The Steven Seagal Urban Justice DVD Review

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Seemingly out to prove that elders can unmistakably kick simultaneous butts too, Steven Seagal turns up in the hood to set a multi-culti assortment of gang bangers straight, Looking dapper, mean and bulked up in a leather trenchcoat, Seagal hasn’t let up over the years in still stylishly wielding his smooth aikido moves, cracking multiple ribs around town without cracking anything more than a smile himself on his own reliable anatomy.

Variously titled Once Upon A Time In The Hood and Renegade Justice, Don E. FauntLeRoy’s bruising crime caper opens with the puzzling drive-by execution of a young LAPD street cop, who happens to be the son of the mysterious and subsequently revenge-obsessed Simon Bannister (Steven Seagal). Bannister rents a dive deep in the hood to set up shop as a free lance investigator into the murder, and immediately gets pegged as Paul Bunyan on the wrong side of town.

And as a conspicuous white guy interloper on inner city territory, Bannister is set upon by Latino and black gangs alike, when not being played by both of them, each group claiming that the other guys did it. Seagal and Danny Trejo as El Chifo, the local main man on the Chicano side of town, ignite mutual high energy vibes between them in a slick verbal streetwise tango. And Eddie Griffin as the ticking time bomb reigning psycho mobster, is so bad that he’s awfully good, with an uncanny knack for mixing comic funk with toxic talk and assorted terror tactics at all times.

Urban Justice is a cut above the usual kick butt orthopedic surgeon’s wet dream. Seriously dark and demented characters, including Seagal’s own bitter self-described bad boy anti-hero, flaunt loads of weird personality, macho excess and sinister conversational humor.

SONY Pictures Home Entertainment

Rated R

DVD Features: Anamorphic widescreen, 1.78:1. Several DVD and theatrical previews.

Prairie Miller is a New York multimedia journalist online, in print and radio, who reviews movies and conducts in-depth interviews. She can also be heard on WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network's Arts Express.