After the excellent URBAN JUSTICE, it seemed that Steven Seagal had his work cut out to keep making good movies. Let me tell you from the get-go, PISTOL WHIPPED is as equally good, with (despite it's lower budget) better production values (although i suspect Urban Justice was given a grittier, raw look on purpose?) Seagal plays Matt, a disgraced ex cop, who been sliding off the tracks, since his suspension. He's been gambling and hitting the bottle, and most importantly, ignoring his estranged wife and daughter. It seems that, despite his shortcomings, Matt is still a proficient bad-ass, but he's more of a bad guy, than he'd care to admit. Suddenly his gambling debts have caught up with him, in the shape of a shady businessman (great cameo by Lance Henrickson) who offers to clear the debts, if Matt will 'terminate with extreme prejudice' some wise-guy mafioso type. Being of dubious morals, Matt undertakes this job (fearing for the safety of his daughter) and in true Seagal-style, opens up the required whup-ass on said contract. But it doesn't end there......Matt's new mysterious employer wants more people 'taken care' of....including his ex-wife's new husband (a fellow cop, and one of Matts friends) But is his friend everything he seems?
Seagal fans will enjoy this one, as it give the stout sensei a chance to relax, let it all hang out, and play (as in OUT FOR JUSTICE) a scummy anti-hero, who's far worse than the bad guys he's taking down. Yet there's a genuine warmth between Seagal and his on-screen daughter (proving he can be a good natural actor, when he drops his defences) Seagal plays the part perfectly (a crying shame he's been making duff movies in Romania) when PISTOL WHIPPED is one of the lowest budgets he's worked with. Director Roel Reine has a good visual eye, and if anything, it proves that Seagal can work in the confines of a low budget, provided (as we've always known) he ditches the 'wrong element' around him (the 'yes' men) These people have gladly cashed cheques as Seagal has been involved in some truly dire projects of recent. Good to see you back on track Steven....stick with directors/people that give a damn.
All in all, PISTOL WHIPPED is a great Seagal (biff-em-up) thriller, with it's lead showing (as Stallone has done likewise) that age is nothing but a number (some of the fights here are extremely brutal) and Seagal has lost none of his trademark speed, or for that matter, wit (check out some of his dry dialogue....very funny for fans of the genre) and it's comforting to see Seagal playing a flawed (allbeit, still untouchable) character, who's not a straight-laced good guy. Once again, i have a SEAGAL movie, that survives repeated viewing, and one to show off to my mates. All in all, Big Lee gives this great movie 10 out of 10