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Out for Justice Reviews

Shot under the awkward title "The Price of Our Blood" (a phrase alluding to one of those honor things), the generically named OUT FOR JUSTICE represents a genuine step forward for Steven Seagal films. Gino (Seagal) grew up in Brooklyn, a poor kid surrounded by wiseguys and made men. And he stayed, even though he became a cop while most of his playmates grew up to be gangsters. They have an understanding, and everything works just fine. His wife--who's not a local girl--has trouble understanding Gino's ties to the neighborhood; that's why they're on the verge of divorce. It's all personal to him and he's got to do what needs to be done. When a fellow cop (and a childhood buddy to boot) is gunned down on a street corner in broad daylight and in front of his wife and children, Gino is more than mad, more than grief-stricken ... he's insulted, and there's going to be hell to pay. Everybody knows who the killer is: it's Richie Madano (William Forsythe), a local bad boy with ties to the Mafia and a wicked crack habit. And everybody knows he's not going to leave the neighborhood. The only question is who's going to get him first. Will it be the police? Will it be honorable old Don Vittorio's henchmen? ("One who would murder a man in front of his family--an animal, a beast!" the disgusted Don mutters.) Or will it be Gino? It doesn't take much to figure out where the smart money is. Nor does it take much to imagine the course of Gino's search for Richie's whereabouts. "Anybody here seen Richie?" he demands of a bar full of lowlifes, including Richie's brother. They all refuse to provide information, so Gino punches, groin kicks and stick-fights until every last one of them is a bloody heap on the floor. He still doesn't know where Richie is, of course, but their attitude problem has been addressed in a decisive manner. Just to make sure viewers don't think Gino's an animal too, he rescues an adorable puppy abandoned by its heartless owner and tells his wife a sad story about his father. Then it's back to brow-beating, pummelling and blowing away various Brooklynites until it's time for the inevitable showdown with Richie. Where Steven Seagal's earlier films tended to dullness, OUT FOR JUSTICE is a perpetual motion machine of body blows and splattering blood. Even allowing for the occasional sappy discussion of God's sense of humor ("Isn't it funny, the way things work out ..."), the action rarely flags. The supporting cast of Butchies, Frankies, Bobbies et al. is colorful and largely expendable; most of them expire in a decorative splatter of blood. OUT FOR JUSTICE's only real weakness is Seagal himself. Always an icon rather than an actor, Seagal's face appears puffy and he's developing jowls. This doesn't bode well for his future as an action hero, since looks count; ugly guys are relegated to the heavy roles, and it's hard to imagine Seagal settling for such an ignoble fate. (Excessive violence, profanity, sexual situations.)