Street Wars review (Blu-ray)

When a young woman loses her life at a rave after taking a massively potent form of ecstasy, it is up to sheriff Elijah Kane (Seagal) – the leader of a special task force – and his colleagues to investigate the death and put a stop to the distribution of the drug before it claims any more victims. The problem is it's not an operation as simple as it may sound. After busting a small-time drugs peddler, Kane and co uncover a highly dangerous network of criminals who, as well as narcotics, deal in kidnap, murder and bribery.

Following Deadly Crossing, which hit DVD and Blu-ray in the UK last year, Street Wars is another feature-length film comprised of the two-part episode of the same title from True Justice, the television series created by Seagal which is yet to air in the States. It's been picked up by Five over here where all 11 episodes are scheduled to be broadcast, but as for now it seems as though the entire first season will continue to be reworked as a number of movies for the home entertainment market, which action icon Seagal is certainly no stranger to.

As for this TV movie of sorts, it's extremely weak on characterisation with Seagal playing the only somewhat realised part. Kane is a veteran of law enforcement whose seen and done it all. He keeps a watchful eye over his team, acting as their professional guardian as well as leader, and offers them sound advice on the direction of their careers and personal lives. He's no wise old slouch, though, and remains an excellent asset in the field. His performance however isn't quite as deep. He hasn't been dubbed over by another actor like in a few of his recent films, but I'm wondering if going with his actual voice was a good idea. Despite co-writing Street Wars in addition to his duties as star, creator and executive producer, he just seems to coast through his role without much effort. Seagal looks and sounds lazy here, as if he wasn't giving 100%, and at times his dialogue is so quiet and mumbled that you can't understand him.

The film has noticeably higher production values than most of the low-budget movies he's done in recent times, but the pretty high definition transfer and CSI-style cityscape transitions do little to disguise a lacking script and performances.

Street Wars will pass the time as minor entertainment, but I would recommend that you wait for the television debut of True Justice as even the cohesion of a two-part episode passed off as a full movie fails to actually feel like one, and instead leaves you with an abrupt ending and an unfinished narrative.

EXTRAS ★ Only the trailer.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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