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"Exit Wounds"

Directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak.
Written by Ed Horowitz and Richard D'Ovidio.
Starring Steven Seagal, DMX and Tom Arnold.
Release Year:  2001 
Review Date:  3/23/01 


Shocked that this movie made almost $20 million last weekend--ranking it first in movie ticket sales nationwide--I realized that I had to get in on what the people were talking about.  And, with that as my reasoning, I dragged Gordon, Kristin "K-Mac" Hollingsworth and Terry "Minty" McDonnell to the movietheque to check out "Exit Wounds."

Look, if you've seen the preview, you can probably already guess what this movie was about.  Plus, it stars Steven Seagal, one of the worst action movie stars in the history of cinema.  And, even with these low expectations, "Exit Wounds" is not the standard-issue piece of shit that most of these films can turn into.  Seagal plays Orin Boyd, a cop that is reassigned to the Detroit Police Department's worst district even though he saves the Vice President of the US in the opening scene.  (Why this is the case, or how the Vice President didn't step up and say, "Thanks, Orin, for saving my hide," is beyond me.)  Upon reassignment, Boyd discovers a ring of crooked cops led by Michael Jai White ("Spawn", "Universal Soldier:  The Return") and must take out those cops with the help of a possible heroin dealer (rapper DMX).  This plot only serves to have a number of quality extras get mowed down in violent fashion on the way to its conclusion.

Seagal is not bad, DMX is pretty decent in all of his scenes, and in general, I can honestly say that the acting doesn't really suck in this film.  This, my friends, is the first big surprise of the movie, and the only surprise of the movie.  Everything else is beyond predictable; you probably can guess that Seagal's cop partner in the film is black, holding to stereotype rule 3.0.922:  all white cops must have black partners.  There are not one, but two strip club scenes, which give us ample time to sample the latest in striptease apparel and the finest breasts Hollywood can buy.  The soundtrack has rap songs that play whenever there are scenes of the inner city, and house/techno music whenever there are scenes in a dance club, strip club, or of car chases.  And, being a Steven Seagal movie, about a dozen bad guys suffer

  1. an inwardly broken arm,

  2. an inwardly broken leg, and/or

  3. a horrifically shattered kneecap.

I have to admit, the movie does have some pretty spectacular death scenes, and so many people get impaled, run over, thrown through windows and demolished by heavy machinery that you are sure to turn away during at least one of these death scenes.  But, for good measure, lots of folks get hit with handgun, shotgun and machine gun fire and a whole lot of people get their ass whooped.  This movie's resemblance to "Romeo Must Die" is more than coincidental, especially given that DMX and co-star Isaiah Washington were both in that Jet Li flick from last year.

Most alarming about this movie is its indulgence to snatch from the most stolen-upon trend, in my mind, in the history of movies.  That trend is to steal as much or as little as possible from "The Matrix."  "Romeo Must Die" suffered a similar problem; although 99% of the movie is based in reality, these characters seem to be able to bend the physics model to fight other characters only when their life depends on it.  "Exit Wounds" is no different, and it nearly ruins its end fight scenes...Michael Jai White is fighting against Seagal and he literally flies over Seagal at one point with a sword, eliciting laughter from everyone in my audience.  Seagal even pulls a Remo Williams (for the few of you that have seen that old Fred Ward action classic) at one point:  a character is holding a gun to Seagal's head, fires it...and, as the bullet is coming out of the chamber, Seagal moves out of the way!  He moved out of the fucking way!!!!!

After he moved, he kicked the gun out of the guy's hand, pulled a Matrix-esque double kick while putting one hand on the ground, came back up and snapped the bad guy's leg in half before cuffing him.  It was ridiculous.  Why do so many movies want to steal from "The Matrix"?  It isn't even action movies any more that do it; comedies of all shapes and sizes have been stealing from it mercilessly since it came out in April of '99 and I'm just getting sick of it.  Go back to stealing from "Pulp Fiction" and I'll be a lot happier.

Anyway, the movie is very entertaining because it is so bad at times, but overall, this is not a bad way to spend $5 on a Saturday afternoon.  Terry, Gordon and K-Mac all thought it was Matinee material.  And, as K-Mac pointed out, you should note that DMX does not show his stomach muscles here, so you ladies out there needn't see this movie if you were hoping for some DMX nude shots.  However, he does through a mean roundhouse kick, and he has a ridiculous little trick that he pulls with his belt and a shotgun near the end of the film.

Rating:  Rental


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09