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- Fans, the waiting is finally over
Like most of you reading this review, I am a dedicated Seagal fan who has watched every one of those heinously awful direct-to-DVD things he's been making for the last five years, desperately hoping the newest movie would finally be THE ONE to usher in an entirely new Seagal era. I have loyally watched each film, disappointed to new lows every single time, sighing with disbelief yet also wanting to believe: "One day...one day he'll finally make a great movie again."
Granted, Urban Justice in not a great movie, and I hesitate to call it even a good movie, but compared with those bewildering grade Z letdowns of the last five years where the entire movie should have been left on the cutting room floor, Urban Justice is practically Oscar material.
For one thing, Seagal is actually acting in this one. You can see he's actually TRYING, for a change, to make a movie, instead of standing around like a cardboard cutout. You can actually discern some of his personality instead of those flatline performances he's been giving, especially in the first fight scene where he starts to back away from his attackers while saying, "I'm getting scared...I'm getting scarrrred..." It's actually funny, and THEN - we finally see the first real Seagal fight in five years. It's brief, but it's good - and who ever though we'd see him kick his foot higher than his head again? That's right, and it's no stunt double or trick of the camera. I was so shocked at this simple return to athleticism I had to put the movie in my DVD ROM and study it, frame by frame, just to make sure I wasn't being fooled. Steven Seagal is back in action.
Speaking of the action, most of the fights are fairly brief, but we are finally treated to a longer scene at the end, where we actually see Sensei using some genuine Aikido again.
The story is not the strongest, but at least is a progression of related events leading to a climax instead of the incoherent mess we've been dished out with any post-Half Past Dead release. All of the supporting characters can act; this isn't another outing where you spend more time gagging yourself over the horrible acting, which is just yet one more distraction in an already horrible movie. No, watching Urban Justice was... well, like watching a "real" movie. And at this point, with all the letdowns we've been given during the last five years, this movie is the one I've been asking for to get past the crap and back on track to more great Seagal movies.
To any fellow fan, I say: Watch this movie. It is not like those other disappointments we've had to endure.
- The best Seagal film since Exit Wounds
After sitting through recent Seagal DTV movies like the abysmal Attack Force, I was understandably wary of watching this movie. The more I watched Seagal's recent output the more convinced I was that he just wasn't interested in making a good movie anymore. I was fed up with seeing movies that featured frequent use of body doubles and his voice being looped by other actors. It was after reading some positive comments posted online by the director of this film that made me look forward to seeing it. And I'm glad I did because it is the best film Steven has made since Exit Wounds.
There's not much of a story...Seagal plays a man who is out to get revenge on the person who killed his son. And that's all the story you expect from an action/revenge flick like this one. What makes this film so watchable is Seagal himself. He's back to doing his own fight scenes and there's no looped dialogue. He demonstrates that he still has what it takes in the fight scenes and his performance is decent enough. There's not much characterisation and it's not really required...he's more of a force of nature, a man who has a single objective and he won't stop until it's achieved.
The film is well shot and the supporting actors are all fine, especially Eddie Griffin as a gang leader who's obviously watched Scarface too many times.
As for the DVD presentation, no special features and the picture is a little dark but that was the directors intention based on comments he has made elsewhere. Is it worth buying? If you're a Seagal fan or even if you just want an old school action movie, this is definitely worth getting. ...more info
- Getting better than previous bottom feeder DVDs
After a long string of horrid and embarassing direct to DVD movies, Seagal is back without body double and / or voice double.
He's not as young as he once was, nor is he as fit.
Which brings to mind some ancient wisdoms:
Ancient Japanese Kung Fu proverb say: Bowl of Jello quiver as much in darkness as in light.
Ancient Japanese Kung Fu proverb say: Molasses just as slow in darkness as in light.
Ancient Japanese Kung Fu proverb say: Old and ugly just as old and ugly in darkness as in the light.
This movie is a step in the correct direction. As a master of martial arts, he should exert the discipline he's learned to shed the extra pounds which forces shooting in poor lighting to hide it. When was the last time we saw him in a bright, well lit scene without wearing a huge coat or having something draped over his arm to hide his rotund paunch.
The dialog / script must have been written by someone who wanted to use profanity and offensive racial slurs as much as possible in a manner which may be politically correct. It didn't work to add to the "realism", it just revealed the script was most likely the least expensive thing in the movie. It was a disappointment to see Seagal listed as a Producer as that implies approval of dialog.
With all this criticism, I still enjoyed the movie. Old overweight good guy, lots of stereotype bad guys, excess violence, foul language, all stirred in well...
Mr. Seagal, follow this link for help with your bulging belly and butt:
Hydroxycut 150 Caplets - Hydroxycut by MuscleTech - Buy MuscleTech Hydroxycut We...more info
- The Return of the Flubber
This Seagal flick is a little bit tighter than his other straight to DVD shows. Just a little. He still spends more than half of the film in shadow to hide his weight, and mumbles his lines as if he just wanted to finish the scene and go home. The fight scenes are not as sloppy as others I've seen (though I love the "15 shots to the crotch" scene), but the shootouts go way over the top. Lots of wild shooting, no aimed shots, and ridiculous amounts of blood. Speaking of that, how Eddie Griffin got conned into playing a sterotypical gangbanger beats me. Wait a minute--it must've been one thing; PAYCHECK! He throws the clock back 10,000 years for African Americans in this film with his moronic portrayal of a sleazy, filthy mouthed gangbanging dope dealer. And what's up with the raccoon on Seagal's head??? We all know you're losing your hair Steve--give it up and show us the bald spot in the next film. One star from me, just for Seagal showing up (and more than likely, late)....more info
- And I thought I'd never review a Seagal film again! This movie ROCKS!!
First let me say that the rumors are true, Urban Justice IS Seagal's comeback.
I found Mercenary for Justice and Shadow Man both to be SOOOO abysmally AWFUL that I didn't even watch Flight of Fury and Attack Force. Still haven't seen them. I'd given up on old Seagal. If he wasn't led to believe that a production was getting a theatrical release he wouldn't even try. The voice dubbing and action doubling was unforgiveable. I was so sick of his attitude toward his fans and his work that I sold all of his movies that I owned.
I'd heard such good things about Urban Justice that I had to give it a try, and so do you, if you were ever a fan. You owe it to yourself. Even my wife, who does NOT normally like Seagal (she has always thought he's just damn corny, what with his bad phony accents and corny jokes ala Out for Justice, Glimmerman, etc.), thought this movie was awesome.
Here, instead of a wise-cracking Seagal trying out cheesy James Bond-like one liners, we have an older, harder Seagal who seems out to prove that he can still kick some serious a$$. It's as though he's been listening to all the complaints and is fighting back. Yes, he's older, heavier, his face is puffy and his now 20-year-old nose job is melting. So what. For he, unlike Van Damme (who actually is not the martial arts expert he claims to be), is still the real thing. He's a 7th Dan blackbelt in Aikido. No easy feat. (Though I must say his insistence on claiming military ties and always playing ex military types is highly ironic considering why he went to Japan--to dodge the draft, but oh well.)
Urban Justice reeks of grittiness. The supporting cast is great, and, save Griffin and Trejo, seems to be filled out by real-life Albuquerque thugs. The way the movie is filmed smacks of realism, and the gritty dialogue drives it all home. The biggest shock is that it's not true AT ALL that the "old Seagal is back." No, this is an entirely NEW Seagal. He's older, his voice is deeper and raspier, he cusses more and is so much more serious, downright humorless and gritty that in this film he almost reminded me more of, say, John Wayne in Big Jake than of Seagal from previous films. Here he's a no-nonsense bad a$$ and nothing else. And the new image fits him well. At the end, when a woman says, "So, this is nothing but revenge, huh?" Seagal comes back, "Of course it's revenge. What the f&^% do you think?" She then says, "You're no better than they are," to which he replies, "No, I'm a whole lot fu*&ing worse."
Fans will delight to how many fight scenes there are in this film--a good one about every 15 minutes or so, and they're all Seagal. No doubling. Also exciting is that there is actually a lot of real Aikido on display. Many of his films have very little. Even the much-loved Under Siege had none (in fact, no real martial arts period--Tommy Lee Jones flailing a knife around doesn't count). Also back are many scenes where Seagal takes on four, five, six people at once. My favorite is when he fights a whole room full of black thugs who later say they were attacked by some big Paul Bunyan moth#rfu$&er.
Check it out. It's not just good, it's DAMN good. In fact, in my humble opinion, it's his best film, period, including all of his theatrical releases. This SHOULD have been released in the theater. The title and cover art are abysmal. Don't let that dissuade you. They should have stuck with the original title, Once Upon a Time in the Hood, and the cover should have been the shot at the end of Seagal walking in the cold, his breath fogging, his head down in his collar. Oh well. Don't let the corny photoshop cover steer you away from this one. It could almost be said to be Seagal's DTV answer to Van Damme's Wake of Death, which was equally masterful.
- A Good Direct To Video Seagal Movie?????
About half way(maybe less) through the film Black Dawn, I stopped the dvd player and bellowed, "That's the last time you make a sucker out of me, Steve!" I had since sworn off of Seagal's movies. Now I'd stuck it out longer than most folks when it came to Seagal's career. That may just be stupidity, but I saw it as hope, hope that he'd get back to anything that resembled the earlier films I like. You know, the ones where he's a cop or something who goes on a rampage out for revenge. The big string of direct to dvd movies he's been doing have all been too secret agent-y and spy-ish They are also shot like music videos with cameramen and directors who seem to be suffering from ADD. I don't mind Seagal putting on weight(it's actually kinda funny), or even so much the body double thing(I think that's actually kinda funny too), but the dubbed voice and the hideous look of the movies is just too much to handle. Urban Justice made me break that vow I'd made coz of the praise it's got by fans. Well, I liked it. Ol' Slabface is back and he's bad! Seagal movies, even the early ones, are dismissed as total crap by many people, understandably so, but I find this one enjoyable in the way I liked the early 90s films. It's not quite the same of course, but this is the kind of film he should have been doing for the last eight years or so. Simple revenge story where he destroys everybody in his path, never breaks a sweat or raises his voice. Fun! He's still a bit hefty, but he has lost some weight. In this movie he does seem to acknowledge his age because he's father to a cop who looks to be in his 20s. Plus there's something more fun about seeing Seagal cause all this carnage as an older man, much like it is seeing Charles Bronson gunning down punks in Death Wish 3 when he was 64 years old. Naturally this movie will just be passed by and chuckled at by most people, but the Seagal fans, especially the ones who feel the same way I did about his last dozen films, ought to give this one a try.......and you can take that to the bank!...more info
- He's back & better!
'Urban Justice' is Steven Seagal's long awaited return to the old style of his action movies. While not perfect, it is light years better than 'Attack Force' which was the last straw. I believe Mr. Seagal got the damaging message from a multiplicity of his disgruntled fans, and has turned things around for the better!
Keep up the fine work Mr. Seagal! ...more info
- A Good Seagal Movie - Finally Some Justice!
Yes, Seagal fans, it's true: our hero has finally released a movie to silence his critics and re-affirm his reputation as a genuine butt-kicker. Gone are the convoluted storylines, the lackluster action, and the overall badness of most of his previous DTV ventures. By some miracle, "Urban Justice" is not only well-produced technically, but also packs a tight storyline and probably the best supporting cast that Seagal has worked with in years. In a word, the film is compact - no loose ends, no un-needed characters, and no useless subplots to slow down a straight-forward, well-told story.
When his son is gunned down by an unknown assassin, Simon Ballister (Seagal) doesn't settle for the police-approved explanation of it being a random gang shooting. Packing heat and his martial arts skills, he submerges himself deep into the 'hood to track down his son's shooter with single-minded determination - unaware that he's about to inject himself into a gang war, a state of police corruption, and one of the biggest drug-trafficking rings on the West Coast.
Storyline: What you see above is what you get - Seagal pursues the killer without a care to who ordered it or the what's behind it. While this may seem too simplistic for a man on a mission with Seagal's record, it keeps the story from going off on tangents that have spelled death in many of his previous ventures. His relationship with the motel owner (Carmen Serano), the young man caught in the middle (Jade Yorker, "Gridiron Gang"), and Mexican gang leader (Danny Trejo, "Grindhouse") are productive without hindering the progression of the storyline - no friends, no romance, just folks who help him get closer to the killer. Drug lord Eddie Griffin ("Malcom & Eddie") and crooked cop Kirk Woller ("Midnight Clear") get some time to themselves, but again, it's nothing to slow the film down.
Acting: Solid. Seagals needs portray little more than rage and dtermination, and he does it well. Eddie Griffin and Kirk Woller are effectively cold-blooded. Jade Yorker gives probably the best performance by being stuck between defiance and vulnerbility. Carmen Serano is no ditz. Danny Trejo makes the most of his single scene. Solid.
Action: Seagal gave his stunt doubles a day off to perform his own aikido for once, and proves that he still has it. Though there are only a couple of clear-cut hand-to-hand confrontations, Seagal performs with straight-edge intensity and renewed vigor - kicking above his head several times while the camera stays on him to prove legitimacy. The car chase between him and T.J. Jones is definitely among the best Seagal has ever been in. The shoot-outs are old-hat, but successfuly mixing in suspense with some of the later scenes (Seagal vs. Woller) makes up for it.
Production: To be honest, there's not much to say here...but for a Seagal movie, that's a good thing. It's gritty without being sloppy. Director & cinematographer Don FauntLeRoy has a knack for nifty camera angles and does a good job at capturing the bleakness of urban LA. A few shots (i.e. the Woller-instigated shootout) are a bit too plain, but these are in the vast minority. No obvious glitches.
...what more do I need to say? If you're a fan of Seagal, purchase it with no questions asked. Use this movie to introduce your friends to Seagal. Believe it, it's that good!...more info
- The Segal you remember from the 90's is back only this time he's brought his Michael Myers hair and 75 extra pounds!
Steven Segal is back with Urban Justice. You've never heard of it? How could that be? The premier was a hit. It was held at Segal's apartment and had many special guests: Papa John, Burger King, Mr. Goodbar, and of course as much alcohol needed to drown the sorrows of a 285 pound former star whose latest film was a srtaight-to-DVD release. But don't let Segal's fall from stardom and rise in the world of competitive eating fool you, Urban Justice was a winner.
It also featured comedy ledgend Eddie Griffin in his funniest role yet. Only he didn't know that. Sid loves the direction in which this dynamic duo is moving. They seem to be irrevicobaly linked. Sid can picture it: a few weeks from now he'll have lunch at his local Popye's. Only the food will be a little undercooked. So, he strolls up to the counter to complain. He'll say, "Oh, hi Eddie Griffin. I loved you in Urban Justice, but my chicken was subpar." Eddie, of course wanting to do well at his new career, replies, "I'm sorry to hear that, Sid. Let me ask my cook, Steven Segal what went wrong." Let's just put it this way: this is the kind of scenario you will come up with while pondering the careers of the stars of this flick during your viewing. That's the kind of movie we're dealing with. Sid wouldn't have it any other way.
Segal goes to "da hood" in LA to find his son's killer. He talks like a grizzled street vet from day one, dropping words from his sentances at an alarming rate. We couldn't figure out if he was trying to fit into the hood or if he forgot lines due the oh-so-distracting McDonalds they filmed near. But, as usual, he was snatching guns and snapping necks left and right, only the film quality was a little different that we're used to. Low budget? Well, yes, but that's not what it was. You ask a 285 pound senior citizen to move as fast as he can and see what happens. It's like waiting for Arnold to finish a sentence. You know it will happen, it just might take a while.
These are just a few of the wonderful things that make Urban Justice a great Unintentional Comedy. It's a must-see. That's straight from us, Sid the Elf, everyone. You will freaking love it. Oh yeah oh yeah oh oh oh oh yeah oh yeah. Laugh Out Loud....more info
- Seagal's Back Baby
I agree with all of you i really enjoyed urban justice it's good to see steven try and put some effott back into his films and make us fans really enjoy his work and not be dissapointed buy crap films like Black Dawn,Attack Force and so on. Well done steve your heading on the right track again hopely will see you back on the big screan again with another cracker film...more info
- Welcome back Mr Seagal, we've been expecting you.
While Urban Justice is not without it's problems, the most obvious being the embarrassing DVD cover art, this is the first Steven Seagal film since Exit Wounds to actually remind me that at one point in the action movie world, Seagal was one of the action kings. It's a low budget DTV and as such it suffers. Most notably the script with some dreadful dialogue scenes also interior locations looking like the cheaply dressed sets they are and second rate actors filling out the cast. Concentrating on Seagal, he delivers in the action department. His fight scenes are all Seagal, no body doubles in this one. Arm's and necks are broken, opponents are thrown across rooms and into objects, Seagal is fast without speeded up camera tricks making him all the more believable. I can't remember the last time I saw Seagal lift his leg above knee height, in Urban Justice he kicks several opponents and actually kicks one opponent in the face. I also did not see the large gut so prominent in past DTV's. As for Seagal's acting, as anyone will know, he will never win Oscar but he can deliver a believable performance as much as is expected in a martial arts action movie when he feels like it. In Urban Justice, I did not get anything except Seagal playing Steven Seagal for the first 50 minutes or so but in the last half hour he seemed to make an attempt at giving some kind of dramatic performance and I did begin to believe that his character had lost a son and he was hell bent on revenge. There is also no voice dubbing in this, roughly 5 fight scenes involving Seagal spread out over the running time but the camera at times is to close to see Seagal in his full martial arts splendor which has been diluted with some choppy editing, one very badly edited and unimaginative boring car chase that made no sense, one very brutal and bloody shot out involving Seagal and an entire gang coming to wipe him out and the main one on one showdown at the end with the villain who killed Seagal's characters son. One thing I was disappointed with was that there was no dialogue during the final fight. I would have thought that Seagal's character would have taken some pleasure in torturing the man who murdered his son but it wasn't to be. Eddie Griffin did ok as the villain but the script did not give him any room to do much with his character and he became annoying towards the end. Danny Trejo, looking like a Mexican Charles Bronson appears for about 3 minutes and almost steels the film from everyone and ended up having the best line when one of his girls serves him some drinks. It was good to see Seagal and Trejo back on screen together again since Marked For Death. I have mixed feelings about Urban Justice. I can not stress enough how much of an improvement this is compared to Seagals past DTV's but it's also a low budget DTV with a very generic dead son revenge plot with so so direction, a bad script, and some inferior acting. The dreaded fake driving sequences with rear projection also shows it's ugly head again. There were rumors that Urban Justice could get a limited theatrical release but in my opinion it is strictly of DTV quality and nothing more. It's hard to believe that it's now 15 years since Under Siege but Seagal actually showed with Urban Justice that he is still up to the action challenge so it leaves a bitter sweet taste to see what he can do in an action film but to have to see glimmers of it in some dreadful DTV's that he has been involved with in the past. If Seagal had been making DTV's up to this production level standard this past 6 years I'd say give him another shot at a theatrical release and I'll put my money down and go see it. Urban Justice deserves to do better financial than it is going to do but Seagal has only himself to blame for that as fans left in droves because of the terrible films he has at times been involved with since Half Past Dead. Martial Arts action performance wise this is Seagal's best DTV so far however Urban Justice taken as a whole, I'd have to say Mercenary For Justice and Belly Of The Beast are still Seagal's best DTV's for my viewing enjoyment with Urban Justice slotting into the third spot....more info
- NOW THIS IS SEAGAL!
GREAT MOVIE! FINALLY SEAGAL IS BACK THE WAY WE LIKE HIM. IT IS HIS VOICE AND HE ACTUALLY PLAYS A GREAT PART. THE MOVIE IS ABOUT PAYBACK FOR HIS SON GETTING KILLED. AND HE IS STRAIGHT TO THE POINT WITH EVERYONE ABOUT WHAT HE IS OUT TO DO.
ANYONE WHO COMES AFTER HIM ALWAYS ENDS UP IN A BAD WAY. THE ONLY THING THAT WOULD HAVE MADE IT BETTER FOR ME IS IF THE LAST JACKASS AT THE END GOT WHAT HE DESERVED. DEATH!!! BUT SEAGAL ONLY WANTED THE MAN WHO PULLED THE TRIGGER AND HE WONT STOP UNTIL HE GETS HIM. I HOPE SEAGAL'S MOVIES STAY ON THIS TRACK BECAUSE I LOVE TO WATCH THEM WHEN THEY ARE THIS GOOD. AND SO WHAT IF HE IS HEAVIER THAN IN HIS YOUNGER DAYS... AREN'T WE ALL BUT THIS MOVIE SHOWS HE STILL HAS IT....more info
- Seagal is amazing!
Great movie. Easy to follow storyline.
The only negative aspect of this film is Steven Seagal's acting.
I noticed during his son's funeral, he did not shed one tear. Seagal just does not have the acting range to show extreme mood changes like the painful sadness a parent in real life would suffer after loosing a family member (especially in a murder case). Seagal shows anger. He also can show non-emotion. In fact, he usually has no facial expression, as if he has a lack of emotions. This lack of emotions did not make him a convincing actor in this movie. Even Jackie Chan and Jet Li "cry" and display actual acting ability.
Also, Seagal needs to change his appearance in future movies because he tends to dress the same in most of his movies.
However, Seagal does deliver some fast and aggressive martial arts moves.
I rate this movie with four stars.
I would have given it 5 stars, but, Seagal just did not show enough emotional range to convince me that he was really sad and suffering after his son was murdered. Great martial arts and stunts. Not so good acting on Seagal's part. The supporting cast did a fine job with their acting....more info
- (2.5 STARS) Better Than His Direct-to-Video Films, But Still Not Great
Some say Don E. FauntLeRoy's 2007 action film "Urban Justice" is a comeback for Steven Seagal. The fact is, it is, and it is not. It depends on what you expect from this violent but solid action film. If you are looking for some action-packed, big budget film like "Under Siege," you will be disappointed. Still, after watching a string of terrible films (especially "Attack Force" and "Flight of Fury"), "Urban Justice" is surprisingly entertaining.
Steven Seagal is "Simon Ballister" whose son (a good police officer) has been recently killed. We don't know much about Simon, but we know he is unstoppable one-man army. Nobody should mess with Simon who insists he wants only the shooter, not the one who ordered the killing while breaking bones and snapping necks of every guy who stands in his way.
I know how simple and ridiculous this story could be, but ridiculous as it is, simple story worked in his earlier films like "Marked for Death." Perhaps Seagal has realized that too. He stopped talking about conservation of natural environment or preaching the philosophy of Zen. Instead our laconic, wooden-faced hero is given a chance or two to be humorous. Don't miss one scene, where Seagal's Simon reveals the secret about how he mastered martial arts.
"Urban Justice" is a low-budget B-action film slightly better than average direct-to-video films. There is one decent car chase and several shoot-outs, but some scenes are too dark, and martial arts action scenes are all made with choppy editing faster than Seagal's punches. The camera, often inexplicably lopsided, also fails to show what is really going on. This is not a great film, but much better than his recent direct-to-video flicks....more info
- A Bad Man With Good Intentions
Now if you're into late 80s style action movies full of bada$$ one-liners and manly action sequences than you'll find Urban Justice to be dreadfully refreshing from all of this hippie dippie crap we've had shoved in our faces for years now. Best lines in the film include Seagal saying to Danny Trejo, "I look at you, I see a man like me....a bad man, with good intentions...." and when he explains to the films heroine that he's purely just out for revenge she says "you're just as bad as they are" to which he replies "Oh no, I'm a lot f***in worse!" and then he storms out to kick some a$$. There's a fight scene roughly every fifteen minutes, so you won't get bored. Seagal's best since Exit Wounds....more info