Friday Fisticuffs: Exit Wounds (2001)

Exit Wounds has everything! And by that I don’t mean,”It has everything you want in an action movie,” but more so in a “You’ve seen literally everything in this movie in other movies” sense. Even so, consider yourself SPOILER WARNED for the rest of the post. The idea here is that bad-for-business cop Steven Seagal is transferred to an urban precinct as a punishment for throwing the Vice President off a bridge (to save his life, mind you). While there he befriends a cop played by Isaiah Washington (the homophobe from Grey’s Anatomy) and finds himself going up against reputed gangster DMX and his business partner Anthony Anderson. BUT, are they really the bad guys? No, of course not, that would be a small army of dirty cops who have a drug laundering business where they soak T-shirts in liquid heroine before shrink wrapping them and shipping them all over the world. Get it? LAUNDERING. Anyway, as it turns out, DMX is actually a genius website guy who uses his fortune to fund his own police force to keep the streets safe.

That’s actually the most interesting part of the movie, he’s kind of a black Tony Stark or Batman with a whole group of people working undercover for him. Unfortunately this makes up for only a very small portion of the film. Had it focused mostly on these guys with an early second act reveal or something, that would have been awesome.

Instead, the film hits all the cliches. Ridiculous opening scene that gets Seagal in trouble, angry cop boss, overly rowdy inner city precinct, an actual scene of him as a crossing guard (something that’s usually just a threat), a run in with the established cops in the locker room, one guy standing up for him, way too many dirty cops to go unnoticed. Oh, one of the two — I forgot to mention there were two — cop bosses actually gives the good ol’ “I don’t risk my ass protecting these people for a measly $40K a year” speech. Luckily there’s still a good cop boss to come in and save the day (huge bonus points for the casting of Predator‘s Bill Duke, who’s always awesome). You, of course, also get the final bad guy match ups with the heroes. Seagal takes on Michael Jai White while Washington goes after the main dirty cop guy. There was another dirty cop who was big and blond and looked like he could kick some ass, but that doesn’t fit into the equation, so they simply shoot him.

So, no, the plot is in no way new or different. And, in fact, neither are the fight scenes, really, they’re just taken from a different kind of movie. The final Seagal and White fight is really strange in that they both find these giant swords to fight with which directly leads to White doing some insane wire-fu flips where he hangs in the air for far too long. An odd choice for a surprisingly real world-based action flick. Another odd choice is the fact that the fights between good guys and bad guys mirror each other so specifically. While Seagal and White fight with swords, DMX fights a guy using shotgun as a blunt weapon. The deaths of the main bad guys are also very similar as one falls from a helicopter onto a pipe and the other gets kicked into a while with a neck-level spike.

Even so, this was kind of a fun movie to watch. DMX is actually really good in it as is pretty much everyone but the wooden-as-always Seagal. If you were so inclined, you could play a pretty fun renegade cop drinking game to this movie with a bunch of friends and have a good time. I laughed more times that I was intended to and didn’t have to pay a lot of attention, so it served it’s purpose well.

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