Story: Frank (Johnny Messner) has a dark and violent past that he isn’t proud of, a past that somehow, his son is also falling into. His son had gotten involved with some ruthless criminals and in the process, stole some cash from Adair (Steven Seagal), a powerful crime boss. This sets into motion a lethal series of events, as Adair’s own son Desmond (Zack Ward) kills Frank’s son. Now Frank has to return to the streets he tried to hard to escape and reach out to an old friend Munce (DMX), to help him bring justice for his son’s death. But can Frank manage to dive back into that dark world and if so, are things really as simple as they might seem?
Entertainment Value: I checked out Beyond the Law based on the eclectic cast present, with Steven Seagal, DMX, Sean Kanan, and Bill Cobbs on the lineup and as it turns out, the cast proves to be the main and perhaps only reason to visit this flick. The narrative is predictable and follows a basic revenge plot, so don’t expect any surprises, but it does what it needs to do. I was never hooked in or invested in the story however, as it never rose above that basic level, so I was left hoping to see cool things happen around the cast, which to be fair, does happen sometimes. DMX is overly dramatic and fun to watch, but Steven Seagal’s oddball turn here is what sells Beyond the Law, adding unintentional humor and even surreal vibes, he is that off kilter here. The action is simple and not memorable, usually just a basic shootout or small scale set pieces. Aside from the goofier moments here and there however, Beyond the Law is hard to recommend.
As is often the case in his direct to video movies, Steven Seagal is featured on all the promotional material for Beyond the Law, but he is not the lead role here. Seagal has a decent amount of screen time and is part of the narrative, but he more or less just shows up here and there. Even so, he at least gets some of the cooler moments in the movie, rattling off one liners or dramatic kills, though of course, he manages to bungle even those opportunities. Seagal busts out an outlandish accent that wanders all over the place and to his credit, makes even the most mundane lines come off as hilarious. So to me, this is a successful effort from Seagal, as he is fun to watch even if his performance is abysmal. The cast also includes Sean Kanan, Johnny Messner, Bill Cobbs, and DMX.
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