Steven Seagal (Attack Force, Flight of Fury) and Eddie Griffin (Deuce Bigalow, Norbit) star this no holds barred action, crime-thriller about a man with a dark and violent past who is out for revenge against the murderer o... more »f his son. Max Ballester is a street cop working in the heart of the poverty stricken city who made the mistake of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Gunned down in the street in a senseless act of violence his murder goes unsolved and the killer unidentified. When Simon Ballester (Seagal), a former government specials ops agent, learns of his son's murder, he soon moves into the very neighborhood where Max was killed in order to spend his days asking questions and cracking heads as he searches for the killer of his son. He quickly makes enemies with the local gang members and soon finds himself a target of their hostility. Simon's ability with weapons and his flawless fighting skills prove useful as he uncovers a tangled web of deceit and murder.« less
This is one of the better movies Seagal has put out in the last few years.
Welcome back Mr Seagal, we've been expecting you.
Ollie | Ireland | 09/18/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"While Urban Justice is not without it's problems, the most obvious being the embarrassing DVD cover art, this is the first Steven Seagal film since Exit Wounds to actually remind me that at one point in the action movie world, Seagal was one of the action kings. It's a low budget DTV and as such it suffers. Most notably the script with some dreadful dialogue scenes also interior locations looking like the cheaply dressed sets they are and second rate actors filling out the cast. Concentrating on Seagal, he delivers in the action department. His fight scenes are all Seagal, no body doubles in this one. Arm's and necks are broken, opponents are thrown across rooms and into objects, Seagal is fast without speeded up camera tricks making him all the more believable. I can't remember the last time I saw Seagal lift his leg above knee height, in Urban Justice he kicks several opponents and actually kicks one opponent in the face. I also did not see the large gut so prominent in past DTV's. As for Seagal's acting, as anyone will know, he will never win Oscar but he can deliver a believable performance as much as is expected in a martial arts action movie when he feels like it. In Urban Justice, I did not get anything except Seagal playing Steven Seagal for the first 50 minutes or so but in the last half hour he seemed to make an attempt at giving some kind of dramatic performance and I did begin to believe that his character had lost a son and he was hell bent on revenge. There is also no voice dubbing in this, roughly 5 fight scenes involving Seagal spread out over the running time but the camera at times is to close to see Seagal in his full martial arts splendor which has been diluted with some choppy editing, one very badly edited and unimaginative boring car chase that made no sense, one very brutal and bloody shot out involving Seagal and an entire gang coming to wipe him out and the main one on one showdown at the end with the villain who killed Seagal's characters son. One thing I was disappointed with was that there was no dialogue during the final fight. I would have thought that Seagal's character would have taken some pleasure in torturing the man who murdered his son but it wasn't to be. Eddie Griffin did ok as the villain but the script did not give him any room to do much with his character and he became annoying towards the end. Danny Trejo, looking like a Mexican Charles Bronson appears for about 3 minutes and almost steels the film from everyone and ended up having the best line when one of his girls serves him some drinks. It was good to see Seagal and Trejo back on screen together again since Marked For Death. I have mixed feelings about Urban Justice. I can not stress enough how much of an improvement this is compared to Seagals past DTV's but it's also a low budget DTV with a very generic dead son revenge plot with so so direction, a bad script, and some inferior acting. The dreaded fake driving sequences with rear projection also shows it's ugly head again. There were rumors that Urban Justice could get a limited theatrical release but in my opinion it is strictly of DTV quality and nothing more. It's hard to believe that it's now 15 years since Under Siege but Seagal actually showed with Urban Justice that he is still up to the action challenge so it leaves a bitter sweet taste to see what he can do in an action film but to have to see glimmers of it in some dreadful DTV's that he has been involved with in the past. If Seagal had been making DTV's up to this production level standard this past 6 years I'd say give him another shot at a theatrical release and I'll put my money down and go see it. Urban Justice deserves to do better financial than it is going to do but Seagal has only himself to blame for that as fans left in droves because of the terrible films he has at times been involved with since Half Past Dead. Martial Arts action performance wise this is Seagal's best DTV so far however Urban Justice taken as a whole, I'd have to say Mercenary For Justice and Belly Of The Beast are still Seagal's best DTV's for my viewing enjoyment with Urban Justice slotting into the third spot."
NoWireHangers | Sweden | 10/26/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Seagal's recent direct-to-DVD movies have all been more or less bad. At best they have been watchable. When Mercenary for Justice came out, I thought it couldn't get any worse and then he proved me wrong by doing Attack Force. Many of the movies have suffered from incoherent scripts, bad dubbing (Seagal's character changing voices from one scene to the next) and lack of fighting scenes. I'm glad to say "Urban Justice" (aka "Renegade Justice") departs from this trend. The story is pretty straightforward and there are several scenes where Seagal gives the bad guys what they deserve. The movie is not without flaws (such as a couple of annoying supporting characters and cheesy flashback sequences, and the script could have used some tweaking) but it is definitely a step in the right direction for Seagal. I think most of his remaining fans will enjoy "Urban Justice" and those who gave up on him after "Attack Force" may want to consider giving this movie a chance."
Fans, the waiting is finally over
W. J. Barnaby | virginia beach, va United States | 11/17/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Like most of you reading this review, I am a dedicated Seagal fan who has watched every one of those heinously awful direct-to-DVD things he's been making for the last five years, desperately hoping the newest movie would finally be THE ONE to usher in an entirely new Seagal era. I have loyally watched each film, disappointed to new lows every single time, sighing with disbelief yet also wanting to believe: "One day...one day he'll finally make a great movie again."
Granted, Urban Justice in not a great movie, and I hesitate to call it even a good movie, but compared with those bewildering grade Z letdowns of the last five years where the entire movie should have been left on the cutting room floor, Urban Justice is practically Oscar material.
For one thing, Seagal is actually acting in this one. You can see he's actually TRYING, for a change, to make a movie, instead of standing around like a cardboard cutout. You can actually discern some of his personality instead of those flatline performances he's been giving, especially in the first fight scene where he starts to back away from his attackers while saying, "I'm getting scared...I'm getting scarrrred..." It's actually funny, and THEN - we finally see the first real Seagal fight in five years. It's brief, but it's good - and who ever though we'd see him kick his foot higher than his head again? That's right, and it's no stunt double or trick of the camera. I was so shocked at this simple return to athleticism I had to put the movie in my DVD ROM and study it, frame by frame, just to make sure I wasn't being fooled. Steven Seagal is back in action.
Speaking of the action, most of the fights are fairly brief, but we are finally treated to a longer scene at the end, where we actually see Sensei using some genuine Aikido again.
The story is not the strongest, but at least is a progression of related events leading to a climax instead of the incoherent mess we've been dished out with any post-Half Past Dead release. All of the supporting characters can act; this isn't another outing where you spend more time gagging yourself over the horrible acting, which is just yet one more distraction in an already horrible movie. No, watching Urban Justice was... well, like watching a "real" movie. And at this point, with all the letdowns we've been given during the last five years, this movie is the one I've been asking for to get past the crap and back on track to more great Seagal movies.
To any fellow fan, I say: Watch this movie. It is not like those other disappointments we've had to endure. "
A Good Seagal Movie - Finally Some Justice!
Mike Schorn | APO, AE United States | 09/18/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Yes, Seagal fans, it's true: our hero has finally released a DTV movie to silence his critics and re-affirm his reputation as a genuine butt-kicker. Gone are the convoluted storylines, the lackluster action, and the overall badness of most of his previous DTV ventures. By some miracle, "Urban Justice" is not only well-produced technically but also packs a tight storyline and probably the best supporting cast that Seagal has worked with in years. In a word, the film is compact - no loose ends, no un-needed characters, and no useless subplots to slow down a straight-forward, well-told story.
The story: when his son is gunned down by an unknown assassin, Simon Ballister (Seagal) doesn't settle for the police explanation of a random gang shooting. Packing heat and his martial arts skills, he submerges himself into the 'hood to track down his son's shooter - unaware that he's about to inject himself into a gang war, a state of police corruption, and one of the biggest drug-trafficking rings on the West Coast. What you see above is realy what you get, this time - Seagal pursues the killer without a care to who ordered it or the motive behind it. While this may seem simplistic for a man on a mission with recent Seagal's record, it keeps the story from going off on tangents that have unwelcomely become commonplace in his low-budget features. His relationship with the owner of the motel he stays at (Carmen Serano), the young man caught in the middle (Jade Yorker, Gridiron Gang), and the Mexican gang leader (Danny Trejo, Once Upon a Time in Mexico) are productive and don't hinder the progression of the storyline: he has no friends, no romantic angles, just folks who help him get closer to the killer. Drug lord Eddie Griffin ("Malcom & Eddie") and crooked cop Kirk Woller (Midnight Clear) get some screentime to themselves, but again, it's nothing to slow the film down.
Acting: Solid. Seagal plays to his strengths as a dangerous man on a mission and really comes across as someone you wouldn't want to cross. Kirk Woller is effectively cold-blooded. Jade Yorker gives an exceptionally good performance by playing his character stuck between defiance and vulnerbility. Carmen Serano is no ditz and Danny Trejo makes the most of his single scene. Eddie Griffin, however, is the standout attraction. Best known for playing buffoons and loudmouths, he makes a particularly evil kingpin: he's still Eddie Griffin, tempting you to laugh at some of the things he says, but like a joke ending in death, he convinces you to take him seriously. He's definitely the best villain Seagal has faced in some time.
Action: Seagal gave his stunt double a day off to perform his own aikido for once and proves that he still has it. Though there are only a couple of clear-cut hand-to-hand confrontations with a bit of annoying quick-cut editing to contend with, Seagal performs with straight-edge intensity and renewed vigor, kicking above his head several times while the camera stays on him at key moments to prove legitimacy. The car chase between him and T.J. Jones is definitely among the best Seagal has ever been in. The shoot-outs are old-hat, but successfuly mixing in suspense with some of the later scenes (e.g. Seagal vs. Woller) makes up for it.
Production: To be honest, there's not much to say here, but for a Seagal movie, that's a good thing. It's a gritty look without appearing sloppy. Director & cinematographer Don FauntLeRoy (Mercenary for Justice) has a knack for nifty camera angles and does a good job at capturing the bleakness of urban Los Angeles. A few shots (e.g. the Woller-instigated shootout) are a bit too plain, but these are in the vast minority. No obvious glitches and, thank heaven, no voice dubbing.
What more do I need to say? If you're a fan of Seagal, purchase it with no questions asked. Use this movie to introduce your friends to Seagal. Believe it, it's that good!"
Seagal moving in the right direction
Living in Budapest | Budapest, Hungary (originally Ann Arbor, MI) | 03/16/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"After the truly awful direct-to-dvd films that Seagal has produced in recent years, he has finally given fans a decent film. I'll stop short of calling it a comeback, but hope that it's the start of some better quality productions. There are no surprises in this plot. As usual Seagal is some sort of mysterious guy with some sort of secret background that gives him fighting and weapons skills as well as experience in high-tech surveillance. While nowhere near Oscar standard, the acting was better than in previous Seagal films. Also improved was the general film and production quality. Recent Seagal films have suffered from terrible sound and picture quality. Another improvement is Seagal's speaking. In his last several films Seagal often mumbled his lines. Finally I appreciated the lack of spiritual and metaphysical mumbo jumbo that Seagal has tried to incorporate into recent films. Urban Justice has some decent action/fighting scenes. While the fighting scenes still are not as good as the Above the Law/Out for Justice days, they are also improved over recent years. I really hated the super slow motion then sped up fight sequence of recent years. The scenes in Urban Justice are more realistic and appear to be filmed at normal speed. I've rated Urban Justice 3 stars. It's far from his best film but equally far from his worst."