Seagal's Simple Simon
Even fans of Steven Seagal will admit some of his movies are howlers making it a bit of a lucky dip as to whether a movie will be any good or not. It also means that when Seagal appears in a movie which is an improvement on the norm it ends up feeling great when in truth it is barely average which is the case of "Urban Justice" sometimes known as "Renegade Justice". What makes "Urban Justice" an improvement is that Seagal does more of his own action and where a body double may have been used the editing is sharp enough to disguise the fact, something which has let down a lot of Seagal movies in the recent past. And adding to the improvements is the fact things are kept simple, we have no complicated plot just Seagal going after whoever killed his son, not the most taxing of stories. But the simplicity goes in its favour to make "urban Justice" feel like a return to the days where Seagal movies were entertaining because of the action rather than laughable for being cheap.
When L.A. cop Max Ballister (Cory Hart) spots some cop corruption during a dodgy drug bust he takes photos of what he sees but unfortunately that night he is murdered in what looks like a gang shooting. Max's mysterious father Simon (Steven Seagal - Flight of Fury) shows up at the funeral and despite the police report putting it down to a gang shooting sets about uncovering who it was who killed his son so he can get justice.
It almost seems wrong to say this but part of the reason why "Urban Justice" works is because it is uncomplicated. So we may have this set up of cop corruption as we discover Det. Frank Shaw is working with gang leader Armand Tucker but what it all boils down to is a father looking for justice. And that is it, even little twists such as Simon befriending street punk Gary who's brother works for Armand adds little to the movie.
What this means is that we get what most people want and that is Seagal walking through the movie and kicking a lot of butt as he tries to find out who killed Max. And what is more important is that this time we have Seagal doing a lot more of his own fight scenes with it clear to see that it is Seagal throwing snappy punches and kicks. Now maybe some of these fight scenes feature a body double which in the proceeding movies had so clearly been the case but the editing is also a lot sharper so that if a body double is used it is not so obvious.
But in a way that is it, Seagal as Simon refusing to back down from confrontation and going after his son's killer. The fact that Eddie Griffin plays Armand Tucker and Danny Trejo plays a rival criminal called El Chivo add nothing at all to the overall picture. But ironically after a string of disappointing Seagal movies it is all you really need, simple story and plenty of hand to hand fighting with the addition of the pretty Carmen Serano as Alice who befriends Simon.
What this all boils down to is that "Urban Justice" is still not Seagal at his best but it is a huge improvement on many of the disappointing action flicks he has appeared in. So if you are a fan of Seagal and are tired off those movies where he doesn't even do his own action "Urban Justice" is worth a watch purely to watch Seagal flick out a through snappy fight moves.