Beginning with the tragic murder of a young man, we are introduced to multiple characters who are all somehow connected to the murder. Firstly we have Augustino “Finn” Adair (Steven Seagal), an ex-mobster attempting to live a new life as a professional businessman. Detective Ray Munce (DMX) is the leading man and first officer on site of the tragic murder, and lastly, a man named Frank Wilson (John Messener), is an ex-cop and father of the young person who was brutally murdered.
Several mysteries are introduced at the start of the film, especially when it comes to the murder. Why was he murdered, and what was this young man into or who was he dealing with under the radar that wanted him dead? Based on the actors in this film, many movie lovers will be surprised to find John Messener cast as the lead character Frank Wilson. When Frank receives word about his son’s death, he decides to equip himself and head into town using his skills, wits and experience as a cop to conduct an investigation and seek justice for his son.
Beyond the Law gives the appearance of being an action-packed blockbuster, but sadly, this film is more of a crime story with plenty of wordy yet uninteresting dialogue. While I was excited to see our leads in this film, I was shocked to find how little I found myself caring about anything or anyone on-screen. The plot is incredibly vague, and it has plenty of gaps in this story, especially during the opening act. Was this done on purpose to try to build mystery, or is it just all poorly written? Either way, my investment level was fairly low even when the film started with a shocking death- something that should have hooked me. Beyond the Law fails to be gripping or engaging on every level.
Visually, the vast majority of this film is quite dark. Many scenes are set at night or in clubs, and our leading hero often enjoys wearing a cap, making it even more challenging to see elements such as facials which I felt was an odd choice. The same can be said whenever we see actor Steven Seagal talking at his desk, as we see just half of his face at times. Those who love rap and gangster music will certainly enjoy some of the musical tracks throughout the film.
Overall, what should be a gripping and mysterious film is ultimately filled with dull and vague moments. As a crime thriller, this film fails to hook its audiences from the start, even when something tragic occurs. Steven Seagal and DMX are here to deliver cringe-worthy but still somehow fun and threatening dialogue consistently. Their lack of screen presence will only sadden fans of the leading actors as actor John Messener takes the lead for most of the film. Sure, little moments of entertainment can be found here, but the film is also highly forgettable and slow for the vast majority.