Out For Justice - Cinematic Cheese Series: #2
Wittgenstein is often accused of toppling the walls of philosophy, his spattering of the truth function, the writhe and wiggle of propositions, the fundamental essence of elements; with his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus he said a big “Fuck you” to his contemporaries still floating around in the bubble of Hegel, or making chilli sauce over Hume’s circular reasoning in induction. He undermined an entire scholarly area with his pronunciation that that which is not overtly fathomable to the human mind, namely certain mystical and emotion phenomena, is simply beyond utterance. An enfeebling of the very things that philosophy was and is about. His rigid logic, often verging on mathematics, lays claim to arranging a way, the only way, that we can theorise life and existence.
With his final line of wisdom a flaming trident straight to the heart of epistemologists and meta-physicists was felt everywhere: “What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence.” Sounds rather obvious that thought outside of human cognizance, the thoughts never thought, are not going to be able to be mentally postulated. However the heavy fists of Manny Kant and Freddy Nietzsche would certainly rip that flaming trident out of the weeping minnows and hit back with a powerful blade of ontological reasoning and the very foundational principles of intellectual inquiry.
Well the very intransigence that Steven Seagal is able to insinuate from his pouting corneas and greasy ponytail in Out For Justice is similar to the hardened math-logic of Wittgenstein. Seagal carries the conceptual notions of tautology in formulations of p and q with exemplary ease of adaptation, his relentless pursuit underlines the very ideas of an understandable logic, truth functions brought real as his altruism never once weakens. Steven Seagal is best known as a martial artist, movie star, and musician, but people all too often forget to add the label of philosopher into that cacophony of definition.
Out For Justice, Seagal’s third motion picture, has a plot of intense complexity, the sort of winding narration and symbolic imagery to make Tarkovsky’s The Mirror look like The Pacifier. Pay attention to each of the following syllables here because it may be easy to lose the thread of explanation. Seagal’s a cop, his name is Gino Felino, his partner is killed, Seagal goes to get revenge.
OK it may not be that complex, but did I mention that the bad guy is from the old neighbourhood, and that he and Seagal have history? Oh yes, things aren’t quite so black and white here, I see at least three tints of yellow and maroon cascading across my television set right now.
The intertextuality that flows from one scene to another is astounding, for example, in one segment we witness Seagal driving around
The film isn’t all about crazy art-house crafting, don’t worry, the dialogue is another area that the creators have not shirked their energies away from. Rather reminiscent of Dostoevsky’s The Idiot at times, the organic roll of words is enough to produce goose-bumps on even the most impassive individual, most of this emanating from the pursed blob of lip near Seagal’s chin. It’s almost taking a leap into the aphoristic qualities of proverb, just gaze your retinal optics towards this piece of truth gifted to us by Seagal: “Don’t be a bad guy, be a nice guy.” It warrants no interpretation, such is the emphasis on clarity that Seagal embodies his very soul into in all that he vocalises.
Seagal would later go out again, in both Out For Reach and Out For A Kill, who wants to stay in anyway? His outings give hope to even the most suppressed and repressed and oppressed masses that see his art, an affirming rarely seen these days, and one that, granted the correct respect and dignity, could end up going on to end world suffering and the mass enslavement of people to commodities and abstract symbols of wealth.