Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Fight of the Week: Bar Scene in Out For Justice

The current Fight of the Week belongs to our favorite arm breaker, Steven Seagal, in one of his earlier films, Out for Justice (1991).  Seagal plays a cop named Gino who's grown up on the wrong side of the tracks in Brooklyn, New York and who's childhood friend Richie (William Foresythe) has become the city's local crime lord/mafioso. In an effort to track down his friend turned arch-nemesis, Seagal begins asking questions in the local bars that he knows to be fronts for Richie's drug business. Needless to say, a fair bit of ass kicking ensues.

    There are several key factors in this bar room brawl that set it apart from your typical Seagal vs. 20 henchmen fight scene, the first being the hilarious manhandling tactics that Seagal uses to taunt the mafia underlings into giving him information. For example, we've got some great verbal abuse with an over the top Brooklyn accent,

"You know why your brother aint here? 'Cause he's a chicken shit fuckin' pussy asshole." Or the ever effective "Is this your new girlfriend?" when referring to the aging bar hag sitting next to your target.

Not to mention some creative uses of space as Seagal pushes greasy haired mobsters into pool cue closets while he strolls the bar room floor bouncing a cue ball from time to time. This cue ball becomes pivotal in the second key factor of the fight scene which pits Seagal against every man in the bar with his cop badge as a trophy to the goomba who can kick his ass. Up until the moment I saw this fight scene as a 14 or 15 year old kid, I had always been curious what a cue ball to the head would do to a man (having owned a pool table as kids, Casey and myself would often speculate on this), and Seagal answered that curiosity in spades as he wraps a cue ball in a bar towel and proceeds to knock the teeth out of oncoming henchmen. 

    Of course, no Seagal fight scene would be complete until the token martial arts expert that the mafia keeps on staff (not to mention the only asian guy in the bar) takes a crack at the big man. Now for those of you who haven't seen this movie, I don't want to spoil it for you, but it turns out that Steven Seagal is more than a match for this guy. In fact, Seagal totally fuckin owns him.

    Obviously this battle is just one of many in Seagal's repertoire. And while it isn't necessarily the best (don't get me started on the knife fight in Under Siege), it is a great example of Seagal in his element, acting to the best of his ability while leaving a trail of blood and mayhem in his wake. For those of you looking for an in depth study of this master of disaster, allow me to recommend this comprehensive guide: Seagalogy.  I think you will find it to be both informative and entertaining.

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