Pistol Whipped (2008)
By: Devon B. on April 17, 2012  | 
Sony (UK) | Region 2, PAL | 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced) | English DD 5.1 | 96 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Roel Reiné
Starring: Steven Seagal, Lance Henriksen, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Paul Calderon
Screenplay: J.D. Zeik
Country: USA
External Links
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Pistol Whipped is another "Steven Seagal is" movie, as in the title secretly is Steven Seagal is Pistol Whipped. Don't get too worried, Stevie doesn't literally get whipped by a pistol; the title seems to be a play on the term "pussy whipped," like Stevie is controlled by his pistol. The only other title explanation I can come up with is if Stevie's character calls his penis a pistol, because there is one scene where his love interest remarks that Stevie's belly ain't the only large thing on him. Maybe he turkey slapped her with his "pistol," but since this is never specifically stated I'm going with my original meaning for the title.

I had Steven Seagal is Pistol Whipped recommended to me on the Digital Retribution forums by Explosive Action's webmaster, but when the DVD arrived I questioned the recommendation. Stevie is so heavily airbrushed on the cover that they could've just as easily used a painting, and there's no mention of Lance Henriksen on the front even though I can clearly see his face. Why would you not mention the movie starring someone super awesome on the front cover? Expectations lowered, I was about to be surprised.

The film starts with Stevie getting a lecture from a priest. Stevie is an alcoholic cop with a dodgy past, and is in some serious debt because of his gambling addiction. A mysterious man, Henriksen, strikes a deal with Stevie where he'll pay off his debts in exchange for Stevie's services. Sounds pretty sweet, except the first service Stevie must provide is avoid his daughter, which isn't a very nice thing to make him do. Next Stevie has to kill someone, which some would consider to be even worse. It is made clear the target is not a nice guy, but still, it is murder. Thus begins Stevie's new life as an assassin.

As I said before I was in for a surprise with Steven Seagal is Pistol Whipped. I mostly watch Stevie's movies because they make me laugh, but in the movie's first conflict, Stevie effortlessly unarms a henchman while making light of the dude's abilities and I instantly went, "Holy shit! He's Steven fucking Seagal!" I know that, most of the time, Stevie does appear in his movies, but this was the first time I saw the shambling mountain that Stevie has become do any fighting I was actually impressed with. I was hooked, but Steven Seagal is Pistol Whipped isn't entirely a return to form. The film is a slow builder, so is by no means action packed, though a lot of tables are flipped. There are some bad ass moments, and Stevie seems formidable when fighting, using his size to completely overpower any opponent, but if you don't go with the pacing of the story, I could see someone getting bored. If you're just in it for the fighting, this may be one to skip, but, strangely, the fights aren't the only good about the movie…

I'm used to Stevie playing a character that is infallible. His characters might make mistakes here and there, but there's this air of perfection, the worship of Stevie's own ego, that makes them all seem stuck up. I really dug seeing Stevie as a deeply flawed character who really only succeeds when in a fight. The film also has character development, and I'm not just talking about the lead, which is rare for any action movie, let alone a direct to video Stevie flick.

The budget still sets some limits to the production value, but the movie is not low quality. There're some things, like smoke canisters being visible around an explosion and someone who sounds way too American when saying "gweilo," but really the only laughable element is Stevie's hair. I loved this do, which looks like a bad Lego man hairpiece with an awkward ponytail glued on the back, but most of the time I was too impressed with Steven Seagal is Pistol Whipped to really focus on Stevie's hair. Like a lot of later Stevie movies, the plot gets convoluted, and it was bizarre seeing Stevie stick up for a sexually harassed woman given sexual harassment seems to be one of his favourite pastimes, but overall I was impressed with Steven Seagal is Pistol Whipped, and it's the first Stevie movie since Exit Wounds that I enjoyed for its quality, not lack thereof.
At first I thought Steven Seagal is Pistol Whipped suffered a poor PAL conversion, but from the deleted scenes it's clear the film has had some processing put on it. This creates a steady grain and a darkness that makes the film look a bit murky. Black crush also occurs, and there're a few specks and artefacts and some edge enhancement. Overall, pretty ugly, but it doesn't appear to be the DVD's fault.
There're a few different language options, and the English track sounded the best while I toggled through them. The track does provide some ambience, but this is a dialogue heavy film so doesn't wow too often.
Extra Features
This UK Fight Factory release comes with an orange case, which I think is supposed to make it look like an explosion given the firey border on the front cover. This means you can feel less silly when you accompany the opening of the case with fire "woosh" noises or explosions. The disc has a deleted scene and an alternate ending which implies that Stevie can well outdo Richard Gere in the animal hiding game. These scenes aren't processed like the movie, so you get a better look at Stevie's hair. It's fantastic. Also included are trailers for Vantage Point, Love Lies Bleeding and Resident Evil: Degeneration.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
Steven Seagal is Pistol Whipped is, no joke, a good movie. I initially wanted to give the movie a 4 out of 5, but realised I was still enamoured with the fact that this film really feels like Stevie is not only back, but progressing. I've dropped the rating to a 3.5, but I just want to emphasise that, unlike most of my other Stevie movie ratings where they score well because I laughed a lot, Steven Seagal is Pistol Whipped has earned a higher score for its positives not its negatives. The DVD isn't fantastic, but at least some of the blame can be placed on the shoddy film processing, and given I paid about $4 for it I can't complain.

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