Published Mar 01, 2001One does not attend a Steven Seagal movie for its acting. Like porn, Seagal's movies must be judged on their own unique merits, especially if you don't want to open a vein to end the insanity, which seldom includes acting, plot or witty dialogue, and "Exit Wounds" is no different. With any Seagal movie, it's about action, martial arts and a small war's worth of violence and gunplay.
In "Exit Wounds," Seagal reprises a role he has played countless times, that of the jaded cop at odds with his superiors who, after saving the Vice President, seriously, is demoted to the worst precinct in Detroit (actually, Toronto). You could not make this stuff up if you tried, and someone didn't try that hard. The precinct, of course, is full of corrupt cops, of which Seagal soon runs afoul, as he does his female captain, his anger management group (ha, ha, it's a joke, get it) and a not-who-he-seems-to-be drug-thug played by DMX. DMX actually comes off well in this movie and might actually have a future on the big screen, as he holds his own (although the competition is sparse), far surpassing his two-scene performance in "Romeo Must Die." (What the hell was Jet Li thinking?)
Seagal dodges bullets, kills by the truckload, blows up a helicopter with a handgun and generally kicks ass. The problem is that movies such as "Hard Boiled," "The Killers" and even "The Matrix" and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" have raised the level of martial arts, serial violence films to new heights, rendering it impossible for movies like "Exit Wounds" be anything but cliché. Especially when they make little effort to offer anything new, either story or action wise.
True, Seagal unleashes his impressive display of physical abilities (despite his ever-increasing fat Elvis gut), and there are a few previously unseen tricks, at least for Seagal, but they can't save "Exit Wounds." Neither can a supporting cast that just seems to be phoning it in, a cast that includes Tom Arnold, Bill Duke ("Predator") and Michael Jai White ("Spawn"). Also, the attempts at comic relief by Anthony Anderson, playing a DMX lackey, and Arnold fail horribly, since they simply aren't funny. Oddly enough, their funniest bits come during the closing credits, which, coincidentally enough, was the best part, because the movie ended, even if the pain didn't.