Seagal's a Goodfella after a Badfella
After a day of watching supposedly good movies which only end up disappointing one thing will guarantee to entertain me, that is Steven Seagal. A Steven Seagal movie is nothing special, they work to a formula and in more recent years have often been entertaining for being bad but they do entertain. "Out for Justice" certainly entertains despite being another formula driven movie which whilst serving up a story which sees Seagal's character out for justice after the death of his partner is really more about the bone crunching action than anything else.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Det. Gino Felino (Steven Seagal - Above the Law) knows the streets as he grew up with half of the punks and is respected by the crime bosses who he leaves alone. But that all changes when best friend and partner is gunned down in front of his wife and children by a whacked out hood Richie Madano (William Forsythe - Once Upon a Time in America). Taking matters into his own hands Gino hits the streets and anyone who gets in his way as he goes after Richie, but the local Mob bosses are just as interested in getting to Richie before Gino does.
So the truth is that "Out for Justice" came at a time in Seagal's career when his movies whilst predominantly were about the action also tried to conjure up a reasonable storyline. As such whilst we have this familiar set up of Seagal playing a man looking for justice, or in truth revenge, we also get a bit more storyline to it than Seagal just going from one scene to another beating people up. We have the mystery as to why Bobby was gunned down in such a public manner and also why the local mob bosses want to get Gino first. It's not much but when you compare it to some of Seagal's more recent and totally mindless action movies it helps.
It also helps that in 1991 Seagal was still doing his own action and wasn't over reliant on a body and voice double. In fact back in 1991 Seagal was tall, lean but more muscular than he had been a few years earlier and the action was sharp, admittedly violent but exciting even when highly telegraphed such as when Gino walks into a pool hall full of heavies you know how the scene will play out. And there is just enough action so that whilst some of it is daft, as in a car chase under a Brooklyn bridge, it never just becomes one action scene after another.
But aside from "Out for Justice" being a decent Steven Seagal movie it does little favours for the rest of the cast. William Forsythe spends the entire movie with his eyes shut whilst Jerry Orbach as Gino's Captain is barely in it.
What this all boils down to is that "Out for Justice" is another formula driven Seagal movie but coming early on in his career it benefits not only from a storyline but also Seagal doing his own action.