Portrayed by William Forsythe in Steven Seagal’s fourth film, Out for Justice (Flynn, 1991), Richie Madano is a drug-fuelled homicidal thug.
Richie brutally shoots and murders Bobby Lupo in front of his family – Lupo is the long-time friend and police partner of Steven Seagal’s character, Gino Felino – this murder establishes the film’s central theme (and storyline) of revenge, or justice, as the film’s title suggests – this is the first violent presentation of Richie in Out for Justice.
With regards to appearance, Richie with his awful (clearly dyed) jet black hair, dresses in a fashion that I would consider to be a “small time thug” in this film – he never wears any formal or smart clothing, but rather an overcoat with a scruffily sweaty shirt tucked into a scruffy pair of pants. The connotation of this is that his appearance is not something that is high in his priorities, but instead, he champions the narcotics and number of kills he possesses – this fuels his self-elitism within the streets of Brooklyn. In an early scene, an impatient driver shouts at him and his crew to get a move on in traffic, so he then exits his vehicle and shoots her in the head without hesitation – the convenience for him to kill someone out of nowhere, and witnesses afraid to do anything, to him is POWER and something that elites him from other thugs and degenerates in the area (and film).
In Out for Justice, Richie’s goals are somewhat interesting – after learning of his girlfriend sleeping with Bobby Lupo, he kills them both – that, getting high with his crew, and then on the run from Gino appear to be his goals throughout the film.
Now, William Forsythe delivers not just a violent and detesting performance, but a comedic one. Despite some violent and truly disgusting occurrences, Richie riding a wheelchair and using a “crack-pipe” is hilarious to observe. Of course, the use of narcotics is wrong, but William Forsythe’s portrayal of this use is just mind-blowingly hilarious – dressed in scruffy clothing, riding along in a wheelchair within a “crack den”, and being hunted by a revenge-fuelled, pony-tailed Steven Seagal adds to the theatrics of the film, or blackest of black comedy –as black as Richie’s dyed hair, perhaps. The dialogue tends to be humorous as well – especially from William Forsythe and Steven Seagal. The way Forsythe mumbles, “Oh shit, it’s Gino.”, and Seagal shouting, “This is your trophy!” whilst showing off his police badge to thugs in a sleazy bar is just completely (and deliberately) ridiculous, but humorous.
Out for Justice as a whole is a fun one – it’s in that early era of Steven Seagal films prior to Under Siege (Davis, 1992), which he primarily wore blue jeans with a black jacket or just a black lightweight outfit, and was surrounded by at least one form of Italian background.
Ultimately, Richie Madano is a legendary over-the-top B-movie villain from the last 25 years, but an obscure villain in the history of action cinema, 90s cinema, and even within the history of Steven Seagal’s film career – Under Siege’s Gary Busey and Tommy Lee Jones tend to be the most recognisable villains.
Below is Richie:
Below is Gino looking for Richie:
The original article can be found here.