Out for Justice

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Out for Justice
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJohn Flynn
Produced by
Written byDavid Lee Henry
Music byDavid Michael Frank
CinematographyRic Waite
Edited by
Distributed byWarner Bros.
(Time Warner)
Release date
  • April 12, 1991 (1991-04-12) (United States)
Running time
91 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$14 million[citation needed]
Box office$39,673,161 (USA)[1]

Out for Justice is a 1991 American action thriller film directed by John Flynn, and produced by and starring Steven Seagal. The film is about a veteran police detective who vows to kill the crazy, drug-addicted mafioso who murdered his partner. It marked Julianna Margulies's film debut.


Gino Felino is an NYPD detective from Dyker Heights, Brooklyn who has strong ties within his neighborhood. Gino and his partner Bobby Lupo wait to bust up a multimillion-dollar drug deal. However, Gino sees a pimp violently assaulting one of his girls and intervenes. Shortly afterward, Richie Madano murders Bobby in broad daylight in front of his wife, Laurie, and his two children.

Richie is a crack addict who grew up with Gino and Bobby. He has become psychotic and homicidal due to rage and drug use, and seems not to care about the consequences of his actions. Richie then murders a woman at a traffic stop because she abruptly tells him to move his car. He heads off into Brooklyn alongside his goons, who are horrified by what he does but continue to work alongside him.

Gino knows that Richie is not going to leave the neighborhood. Ronnie Donziger, his captain, gives him the clearance for a manhunt and provides him with a shotgun and an unmarked car. Gino visits his mob connection Frankie and his boss Don Vittorio, and he tells them he will not get out of the way of their own plans to take out Richie, whom they view as a loose cannon. While driving, Gino sees a fellow driver discard something moving from his car. Upon investigating, Gino rescues an abandoned German Shepherd puppy.

Gino starts the hunt for Richie at a bar run by Richie's brother Vinnie Madano. Vinnie and his friends all refuse to provide information, so Gino beats up a number of them. He still does not find out where Richie is, but his concern about getting an attitude problem has been taken care of. Gino attempts to get Richie out of hiding by arresting his sister Pattie and by talking to his estranged, elderly father. Richie later comes back to the bar and beats up Vinnie for not killing Gino when it was one cop against a bar full of armed men. He also has info leaked to the mob that he is at the bar, then emerges from hiding and ambushes the mob's hitmen in a shoot-out.

After visiting a number of local hangouts and establishments trying to find information, Gino discovers Richie killed Bobby because Bobby was having an affair with two women – Richie's girlfriend, Roxanne Ford, and a waitress named Terry Malloy. When Gino goes to Roxanne's home, he finds she is dead. Gino believes that Richie killed Roxanne before he killed Bobby. Gino goes to Laurie's house and tells the widow what is going on. In Laurie's purse, Gino finds the picture that Richie dropped on Bobby's body after killing him. It turns out that Bobby was a corrupt cop who had wanted a money-making lifestyle like Richie's, and Laurie knew Bobby was corrupt. Laurie had found a picture of Bobby and Roxanne having sex. She had given Richie the picture out of jealousy, never expecting Richie to kill Bobby for sleeping with Roxanne. Laurie took the picture away from where Richie dropped it on Bobby because she wanted to protect her husband's reputation.

Following a tip from his local snitch Picolino, Gino eventually finds Richie in a house in the old neighborhood having a party. Gino kills or wounds all of Richie's men. Gino then finds Richie and fights him hand-to-hand. After beating Richie senseless, Gino finally kills him by stabbing him in the forehead with a corkscrew. The mobsters arrive soon after, also intent on killing Richie. Gino uses the lead mobster's gun to shoot the already-dead Richie several times, then tells him to return to his boss and take credit for Richie's death.

Gino and his wife adopt the puppy as a family pet, naming him Coraggio (Italian for courage or bravery). While out walking, they encounter the same man who abandoned the puppy earlier, and Gino confronts him. When the man attacks him, Gino defends himself, knocking the man down. Gino and his wife laugh as the puppy urinates on the man's head.



Out for Justice
Soundtrack album by
various artists
Released1991 CD
GenreSouthern Rock, Rap
LabelVarèse Sarabande
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars [2]
1."Don't Stand In My Way"Gregg Allman4:10
2."Shake the Firm"Cool J.T.3:28
3."Bad Side of the Town"Sherwood Ball3:56
4."When The Night Comes Down"Todd Smallwood2:26
5."Puerto Riqueño"Michael Jiminez2:36
6."Dime Corazon"Ali Olmo3:54
7."Temptation"Teresa James4:02
8."Long Way Home"Louis Price4:10
9."The Bigger They Are (The Harder They Fall)"Cool J.T.2:46
10."One Good Man"Kimberli Armstrong3:30
11."No Sleep till Brooklyn"Beastie Boys4:09
12."Main Title"David Michael Frank4:02
13."One Night in Brooklyn"David Michael Frank3:39
14."Final Encounter"David Michael Frank4:25


John Flynn later claimed the original title was The Price of Our Blood, "meaning Mafia blood. That was the title that Steven and I wanted, but Warner Bros. said no. It had to be a three-word title like the other Steven Seagal films (Above the Law and Marked for Death)."[3][4]

The movie was originally much longer and included more plot and characters. Steven Seagal cut some of William Forsythe's scenes because he felt that Forsythe was upstaging him. Also, Warner Bros. brought in editor Michael Eliot to re-edit the original cut of the movie so that it could be shorter and more profitable on box office. Eliot did the same job on couple other Warner Bros. movies; Wes Craven's sci-fi horror Deadly Friend (1986) and Mark L. Lester's action movie Showdown in Little Tokyo (1991). Some scenes were deleted and some others were cut for pacing, this is why there are two montage scenes with no dialogue in the movie. Re-editing also caused some minor continuity mistakes. The theatrical trailer shows two deleted scenes: Richie shooting inside a clothing store from which he took a new shirt (in his first few scenes he's wearing one shirt, then all of a sudden he's wearing another shirt for the rest of the movie), and a scene where the police captain tells Gino that body count is going up. Some TV versions of the movie included two deleted scenes: Richie stealing the new shirt from store because his got blood on it (also seen in trailer), and Richie and his guys breaking into the house where Gino's wife is and trying to find her but leaving when some neighbors show up.

Flynn later recalled:

I really liked working with Bill Forsythe and Jerry Orbach and all those guys in the car who played the killers. But I didn't get along with Steven. He was always about an hour late for work and caused a lot of delays. We shot until October 31, 1990, because an IATSE strike was threatened. (IATSE stands for International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts. - Ed.) Warner Bros. told us we had to be on a plane by November 1. So we shot for about a month in Brooklyn. The rest of Out for Justice was shot in and around south Los Angeles. We filmed those scenes on Lacy Street, in a slummy area of old wooden buildings that could pass for Brooklyn.[3]

Whilst on the production set, Seagal claimed that due to his Aikido training, he was 'immune' to being choked unconscious. It has been alleged that at some point Gene LeBell (who was a stunt coordinator for the movie) heard about the claim, and gave Seagal the opportunity to prove it. LeBell is said to have placed his arms around Seagal's neck, and once Seagal said "go", proceeded to choke him unconscious.[5] After refusing to comment for many years, LeBell confirmed the story in 2012.[6] Whenever Seagal has been asked about the incident, he has constantly denied the allegations.[7]


The movie received generally negative reviews.[8][9] It was originally rated NC-17 for its brutal and graphic violence.[10] Several cuts were made for the film's release overseas. In the United Kingdom in particular, several of the gruesome action scenes were trimmed for the video release, cutting the duration by 54 seconds. It was later released uncut for DVD.

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 23% based on reviews from 22 critics.[11] On Metacritic the film has a score of 38 out of 100 based on reviews from 12 critics.[8] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[12]

Box office[edit]

The movie debuted at Number 1 at the box office.[13] This was the third straight Seagal movie to make number 1 at the U.S. box office on its opening weekend. In the United States the film grossed $40 million, falling short of the box office receipts of his last release, Marked for Death.[14]


  1. ^ "Out for Justice (1991) - Financial Information". The Numbers.
  2. ^ AllMusic
  3. ^ a b Harvey Chartand, "Interview with John Flynn", Shock Cinema 2005 accessed 16 February 2015
  4. ^ Marx, Andy (9 October 1992). "Two-word title twice as nice for Steven Seagal". Variety.
  5. ^ http://www.mixedmartialarts.com/news/390705/Gene-LeBell-talks-Steven-Seagal-s----ing-himself/. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  6. ^ Mancini, Vince. "Judo Gene Lebell confirms choking Steven Seagal until Seagal pooped himself", uproxx.com, published 3/12/12. Retrieved March 18. 2015.
  7. ^ "Gene LeBell is an a------ if he said I pooped my pants". Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  8. ^ a b "Out for Justice". Metacritic.
  9. ^ Maslin, Janet (1991-04-13). "Review/Film; Spotlight on Lowlife, Then ZAP!". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-12-14.
  10. ^ "Story Notes for Out for Justice". AMC. Retrieved 2017-02-03.
  11. ^ "Out for Justice (1991)". Rotten Tomatoes.
  12. ^ "Cinemascore". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on 2018-12-20.
  13. ^ Fox, David J. (1991-04-16). "WEEKEND BOX OFFICE : Steven Seagal Scores Another Hit". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-25.
  14. ^ Maslin, Janet (1991-04-28). "Review/Film; Out of a Coma, Still Dapper and Disarming". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-12-14.

External links[edit]