today, the bully, Richie Madano, is killing, killing, killing on the streets -- anywhere his mood takes him. He is a four-star madman whose brain has been destroyed by drugs. If a woman driver is foolish enough to ask Richie to get his car out of the way, he is very likely to put a bullet through her head, which he does.

Felino seems to work alone. No other cops seem to be around. It is just he and Madano, which adds to the silliness.

Adding to the inanity is the wreckage. People don't go into a bar to drink. They go in to wreck things -- the tables, the bar, the bottles, anything that can be destroyed.

William Forsythe plays the killer. Forsythe was Flattop in ''Dick Tracy.'' He has not yet left the comics.

As Felino, Seagal is up to the usual. He bops his enemies and breaks a lot of bones. Seagal's movies are big on crunch and crack. The star, however, is putting on weight, which, for a karate star, can be a distraction.

As the cop, Seagal speaks a bit of Italian, which is given to us through subtitle. Later, we get subtitles for passages in Spanish. These may be the only intelligent portions of the film, which is mercifully short.

Because the movie takes place in Brooklyn, the mob is around. Actually, they want to get Madano as much as Felino does, but we all know who is going to get there first, bopping and crunching all the way.

''Out for Justice'' is more laughable than sinister, and that may not be what Seagal, who co-produced, and John Flynn, who directed, had in mind.

0$ Who knows what they had in mind?

''Out For Justice''

A cop discovers that his old neighborhood is being terrorized by a drug-crazed killer.

CAST: Steven Seagal, William Forsythe, Jerry Orbach, Jo Champa

DIRECTOR: John Flynn

RATING: R (sex, nudity, language, violence)

RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes

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