Steven Seagal's supposed "comeback" film is an action thriller with some intense, expertly-crafted action scenes saddled on to a routine, clichéd plot which never rises above the "good guys battle police corruption" idea which has been done so many times previously (indeed, to highlight the cliché, Seagal's character is even referred to as "Serpico" in one scene). This time, however, the film is slightly different to most in that the budget is larger than usual, and the film has a slick style, a hard edge that's missing from more usual lower-budgeted fare. This time, too, there's an element of humour in the script, with jokes about Seagal's adopted "hardman" persona as he joins an anger management class, and comic supporting characters (not so funny, including one offensive black guy whose lame brained moronic humour definitely wasn't required).
The cast is a better one than usual. Seagal - who lost weight for the role - is in good shape and looks capable of carrying out some of the well-edited martial arts techniques he tries out in this movie, although his acting hasn't changed since his debut. DMX is pretty limited as Leon Rollins, who turns from extreme bad guy to good guy at around halfway through in one of the film's many character twists. The familiar faces of Tom Arnold, Michael Jai White, and Bill Duke pep out the supporting cast, while Jill Hennessy makes for a strong feminine role as Seagal's tough Commander. The loud music is frequently intrusive and one of the film's flaws.
The action sequences, however, are excellent, and worth watching. Beginning with a large-scale shoot-out involving a squad of renegade commandos disguised as policemen and finishing with a clever helicopter stunt, this has it all. There are MATRIX-style camera tricks used to make characters perform impossible manoeuvres, a motorbike chase, an excellent van set-piece which contains one of the coolest vehicle crashes ever filmed, a scene which harks back to the old days with Seagal battling a street gang single-handedly and breaking many arms and legs, plus plenty of shootings and one-on-one battles for Seagal. Thrilling stuff, it's just a shame the story is so familiar and overdone. Not bad for the genre, though.