Whoever coordinated Steven Seagal’s ”new look” in Exit Wounds should have paid more attention to his hairline: That wedge is starting to resemble brown velour that’s been put through the washing machine. Seagal shows his age in Exit Wounds — he’s pudgy enough to make some of those martial-arts leaps look as if they were shot in an antigravity space station — but he also exhibits the throwaway surly charisma that made him a sort-of star. Cast as a misfit cop, he gets more than enough enemies to confront with his soft-lipped scowl.
The director, Andrzej Bartkowiak (Romeo Must Die), keeps the action mean and fast, staging fight scenes with lots of ominous makeshift weapons (pipes, a pair of industrial steel gizmos shaped like samurai swords). In its low-grade way, this blithely brutal cops-and-drugs thriller is an efficient hot-wire entertainment. The rapper DMX, cast as a drug kingpin who is not what he seems, shows true command, understating his lines with an authority as cruelly elegant as his cheekbones, and Jill Hennessy (speaking of cheekbones) takes the minor character of Seagal’s precinct commander and invests her with an intelligence and a flirty warm panache that sparkles on screen. With the right role, Hennessy might just be a movie star.