Revisiting Out for Justice By Paul Findlay and Jamie M Macdonald

It is very of its time and back in the early ‘90s Martial Arts in American cinema was more of a kickboxing style.

After NYPD detective Gino Felino’s (Seagal) partner is killed he goes to hunt down the man responsible. A man from the neighbourhood they both grew up in.

Released in 1991 this is Steven Seagal’s 4th film. It is directed by John Flynn, who made two of Jamie’s favourites, The Outfit and Rolling Thunder. This work has a very simple premise but it is one that works well for the genre as it is designed to move the action along at a good pace.

Compared to Marked for Death this piece has a lot more of the hand to hand fight scenes that we all look for in a good action film. The two standout scenes are the fight in a butcher shop and the fight in the bar, in fact the whole of the scene in the bar is, we think, the standout scene of the film. Not only does it contain some well choreographed fights it has an injection of humour that works well for the characters. It also has an appearance by Dan Inosanto which is almost a blink and you will miss him part. Both Jamie and I remember watching this as young men and liking it for the fight scenes but going back and watching it now they seem quite slow and static compared to what is being done today. It is very of its time and back in the early ‘90s Martial Arts in American cinema was more of a kickboxing style. It was fresh at the time but perhaps Aikido is not the most kinetic of styles to showcase on film.

As with other Seagal movies we feel it is the supporting cast which elevates this work above what used to be called “straight to video” films. The cast of Out for Justice includes Jerry Orbach, Gina Gershon and was the screen debut of Julianna Marguiles who went on to become well known for her Role in TV show E.R but for us the standout is William Forsythe as the main villain Richie. He plays the part brilliantly and stays on the right side of over the top which this part so easily could have been. According to the trivia section of the films IMDB page Seagal cut some of Forsythe’s scenes because he felt he was being upstaged by Forsythe’s performance.

Out for Justice is a solid ‘90s actioner and one of Seagals better films.

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