Exit Wounds is one of those movies that you just have to shake your head at and let out a chuckle, because to do otherwise would be giving it too much credit, and it’s a movie that certainly deserves very little credit for anything. If there were awards for the Worst Casting and Goofiest Movie, Exit Wounds would clean up without batting an eyebrow. The movie is one big clich’ after another and the casting is so off that one has to wonder if there were any casting directors present when actors were being screened.
The movie opens with Steven Seagal, playing the improbably named Orin Boyd, saving the Vice President’s life from certain death at the hands of assassins. Boyd is subsequently reprimanded by the police chief and demoted for his selfless heroic action (huh?). One wonders what would have happened if Boyd had failed to save the VP’s life? Is that death by firing squad?
The chew out scene has no reason for being in the movie other than to demote Boyd to a tough inner city precinct and to ensure that the filmmakers will follow their unspoken pact of throwing every single cop movie clich’ in the book at us. No sooner does Boyd land at his new assignment that he learns his commander is not only a woman, but also the beautiful Annette Mulcahy (Jill Hennessey). Boyd is sentenced to anger management therapy (I guess saving the VP’s life is considered a bad thing?) and before he knows it, has embroiled himself and everyone in his precinct in a dangerous case involving crooked cops, missing dope, and a dot.com millionaire looking for a little justice.
If casting the model-beautiful Hennessey as a cop wasn’t a strange (re: stupid) enough choice, Hennessey, who can’t be more than 32 (at best), is also the boss of the whole precinct! As if to top Hennessey’s casting as one of the worst in moviemaking history, Exit Wounds’ filmmakers do one better and casts rap star DMX as Latrell Walker, the dot.com millionaire. Forget for one moment that DMX looks like he’s never seen a computer before, much less get rich off one. The rapper’s acting is atrocious and leaves me to wonder if his casting was all about drawing in the urban black audience and the suburban white kids with delusions of being black. Who am I kidding. Of course it’s all about the demographic.
If you could get over the awful casting, how about another clich’ in the form of a young naive rookie black cop who partners up with Boyd to “learn the ropes.” Oh, and did I mention that Boyd and Hennessey’s Mulcahy will eventually “fall” for one another? Sure, why not. It’s in the Big Book of Cop Movie Clich’s, isn’t it? In fact, I wonder if Big Book of Cop Movie Clich’s wasn’t Exit Wounds’ original title? If the film had enough good laughs, you could almost call it a spoof of Cop Movies.
Exit Wounds also had me laughing at its one-liners. Of course, saying that those one-liners belong to Exit Wounds is like saying all those songs Puff Daddy “samples” belongs to the “rapper.” Exit Wounds boasts a number of funny one-liners, but unfortunately they’re all stolen from other, better movies! Trust me, ladies and gentlemen, you will know which one-liners I am talking about if you happen to see the film. (Which, if you are wondering, I’m actually not recommending. Not even for these funny thefts.)
Director Andrzej Bartkowiak does manage to give us a visual treat. The movie is slick and glossy and very good to look at, indicative of a big-budget Hollywood film. Bartkowiak’s last movie was the Jet Li actioner Romeo Must Die, which utilized a similar method of appealing to the urban black and suburban wigger audience. Bartkowiak has a very good eye for staging action and using bright colors, but unfortunately he still hasn’t been able to develop the good sense to steer clear of badly written scripts and guys like DMX.
As far as acting goes, Seagal acquits himself nicely, which in itself is a big surprise, let me tell you. This is old hat for Seagal, and he walks through his role with the same gritting teeth and narrowing eyes that he uses in all of his movies. DMX, as previously mentioned, has no idea what his role is, and doesn’t seem to be able to muster up enough talent to perform any one scene with believability. Although I hear he’s a good rapper.
Exit Wounds is certainly a good movie if you’ve never seen one single cop movie before in your whole life. If you have, then Exit Wounds will seem like (because it is) nothing more than recycled trash. At least it looks good, and the violence is pretty hardcore, even for a Seagal movie. And although it is indeed quite bad, it could almost be so bad that it’s good. Maybe.
Andrzej Bartkowiak (director) / Ed Horowitz, Richard D’Ovidio (screenplay)
CAST: Steven Seagal …. Orin Boyd
DMX …. Latrell Walker
Isaiah Washington….George Clark
Anthony Anderson….T. K. Johnson
Michael Jai White….Sgt. Lewis Strutt
Jill Hennessy….Annette Mulcahy