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Street Wars DVD ReviewPosted on Wed, Apr 20, 2011 at 8:43 am
by IDMA Editor
Release Date (UK DVD) – 25th April 2011
Certificate (UK) – 15
Country – USA
Runtime – 86 mins
Director – Keoni Waxman
Starring – Steven Seagal, Kyle Cassie, Peter Graham-Gaudreau
Ask any film fan what springs to mind when they hear the name Steven Seagal and nine out of ten of them will likely think of any number of martial arts action films from the late 1980s / 1990s. His is a name synonymous with cop-based action and set piece martial arts battles in the urban “jungle” of the metropolis. While Seagal’s acting has never been the reason his fans love his films so, they do at least expect a fair amount of action, and no small amount of martial arts.
Out this month then, is Seagal’s latest DVD release Street Wars — or to give it its full title, True Justice (part 2): Street Wars. Fans of Seagal’s previous work will be pleased to know Seagal hasn’t slipped too far from his traditional formula here. He stars as Elijah Kane, leader of an undercover team of Seattle-based cops who target major criminals, taking them down with their own unique brand of brutal street justice. Kane and his team are in a race against the clock to uncover who is behind the toxic “E” pill spreading through Seattle. Before long however it soon becomes obvious that the toxic “E” pill is the least of their problems, as they discover corruption within their own ranks whilst also dealing with the threat of a major crime lord terrorising the city streets.
One of the first things that is noticeable when watching Street Wars (aside from Seagal’s jet black hair…) is that this is very much a film apart from his previous works. Where other films of his follow a typical “gritty” formula of cop justice with full-on martial arts sequences, Street Wars in particular seems rather lacking in the main thing that makes Seagal films so popular: martial arts. Viewers will also notice very early on, that the film bears a remarkable similarity with the new wave of U.S. cop shows that have been flooding our T.V. screens over the last few years. This becomes especially noticeable early on when Seagal visits the scene of a death and we are treated to a series of slick cuts very much out of the C.S.I / N.C.I.S book that attempts to give the film a very high-tech, fast-paced, “edgy” feel.
And it’s while considering the film’s stark similarities with C.S.I. et al that we discover the film’s major flaw. Street Wars is not a film. It is a compilation of episodes of Seagal’s recent T.V. series of the same name. Shot like a T.V. show with a very distinctive T.V. “feel”, I certainly on more than one occasion found myself asking: why? There is not a single aspect to Street Wars that, in my mind at least, warrants its release as a feature. There is no compelling reason for anyone interested in watching a good cop action film to actually considering buying or renting this “film”. The plot was clearly not conceived with the big screen in mind, and fans of cop-shows would be much better off watching the likes of C.S.I or N.C.I.S. — each of which offer far slicker, far better written alternatives with better action and a greater intensity. So I ask myself again: why?
If you’re a fan of Steven Seagal, then there might be something in this film for you, but even Seagal fans will likely come away from this latest offering feeling disappointed. If it’s cop action you want, then you would certainly be better off looking elsewhere.
Street Wars is out on DVD and Blu-ray on the 25th April.
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