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Exit Wounds

Warner Bros. // R // August 31, 2001
List Price: $24.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Aaron Beierle | posted August 17, 2001 | E-mail the Author
The Movie:

One of the most talented cinematographers working in the business, Andrzej Bartkowiak ("Speed", "The Devil's Advocate", "Gossip") recently decided to direct. His high-energy visual style is certainly well-suited to the action genre, which was evenident in the mostly successful Jet Li outing "Romeo Must Die". I was a bit less thrilled when he decided to direct the latest Steven Segal feature, "Exit Wounds". It was an obvious attempt to bring the faded action star back, but I didn't think that the former cinematographer should put his talents to use in service of such an impossible mission. Although Segal had a string of hits in the late 80's and early 90's, his latest efforts have gone directly to video.

"Exit Wounds" did come out with a suprisingly stellar first weekend at the box office, but dropped off from there. The picture is strictly by-the-numbers, a formula action movie whose ground has been covered time and time again. The film stars Segal as Orin Boyd, a tough-as-nails Detroit cop who is strangely demoted from his current role when he saves the Vice President's life.

Boyd is then assigned to the toughest precinct in town, which is ruled over by Officer Montini (David Vadim) and his fleet of brtual officers. It's there that Orin uncovers some shady dealings which may involve Latrill Walker (DMX). Many of the plot elements are strictly standard action fare - the film is a very basic, unoriginal action effort.

Where Bartowiak was working with the speedy Jet Li in "Romeo", here he's working with Segal, who is less than light on his feet. Admittedly, it looks like the aging action hero has lost some weight since his last role, but in this age where Jet Li is an action hero who can move at lighting speed without the aid of special effects, Segal seems less impressive in comparison.

In fact, the only one who delivers a respectable performance here is rapper-turned-actor DMX. With his steely gaze and calm, cool performance, DMX deserves a bigger and better role where he can really show the performance it looks like he's capable of. Where I previously mentioned that "Exit" looked to be an attempt at a renewal for Segal, that's not the only career the movie attempts to save - Tom Arnold also makes an appearance and he's beyond terrible trying to add comedic relief, as is Anthony Anderson, who was much better in "Me, Myself and Irene".

Bartowiak is a director capable of much better than a film like this one. I don't know what he saw in the screenplay, but it doesn't allow him to do anything more than the usual - especially with Segal's limited mobility. Although "Romeo" wasn't Li's best recent effort, either (French director Chris Nahron's "Kiss of the Dragon" was more exciting), that film was a better outing for Bartowiak.


VIDEO: "Exit Wounds" is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen by Warner Brothers, and a very nice transfer it is. Bartowiak has brought back "Romeo" cinematographer Glen MacPherson for his second directorial outing and again, he gives the film a glossy sheen that translates well to this DVD edition. Sharpness and detail seemed especially good throughout the entire film. The picture seemed consistently well-defined throughout the movie, with no inconsistency - at no time, even during the darker scenes, did the movie not provide a crisp image.

The only flaw that I noticed was edge enhancement. Although instances of edge enhancement were somewhat infrequent, the occurances where it did appear seemed rather mild and noticable. Otherwise, there were no instances of pixelation and only one or two tiny print flaws. Colors appeared subdued, but accurate and natural, with no instances of smearing or other flaws. Not one of the best of several fantastic recent efforts from Warner Brothers, but still very nice.

SOUND: "Exit Wounds" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. The film delivers the expected agressive surround-sound momements - no more, no less. During the film's several action sequences, the surrounds are used nicely for the intense sound effects and music. There are several stretches where they are silent, but even during many of the non-action sequences, the surrounds flare up with the music. Audio quality was very good, as the music came through sounding bassy and rich and dialogue and effects sounded crisp and clear.

MENUS:: Basic, non-animated menus with the score in the background of the main menu.


Making of "Exit Wounds": This is an 18 minute documentary that is only a little beyond the usual promotional fare that are included on DVDs. Interview footage with the majority of the cast and crew is included, but for the most part, they discuss the story that we've just seen. A few minor bits of on-set footage provides some interest, but that's about it.

A Day On The Set With Anthony Anderson: This 8 minute documentary has Anderson taking us through what a day on the set of the movie is like. Unfortunately, where this could have been a legitimately interesting effort showing what a production is like, the majority of the time here focuses on Anderson joking around. In one sequence, he has his driver take him around while he shouts to people on the street, asking if they recognize him. No one does.

Also: DMX's music video for "Ain't No Sunshine"; Trailer; cast/crew bios.

Final Thoughts: "Exit Wounds" has a few decently staged moments of action, but in a time when there are several action stars more talented than Segal, his work here is less than thrilling. Bartowiak gives it his all, but he can't do much with either his star or his screenplay. Warner Brothers presents a fine DVD, with good audio/video quality and a decent group of extras. Fans of the movie will be pleased with the DVD, but others should probably take a pass or, at most, a rental.

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