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  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL )
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
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Exit Wounds
Roadshow Entertainment/Roadshow Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 124 mins . MA15+ . PAL


Steven Seagal hasn’t had a good run in the action film stakes of late. After a good start with the likes of Nico: Above the Law and Under Siege building a loyal following of Seagal fans, he threw that potential out on its ass with a heap of movies that showed he had gotten fat, slow and philosophical about nature. Unfortunately, karate kicking fat tree huggers don’t translate into box office bucks, and so his career has been in a downward spiral ever since.

In 2001, probably on his last legs and desperate for a film that wouldn’t go straight to video, he starred in Exit Wounds as gungho good cop Orin Boyd trying to end police corruption. After saving the life of the Vice-President in an effective but bloody (and wet) shootout, he’s rewarded by being busted down to work in the city’s worst precinct. It’s here he uncovers corrupt cops in the heroin trade dealing with gangster Latrell Walker (DMX - apparently a rap “legend” ). In his investigations he discovers that not everyone can be trusted and not everyone is who they say they are.

Going in, having heard good things from the theatrical run, I had reasonable expectations for a bit of quality action entertainment. It all starts well with the opening shootout, hinting at what could be, but sadly takes a huge drop straight after. It suffers from a lack of identity, never being quite sure whether to play as a drama, a comedy, an actioner or karate flick. Instead, it has an uneasy mix of all these with far too many unnecessary scenes. The mixture of Joel Silver as producer and Andrze Bartkowiak as director are squarely to blame for this. Between then, with involvement in The Matrix and Romeo Must Die, they’ve simply tried to rip off too many films here. Asides from their own films, they’ve also borrowed from Heat, the Leathal Weapon series, every buddy cop film ever made, and far too many more to mention. Topping it all off are wasted inclusions of wire work and a rapper whose acting makes Seagal look like Olivier.

But don’t get me wrong. It’s not a total waste. You can derive some guilty pleasure from the action set pieces, there are a few laughs to be had, Seagal doesn’t completely grate on the nerves and you can always fast forward to the end and watch Tom Arnold cap off the movie with an hilarious chatshow sendup.


You’ll note right away that you’re in for an absolute ripper of a transfer. The 16x9 enhanced 2.35:1 aspect ratio exhibits a smooth, realistic picture with oodles of solid detail. The colours are great with natural skin tones, but also show vibrant and punchy primary colours around the various settings. There’s also a lot of black on show, from the sets, the clothing, to the cars, and the quality of the transfer shines through with each these rendered with plenty of depth and detail.

Being an action film, you expect an active and dynamic soundtrack to go with the great picture. Exit Wounds adheres to this principal, and the end result on this DVD certainly doesn’t disappoint. The DD5.1 mix is aggressive with plenty of channel seperation, panning, directional effects and surround use. Dialogue is mostly fine. The only problem is the tendency for characters to indulge in softly spoken scenes, making them hard to understand. Because of this, you may find yourself bumping up the volume a little, then turning it down again when the explosions and gunfire kick in. Exit Wounds makes a definite “crank it up loud and piss off the neighbours” DVD.

Exit Wounds doesn't have an extensive selection of extras, but it's still reasonable added value for the package. With The Making of Exit Wounds, a DMX music video, a Theatrical Trailer and A Day on the Set with Anthony Anderson, there’s nothing new or exciting here, and nothing to inspire replay, but they make a welcome addition to the DVD anyway.

The end result is that Exit Wounds falls well short of expectation (mine anyway). It's not an absolute clanger, with some enjoyable moments, but it could have been a lot better had some restraint been shown. As for the DVD, it looks fantastic, it sounds great and will satisfy you if these are your criteria for a simple night of mindless entertainment with beer and chips. For my money though, it’s a renter at best.

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  •   And I quote...
    "The film is tired, clichéd and predictable, but the DVD looks and sounds bloody marvellous."
    - Vince Carrozza
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Sony DVP-525
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Sony STR-DB930
    • Speakers:
          Wharfedale s500
    • Centre Speaker:
          Polk Audio CS245
    • Surrounds:
          Wharfedale s500
    • Subwoofer:
          DB Dynamics TITAN
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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