The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Urban Justice (2007)

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I have been on the lookout for years for this one Seagal DTV flick where he decapitates an old Chinese man from a second-story window by throwing a samurai sword at him. I first saw the film on USA, at a time when I didn't have digital cable and a program guide, so I was at the mercy of the broadcasters, who of course ran the credits too fast for me to catch the name. I've probably seen three or four Seagal movies in the meantime, in looking for this gem. I have to say I didn't really believe this one was the one, and maybe deep down inside I don't want to find it, because it's really the chase that matters.

Urban Justice is about Seagal as a cop who comes to LA after his son's been murdered by some gang members. He wages a one-man path of destruction in an attempt to find out who killed him. As he does, he unravels a potential plot by crooked cops in the LAPD to silence his son, using the cover of local gang members to keep them above suspicion. Eddie Griffin plays the leader of one gang, the one in collusion with the cops. He's not happy that Seagal is taking out all his guys. The ending is inevitable, as it's only a matter of time before Steven tracks everyone down he needs to a kills them. Veteran character actor and DTV favorite Danny Trejo plays a rival gang leader.

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This wasn't too bad. Seagal was omnipotent in it, which led to some sloppy writing. On the other hand, his Ebonics were hilarious, so it made up for it. The plot: your classic revenge tale, was pretty thin here, even more so when you consider Seagal's omnipotence. On the other hand, Griffin was pretty entertaining, which made for enjoyable viewing.

Seagal was so funny in this, and I know he didn't mean to be. He needs to cut it out with the Ebonics-- I take that back, he needs to speak Ebonics in every film he does from here on out, because I need the laugh factor. "I wanna find da motha'fucka' dat killed my son." How does he expect us to take that seriously? In terms of his action, it was all right considering his DTV work. He mixed in more kicks that he had recently, which was pretty cool. I guess that's something.

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Eddie Griffin is the man. He provides the most entertainment, even more so than Seagal. He's great when he gets mad, and when he's ripping other gangsters off, and when he's communicating with the cops. His lines are hilarious. He has only one scene with Seagal, at the end, when Seagal kills the cop that kills his son, Griffin comes at him from behind, holding a gun. Seagal disarms him, tells him "I have no beef with you", then hands him the gun back and walks off. Griffin replies "That's gangstah." And he's right, it is gangstah.

The crooked detective who kills Seagal's son was the FBI agent in Boa vs. Python. I spent a good chunk of the film trying to figure out who he was. Luckily I was able to remember before looking him up on imdb. I always feel inadequate as a film reviewer when I need imdb for people I should already know. The man's name is Kirk B. R. Woller, and among his other credits, he was in a Nightman episode, played a delivery boy on Melrose Place, and was recently in the critically acclaimed Clint Eastwood film Flags of Our Fathers.

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Segal's son is played by a man named Cory Hart, not to be confused with the popular 80s rocker ("Sunglasses at Night", "Never Surrender"). He was also in the horrible DTV bait-and-switch trade-on-a-good-name sack-of-asscrack Road House 2. I hated that thing with a passion, and probably shouldn't even be mentioning it here. It's the worst kind of DTV film: the one that takes an established classic and remakes it for the DTV market, only calling it a sequel. If I ever see a Point Break 2, it's all over.

I don't know what to tell people about this one. If you're a Seagal fan, it's all right. The Ebonics is great, but you'd really have to be one of those people who worship him to be able to handle his omnipotence, and I'm not really at that level. On the other hand, if you're a big Eddie Griffin fan, you may want to pick this up. I know a lot of my friends aren't, so I wouldn't show this to them. One last note: for some reason Netflix lists this as being made in 1996. It was made in 2007, and if you're looking for it listed chronologically like Netflix does, you'll have to scan further down.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0910934/

2 comments:

  1. This was good fun. I didn't get bored at all during this one. Lot's of generally well executed action. You are right, Seagal was hysterical with all his mudder-fuhkken's. For some reason it was released as "Renegade Justice" here.

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  2. "Renegade Justice", huh? As Eddie Griffin said at the end of the film, "That's gangstah."

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