Beyond The Law (2019)


Beyond The Law
(2019)- *1\2

Directed by: James Cullen Bressack

Starring: Steven Seagal, DMX, Johnny Messner, Chester Rushing, Saxon Sharbino, and Bill Cobbs

Frank Wilson (Messner) is an ex-cop on the edge who has been accused of being dirty. When his son Chance (Rushing) is killed by some baddies, Frank emerges from hiding to track down the men responsible. Frank's tearing up of the town in his quest for answers immediately arouses the interest of Detective Ray Munce (DMX), and a shadowy underworld figure named Augustino "Finn" Adair (Seagal). But how do Swilley (Cobbs) and Charlotte (Sharbino) fit into all this? And who will be BEYOND THE LAW?

The filmmakers behind Beyond the Law really should have known that there is already a film called Beyond the Law. Namely, Beyond the Law (1993), starring Charlie Sheen. Don't people working in DTV talk to each other? But really it's even more telling than that, as it's indicative of an overall lack of creativity. There's nothing in 2019's Beyond the Law that you haven't seen before, and done much better besides. There's no character development, so you don't become invested in their plight or the plot, such as it is. Rather than come up with a fresh take on a standard storyline, or feature interesting characters that you care about, Beyond the Law 2019 just falls back on lazy plotting, trite and childish dialogue, and utterly boring by-the-numbers run-throughs of cliched material.

Yet another modern-day DTV pitfall this falls victim to is the inexplicable phenomenon of low/no lighting. Many scenes are underlit and we as the viewers simply can't see what's going on. This works especially poorly in Seagal's favor, as he tends to wear flowy black shirts. Occasionally he sports sunglasses, there's his classic Eddie Munster hair, and he's quite tan this time around. Sometimes people stand in front of an all-black background. Basically you can't see him.

For about the last 20 years or so of Seagal's career, his movies have centered around seedy nightclubs or strip clubs. There are almost too many to mention. This one is no exception. Why DTV filmmakers continually think this is something viewers need to see is beyond me. Probably it's for the same reason they load up the dialogue with those naughty and ever-so-edgy "swear words" - in other words, the aforementioned laziness and lack of creativity. But Seagal does get to sport his classic Cajun accent. So, there's that. Also he doesn't fight anybody. So, there's that too.

Which brings us to perhaps the greatest sin of all for Beyond the Law 2019: this is what we call a Lacktion movie. The audience is ready for action when they watch something featuring Seagal and Johnny Messner. Seagal even re-teams with DMX after Exit Wounds (2001). But this is no Exit Wounds. Not by a long shot. It doesn't live up to the solid cast.

Probably the person who comes out best in all this is Bill Cobbs. We used to say that he looked like Bill Cosby and even has a similar name. Well, now he's his own man. Somehow he doesn't resemble Cosby anymore and he's by far the best actor on show here. DMX and Messner both have gravelly voices that are fun to listen to, but DMX seems to have lost a step. He was probably in some sort of psychological turmoil after having to wear pink clothing in Joe Arpaio's jail.

In the end, Beyond the Law 2019 is self-serious and features no intrigue, plot twists, or anything whatsoever that would hook the viewer and keep them watching. It suffers in every area or department a movie can suffer. It is a weak entry in the canon of all involved and should be avoided.

Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty

Also check out a write-up from our buddy, DTVC!


Port Film Co-op said...

"For about the last 20 years or so of Seagal's career, his movies have centered around seedy nightclubs or strip clubs. There are almost too many to mention.."

It would be great if he made a film with this subject but directed by Nicholas Winding Refn .. Take a look at his early Pusher Trilogy films.. And then imagine Seagal in them.

Ty said...

That's a funny thought! Love it