Back to Main
Back to Reports

 

 

There aren't many videogames that can match the top-tier quality of the Metal Gear series, much less those boring old watchfests known as "movies", but I think you'll agree that Urban Justice starring Steven Seagal has, in at least five respects, entirely surpassed it.

 

5. Black Characters

Metal Gear Solid 4 probably thinks it's "the shizzle" for featuring Drebin (also known as Chris Tucker with white hair) as one of its main characters. He wheels and deals, has no moral compass, and—just for good measure—has a belching gray monkey wearing a diaper as a sidekick. Oooh, how original!

Eddie Griffin: classic.Urban Justice doesn't settle for something that derivative and silly. Instead, it features a gun-happy gangster drug lord who wheels and deals, has no moral compass, and—just for good measure—does the best Tony Montana impersonation you've ever seen! Just look at him. At first you're like, "Whoa, did they use CG to replace Eddie Griffin's face with Al Pacino's?" But then you realize it's just pure acting talent. That's how you keep it real, homeboy.

He even has a believable backstory, which he casually sums up in a single sentence at a completely inappropriate point in the movie: "Santa never brought me no presents, that's why I sell dope." Can you say instant street cred?

But before you mistakenly jump to the conclusion that every black character is a one-dimensional stereotype in this flick, think again: there's also a conflicted street kid who helps out (but ultimately misleads) Seagal. For the fun of it, we counted the number of times that this character said the word "man" in a scene, which was probably less than a minute in length. The total was 27. That averages out to one "man" every two seconds! "Yo man, it's like, man, this shit is crazy man." How many times did Drebin say the word "man" in MGS4? For a black guy who has that many long ass monologues, there should've been at least 500, just to give it that true feeling of blackness. Or at least one Tony Montana impersonation.

 

4. Special Effects

I know what you're thinking: Konami spent millions of dollars on all of the models, backgrounds, animations and explosions of MGS4, so how could Urban Justice, with its relatively low budget, possibly be more impressive? Well you're probably also wondering why Eddie's character felt macho enough to do a Scarface impersonation too, and the answer is the same for both:

See that? That's what it looks like when Armand Tucker shoots some no-name guy because he's paranoid and doesn't trust him. Needless to say, in this movie you know when someone gets shot. Ouch! Does the human body even contain that much blood?

Think about it: in Metal Gear Online I'm always wondering whether I've hit my target or not. It's infuriating! If only it utilized Urban Justice's photorealistic bloodsplosions I'd know that my PSG-1 was doing its job!

Sometimes when I'm watching Urban Justice I like to imagine that I'm a blood-spatter analyst for the city's homicide forensics unit. I think about how I'd explain the fountains of blood that sprayed in completely inconsistant directions from a single gunshot. Surprisingly, it's a lot more fun than imagining I don't hate the ending of Metal Gear Solid 4.

Other great effects in Urban Justice include muzzle-blasts, explosions, and Steven Seagal's kicks.

 

3. Flashbacks

Every tragic hero needs to have flashbacks in order to remind the audience of why he kicks so much ass compared to us. Solid Snake has like a million of them in Guns of the Patriots, but they're uninteresting and predictable. Simon Ballister, on the other hand, has only a few flashbacks, and they look something like this:

Also, Steven Seagal riding a horse. Need I say more?

 

2. Close Quarters Combat

It would take a whole series of articles to explain how much cooler Steven Seagal's ninja moves are than Old Snake's, so we'll just boil it down to some basics:

He kills a fat guy with a camel clutch.

It's not part of some interrogation process, or even called-for, really. He just sits on the guy's back, puts his hands under his chin, and bends him backwards until his spine snaps. It's like, "Aw, snap!" except literally. What you got, Snake?

And sure, Snake and Seagal both like to grab guys' dicks as part of their fighting method, but only Seagal kicks a guy's genitals 15 times in a row. I know the video says "dozen", but if you listen you can hear the other ones. Hell, Seagal has proven to be the ultimate master of thwarting testicles! Just look at this fan montage of his nutcracker skills. And this is on top of an already impressive array of punches, chops, disarms, high kicks, low kicks, roundhouse kicks, etc.! Snapping necks and sleeper holds are also common in Urban Justice, so don't think Snake has the upper hand there. There's just no way he'd lose to such a washed-up loser.

That reminds me, Seagal ages much more gracefully than Snake does. He still gets all the ladies, impresses the bad guys, and can drive backwards while shooting at this dude. He's not a pawn in some orchestrated plot to overthrow the New World Order or some shit, he's just out for brutal justice, and he knows how to get it! Although I did notice that he neglected to have sex with a hot asian woman in this movie, so maybe he's losing his edge after all...

Nah, he probably was just too focussed on avenging his son.

 

1. It Meets Your Expectations

The biggest way in which Urban Justice is better than Guns of the Patriots is because it actually delivers on its premise. You won't walk away from the movie saying, "I waited six years and bought a Playstation 3 for this molarchy?" I mean, you probably wouldn't use the word molarchy even if you did feel that way, but still. Six years and a Playstation 3.

In this movie you get everything you'd want and more: a four-minute car chase with no music whatsoever; a black kid keeping pace with a truck full of rednecks for 26 seconds straight; guns that have 10 bullets in the clip but fire at least 50 without reloading; and that's just for starters!

Take this picture for example. I know it may look like Steven Seagal is smashing in the skull of a homeless man who just finished pleasuring him orally, but in actuality its a touching scene where Simon Ballister gives a crippled homeless man a sandwich and a bottle of whiskey out of the kindness of his heart. "Come back and visit me some time," whispers the completely irrelevant beggar who was introduced solely for the purpose of making Seagal's character seem generous towards the less fortunate. "I will," replies Ballister, walking off to do more dick kicking.


Or if that's not good enough, how about the fact that Seagal is repeatedly given such flattering appellations as "Paul Bunyan", "Obi Wan", "Superman", "Sensei", and of course, "Cool Mothaf--ka". I wish people called me those things. Old Snake just gets mocked and beat up in MGS4. How disappointing.

Urban Justice also never cops out with crappy explanations for how things work. To the left, for example, is a program that Ballister has running on his laptop which shows a real-time satellite feed of just outside his apartment building, with night-vision. The little green shapes are the program's visual representation of the gangsters that are about to walk single-file into his endless gunshots.

We don't need a half-hour pseudo-scientific explanation for how he acquired this laptop, or the program running on it, or the dedicated satellite that it's linked to! We just need to know that some serious shit is about to go down, and he's ready for it thanks to this gizmo! Eat your heart out, Soliton Radar System. You can't tell me this isn't better than the "please-shut-up-and-die-already" speeches about FoxDieJustKidding or some vague "System" that still makes zero sense after hours of talking about it. Watching MGS4's cutscenes are like punishment compared to Urban Justice's to-the-point asskicking.

And that's the bottom line, really: do you want to get pumped up watching unapologetic bloodbaths in the name of (urban) justice, or do want to get bummed out by preachy existentialism on the meaning of life and war? If you picked the second one, then you need to arrange a meeting between Simon Ballister's foot and your balls.

 

Rent or buy Urban Justice at your local videostore; it should be in the "Action" section, unlike Guns of the Patriots, which you can find under "Tedious Melodrama".

 

Back to Metal Gear Solid 4

 

All original content © Terry Wolfe, 2008. Metal Gear, Metal Gear Solid and all related logos, characters, artwork, etc. © KONAMI CORPORATION
This is a fansite, and nothing on this site is intended for sale or profit.