Renegade Justice (2007)
By: Devon B. on July 14, 2013 | Comments
Sony | Region 2, PAL | 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced) | English DD 5.1 | 92 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: Don E. Fauntleroy
Starring: Steven Seagal, Eddie Griffin, Carmen Serano, Danny Trejo
Screenplay: Gilmar Fortis II
Country: USA
External Links
IMDB Purchase YouTube
I'm not sure if Renegade Justice qualifies as a "Steven Seagal is" title. I think maybe it is, because while he's not the actual justice himself, he is dispatching said justice, so it's kind of like he personifies it. The alternate title of Urban Justice doesn't really help because it's the same grammatical situation. Because I want to err on the side of caution, I will just be referring to the movie as Renegade Justice, not Steven Seagal is Renegade Justice, but if you feel it is worthy of the title, please feel free to mentally add "Steven Seagal is" to the name while reading the review.

In Renegade Justice, a cop photographs other police stealing drugs, and gets shot for his troubles. The shooting was a bad idea, for it was no ordinary cop, but Stevie's son. Stevie turns up and once again he's out for justice, making his presence known by laying the hurt down on those that interfere with his outing (for justice). Stevie's suspicious of the police right away because they're clearly lying to him, but continues to follow leads and break bones as he tries to locate the shooter. Strangely, Stevie is not after the people who ordered the shooting, just the guy that pulled the trigger.

Renegade Justice's streamlined plot helps it stand out from other films in Stevie's DTV era, and it's clear real effort was put into this one. It's easily the best of the DTV era out of the films I've seen (which is most of them), and if it had better production values it would rank right alongside Stevie's first five films. It's clear from the first fight that Renegade Justice means business when Stevie kicks someone and isn't doubled. This isn't a low kick, either, it's high. Okay, so maybe Stevie was doubled for close ups of fists and feet connecting with his opponents, but if that's the case it's not painfully obvious or honestly even that important. The only drawback to this is that some of the fights get a bit jumbled, but that may be more to do with the choreography or direction than the use of a double. It was great seeing Stevie as a menacing force again, and in Renegade Justice his size is actually beneficial. At times he had an intensity that reminded me of Ogami Itto from Lone Wolf and Cub.

The streamlined plot is great, but it does eliminate a lot of the craziness I've come to expect from Stevie's movies. Fortunately there's still some stuff that doesn't make too much sense to keep the unintentional comedy quotient up. Various characters seem confused about Stevie's race, there's a door man that doesn't put up much resistance to barring Stevie from his establishment and Stevie's foes take a good long while before doing the obvious thing to stop the Stevie's storm. Plus there's a car chase that would have to draw police attention but manages not to. Stevie's reaction shots in this chase are pretty funny, and I liked the bit where he suddenly becomes a different guy wearing glasses.

The good far outweighs the bad, though. Even comedian Eddie Griffin does an okay job of playing the villain, except that he sometimes struggles to play the character straight. Another good performance comes from Danny Trejo, returning to face Stevie once again. Unfortunately this time they use words instead of aikido to settle their differences. Stevie and Trejo have been in what, three, movies together now, so that might even be some kind of record.

Renegade Justice is the film that Stevie's early fans have been waiting for. A return to form, this should please all those that left Stevie when he went DTV. It's so awesome, I nearly forgot to mention his ridiculous hair. But then I remembered.
The Disc
The film doesn't look so hot, sporting heaving grain, some spots, some edge enhancement, and a print that's a bit too dark in places to clearly see what's going on. The cheap look of the film gives it a low rent feel, which is the main thing separating it from Stevie's theatrical releases. The audio tracks faired a bit better. The French and English tracks seemed similar to me, but the Spanish was a bit quieter. Because Stevie's back to hand to hand combat there's a bit less opportunity for surround sound, but car chases and gunfire are mixed well when they do turn up. The only extras are trailers for Spider-Man 3, Vacancy, The Contracter, Walking Tall: Lone Justice and Pumpkinhead 4.
The Verdict
If by now you haven't quit reading this review and started locating a copy of Renegade Justice, it better be because you already have it.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
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