Directed by: Roel Reine
Starring: Steven Seagal, Lance Henriksen, Renee Goldsberry, Mark Elliot Wilson, Arthur J. Nascarella, and Paul Calderon
Matt Conner (Seagal) was a good cop, but he got kicked off the force. Now a gambler and alcoholic, he still wants to be a good dad to his daughter Becky (Jordan). When a shadowy figure known only as “The Old Man” (Henriksen) offers to clear his gambling debts in exchange for a few “favors”, i.e., killing some gangsters around town, Conner agrees. Now dealing with complicated alliances between The Old Man’s henchman Blue (Calderon), Drea (Goldsberry), and fellow cop and husband to his ex-wife, Lt. Steve Shacter (Wilson), Conner has only his wits, propensity for violence, and considerable girth to help him through this mess.
Connecticut is a small state and not a lot of movies (at least with high visibility) are shot here. So the good news is, they shot a movie in our lovely state. The bad news is...it’s Pistol Whipped! Yes, Steven Seagal comes to the Nutmeg state, and, well, left with all the Nutmeg. While, oddly enough, the CT can boast having the movies Friday the 13th (1980), I Spit on Your Grave (1978), and Last House on the Left (1972) shot here, thus becoming a hub for twisted “video nasties” of the 80’s, how far we’ve fallen when we now have to play host to a sullen Seagal.
While shot in the towns of Bridgeport, Stamford and Norwalk (all fairly close to New York City), for some reason Matt Conner (or perhaps Seagal making an acting choice) has a Cajun accent. On top of that, he whispers most of his lines unintelligibly. You actually need the subtitles on the DVD. And when you read what he supposedly said, you say, “he said that? I didn’t hear it.” How did the subtitle people know he said that? And we watched it in surround sound! Dripping water was louder than Seagal’s voice. Or whoever’s voice it was. You actually need the subtitles so you don’t miss lines like “Clean as a Safeway chicken!”, whatever that means. But the point is, it seems Seagal was trying to channel the coolness of Michael Madsen here. But Seagal is so low-energy, he makes Madsen look like Richard Simmons.
But it’s funny to watch not only his daughter, but the characters of Drea, and his ex-wife fall for his mumbly, unlikable charm. On top of struggling with the gangsters, he’s also struggling with his weight issues, as his flowy bowling shirts prove. But we don’t want to be mean and pile on with the “Seagal is fat” narrative (any more than we already have), because there’s plenty of other things we can talk about. Such as his odd hair, for example.
Now, for Seagal standards, this movie is okay, but because it is an action movie from the 2000’s, it must have CGI silliness, fast motion, editing tricks, and green screen stuff. All of which, needless to say, detract from the movie. We suppose it was trying to be gritty, but the overall effect is more cheap and junky. Plus, the movie is repetitive and goes around in circles. And it’s repetitive. It would have been cooler if Lance Henriksen played the Matt Conner part, and Seagal played “The Old Man”. It was nice of Henriksen to show up for the few days he must have been there, but the movie could have used more of him.
You probably have a decent idea of what to expect with Pistol Whipped (Spoiler alert: no one gets actually pistol whipped in the movie), so if you can convince a friend or two to spend some time with a newer Seagal (and a lot of alcohol), this might just be the pick for you. Go Connecticut!
Comeuppance Review by: Ty and Brett
Also check out write-ups by our buddies: DTVC and The Video Vacuum!