Out For Justice (John Flynn, 1991)

posted in: Jocelyn, Review | 0
Steven Seagal stars as Det. Gino Felino, a bad-ass cop who knows all about life on both sides of the law. After the in-cold-blood murder of his partner he goes on a manhunt to track down the crack-head pseudo-mafioso responsible. Hard questions are answered and much ass is kicked when you spend one night in Brooklyn looking for a little justice.

 This is hands-down the BEST Seagal movie that has ever been made. It has everything you could want in an action movie:

  • A larger-than-life yet believable protagonist with more commitment to doing what’s right than any one man could possess (who can act reasonably well, kick major fucking ass and who is fun to watch). 
  • The “Holy shit” antagonist who keeps you on your toes; you never know what he’s gonna do next, so you better stare at that god damn screen cause he’s totally fucked. (the fact that it’s William Forsythe who we all know has ample balls in real-life, well, you’ve just matched up 2 egos that head-butt perfectly).
  • A plausible, interesting story that knows when to amp up the dramatic license and when to stay true to the streets.
  • Realistic dialogue. This is something that most action movies decide to opt out of in favor of cheesy one-liners every time someone gets knocked out or killed. Fuck that shit.
  • Realistic action. Because Seagal’s body is a lethal weapon, he doesn’t need to have fancy rocket launchers, killer robots or some geeky guy in a wheelchair that makes him “toys” to fight the forces of evil. He just needs a shotgun and an unmarked Chevy Caprice to TCB.
  • Supporting characters that serve their purpose without becoming a liability.
  • Action! Action! Action! 
vlcsnap-2013-09-03-20h38m19s13I know you’re thinking to yourself “Nom, I know a good fucking action movie when I see it and ‘Out for Justice’ ain’t it.”
Well, all I have to say to you is that you’re simply and sadly mistaken. I defy any of you out there after reading this review to sit down with this gem-of-gems and not find some newfound appreciation for it.
Am I saying that this movie is flawless in its execution? No.  

What I *am* saying is that even with the flaws this flick delivers in SPADES.  Am I asking you to ignore them? Did I say “despite the flaws” as if I’m lowering my head in admission of guilt and apologizing for them? Hell no! Embrace those cocksuckers because when they smack you in the face it’s just one more opportunity for you to fall in love with something strange and wonderful!

Let’s dissect the opening sequence so that I can illustrate exactly what I’m talking about. 
You have everything you need in the first 3 minutes of the movie:
We have established that Gino loves and cares for his partner Bobby Lupo by the concern he shows over Lupo’s noticeable change in behavior lately and inquiring if he can help.
We get a feel for the kind of man Gino is by the fact that they’re in the middle of a multi-million dollar bust and he’s gonna risk it all so he can save a hooker from her pimp beat-down. You don’t hit ladies on Gino’s watch, even if they are disease-infested whores.


The exchange between the pimp and the hooker is delicious in its unabashed cruelty and violence.

After finding out that said hooker is with child he and the pimp exchange some big-time NY attitude which solidifies not only the tough-guy persona but also the fact that he will fight ANYONE, ANYWHERE, ANYTIME.
At the 2:30 mark things really start to heat up. You have a special treat in store for you at the 2:49 and 2:57 marks respectively.  
That’s right. We have also established that the EXACT same “pimp crying out in pain” sample is used consecutively within a 10 second time frame in the first 3 min of film.
Do you have any idea how fucking sure of yourself you have to be to let that shit slide within the first 3 minutes? That’s the kind of balls this movie has and if you can’t see that yet just wait until Seagal’s steely eyes pierce you through the broken windshield before the title card pops up.



He’s offering you a front row seat to the fucking gun show, baby.  Take it.

vlcsnap-2013-09-03-20h43m27s12Ok, ok, ok. I can feel that some of the more jaded readers out there aren’t convinced. You’re thinking that I just have a taste for trash and that this is no exception. While on some level you are correct, you’re missing the bigger picture.  It’s Steven Seagal!
Early Steven Seagal starring in an action movie just for YOU! This is like getting Jesus to put on a magic show at your kid’s birthday party. Don’t you get it?!
If you have Seagal in his prime you need little else but did they stop there? Hell no! It’s directed by John Flynn, a man who knows how to handle an action movie. Have you ever seen a little movie called “Rolling Thunder”? How about “The Outfit” or “Defiance”? Most genre fans have tasted the fruits of Flynn’s labor and walked away satisfied. When it comes to production values and pacing, the man keeps it high and tight; you couldn’t ask for a better director. It carries the requisite feel of gritty, urban action that never once looks like it slinks off onto a Hollywood sound stage to make the ends meet.

Another area where this movie opted for the high road is in the casting department. From competent to well-equipped they’re definitely a force to be reckoned with. My previous gushing over Seagal and William Forsythe aside, we have the likes of:

Jerry Orbach: THE quintessential NYC cop. He played a cop so many god damned times he might as well have been one.
Gina Gershon: Don’t ever make the mistake of shortchanging her. Despite the fact that she’s fucking gorgeous she’s got some serious acting chops. I love her big hair and filthy mouth in this!
Gianni Russo: Everyone knows him as Carlo from The Godfather I and II but my fellow MSTies out there will recognize him from Laserblast! He is pretty wonderful at playing smug, mouthy fucks that get their comeuppance, this movie is no exception. 
vlcsnap-2013-09-03-20h58m48s9Ronald Maccone: An immediately recognizable character actor, he routinely played gangsters in some top-notch films – Gloria, Broadway Danny Rose, Goodfellas, Casino, etc.
Dominic Chianese: Fuckin’ Uncle Junior! The Sicilian messenger boy Johnny Ola! Fuhgettaboutit!
Julianna Margulies: Everyone knows who she is now but this was her first acting role and she delivered those god damn tears to our doorstep. Kudos.
Nick Dimitri: I went on about him at length in my Stone Cold review! I have no idea why I like him so much (as he’s largely a stuntman and only has very small roles) but he’s so fun to pick out in movies. He makes the most of his time on screen, for sure.
And that’s only to name a few. Keep your eyes peeled for Julie Strain, Kane Hodder and John Leguizamo in bit roles. I watched this movie at least 50 times before I even knew that those guys were in it.

As if you needed any more reason to watch this movie, my non-stop, giddy-as-a-schoolgirl-who-just-learned-how-to-diddle-her-bean frothing at the mouth notwithstanding; there is a bar fight scene that is so gloriously ridiculous and spectacular that it somehow restores my faith in the unquestionable art of the action movie. I still wince like clockwork each time I watch it. I  “Oooh” and “Aaahh” in just as much delight as “FUCK YOU, THAT WOULD HURT!” He fights everyone! He smashes a biker/tattoo guy named Tattoo! He stick fights with a guy named Sticks! You can’t make this shit up; it’s brilliant!

The final shining moment that I will mention is when Seagal gives one of the most intense, jaw-dropping, melodramatic speeches of his career. The sheer absurdity of it is not only comforting and fulfilling to that dirty part of you that secretly devours trash, but more importantly, while you’re wrapping your brain around what you just heard they flip the fucking tables and kidney punch you back into action. Who cares that it made no god damn sense?! He sells it to you so fast and then shows you something else that you’re gonna like even more, you totally don’t give a shit that you just bought a lemon; you’re thanking him for the fucking opportunity.

If you can believe it, I actually had a hard time convincing myself that I should write about this movie. It’s super well-known and pretty universally praised or reviled. I kept arguing that anyone who doesn’t already love this movie isn’t suddenly going to like it based on one review; and then I realized that I don’t really give a shit what any of you think about it. I mean, sure, I’d love it if everyone could see what I see and be entertained on the same level but we all know that just won’t happen. For me, this movie is the consummate cure-all.

Feel like shit, have cramps and want to rip your uterus out?
Out for Justice.
Get into a fight with your boyfriend and want to punch his fucking face in?
Out for Justice.
Drunk on a Tuesday afternoon?
Out for Justice.
Hanging out with your dog on a Saturday night because you lost your license from drinking on Tuesday and you live in the fucking sticks and no one wants to drive 30 miles to pick you up and drop you off and you can’t stay the night anywhere because deep down you hate everyone?
Out for Justice.


While this film might not have won any awards or accolades, while film scholars and geeky, science guys probably aren’t researching the positive impact that a movie like this can have on the human mind; I submit that it is visual/auditory dopamine. If only we could harness the power of Out for Justice, I dare say that we might just make this rolling ball of dirt a happier place.

Official COSDS Nunspank Rating: 


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Jocelyn lives on 35 acres of woodland in an undisclosed Appalachian location. When not boozing it up or fighting the power she's tending her organic garden or collecting punk/soundtrack albums. Her best friends walk on 4 legs. She does not own a cell phone.

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