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DVD Review: ‘True Justice: Deadly Crossing’

★☆☆☆☆

Well, first let me explain that True Justice: Deadly Crossing (2010) is not a ‘movie’ in any traditional sense of the term, more the left over footage from a failed television show created by action movie legend-come-self-parody, Steven Seagal. Essentially the first and second episodes from the shelved TV cop show True Justice, Deadly Crossing bears all the hallmarks of its lowly origins.

From the cheesy intro – cut together from footage which actually appears in the film and complete with a southern jazz track performed by Mr Segal himself – to the budget effects and gaunt-looking locations, you’ll feel well removed enough from the cinema screen to perhaps forgive some of the faults I’m about to lay out.

True Justice: Deadly Crossing follows the adventures of the heroic Elijah Kane (Seagal), heading up an undercover police unit in Seattle charged with tracking down a band of ruthless, Russian drug dealers. I’d like to tell you more, but really, there’s not a lot else to say.

The team, compiled from a fairly generic set of characters (complete with the requisite eye-candy in the form of two predictably attractive female officers) essentially just run about the city, bouncing from strip joints to night clubs, beating up anyone with tattoos…and that’s it. When they’re not stood around their HQ spouting empty ‘tough guy/mean chick’ rhetoric, they’re heading out to the nearest seedy-looking bar or club to rough up some thugs and gain more ‘information’ – on exactly what, I’m not quite sure.

Neither particularly intricate or especially coherent, what story there is within True Justice: Deadly Crossing has to be taken largely for granted, as the audience is rarely clued in as to how one scene leads to another or how each event is connected to the next. Seagal seems to have come over all Marlon Brando in his old age, muttering almost every line of dialogue into his chest and forcing the viewer to rewind every fifteen minutes in order to grasp any vague snippet of meaningful information.

Using this ‘film’ much as he has every other (as a platform on which to publicly stroke his ego), Seagal rolls out his favourite character mould: the improbably “bad ass”, stoic yet somehow charismatic special forces type. Not an unusual action hero archetype, I’ll grant you, yet Seagal never seems content to just kick ass and let the matter rest, instead insistent that the remainder of the cast discuss his legendary status whenever he’s not there to showcase it in person.

While some scenes play out with genuine intrigue, overall, True Justice: Deadly Crossing is predictably poor and Seagal’s “awesomeness” doesn’t even approach believability. Draped in black to hide those creeping, middle-aged pounds and restricted to pulling off all of his martial arts with just his arms (or so it would appear) you might feel a nostalgic longing for classic titles like Under Siege (1992).

Nowhere does this become more starkly apparent than in the two gorgeous, twenty-something women cast as Seagal’s (now fifty eight) on-screen love interests; a  misjudgement that gives rise to some remarkably unconvincing – dare I say it, embarrassing – chemistry. Methinks it’s time to put Seagal out to pasture.

Matthew Groizard