Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Mission of Justice (1992)

Mission of justice poster


Out of Uniform. Out of Control.

Movie Review:

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This is some simply superb early 90's action right here. I truly couldn't ask for much more with this movie. The action was fast and flowing and of a high standard. The story was honest and simple, never trying to be more than it sets out to be. And most importantly, Mission of Justice is never boring. It also never slides into the realm of tackiness by sending Wincott off to strip clubs or including pointless sex scenes.

Jeff Wincott is Kurt Harris, a cop who is partnered with Lynne Steel (played by karate expert Karen Sheperd; Blood Chase, Righting Wrongs, Cyborg 2) arrests a guy for beating his girlfriend. Harris' Seargent chews him out for this because the guy was a good snitch and sets him free. He immediately goes back to his girlfriend; Harris and Steel (great combo!) race over to protect her but are too late, he's already beaten her to death. When Harris brings him in a second time and gets chewed out yet again by his Seargent, he punches him in the face, earning him suspension. Harris opts just to resign.

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We are also introduced to the Peacemakers; a sort of martial-arts peace-keeping vigilante group from the "Mission of Justice" that appears to have the approval of the city to act as its guardians, and is helmed by Dr. Rachael Larkin (Brigitte Nielsen; Red Sonja, Rocky IV, Cobra), also an aspiring mayoral candidate. One ex-Peacemaker, who left because he didn't agree with Larkin's methods, is boxing champ Cedric Williams (Tony Burton, a real-life boxing champ and also the trainer of Apollo Creed in all Rocky movies) and good friend of Harris. He's paid a visit by the good Doctor who wants him to come back to the team but he won't have a bar of it. After receiving a thrashing from Rachel Larkin's henchman (and brother perhaps?) Titus Larkin, played by the always good Matthias Hues he remains unconvinced and is killed by Nielsen with twin blades to the neck.

What ties the two stories together is Harris, who goes to see the scene of the crime, finds a flower near the crime scene. Later that night he spots the same flower on TV being worn by none-other than mayoral candidate Dr. Rachel Larkin. Putting two and two together, Harris decides to pose as an aspirational member of the Peacemakers and gain revenge from within.

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Jeff Wincott seriously brings his A-game to this one. In fact this must rank up there as one of his best. His martial arts skills are on great display throughout and yes, he actually beats people senseless with those two sticks he's holding in the poster. There is very little gun fire in the movie outside a few thugs with handguns; it's just arse kicking and face punching. A real testosterone filled movie. Wincott stays within his acting limits and that makes his character more believable. Any emotive scene is kept to its bare minimum; about the only cornball scene in the movie is the right-out-of-the-cliche-book segment when after he learns of the death of his friend, Harris sits on his couch with a bottle of whiskey getting hammered, looking lovingly at a photograph of the two together. He then gets pissed off seeing the Doctor on the TV and hurls the bottle at it.

There's very little (intentional) humour in the movie though on this occasion that's fine. Outside a few one liners that are hardly worth mentioning, Wincott et. al. keep their straight faces on. Brigette Nielson isn't playing for laughs at all, but you do have to giggle a little at her evil portrayal of the Doctor. She keeps boot-licking lackys at her side at all times and could easily pull off an eyepatch and stroke a cat on her lap. Whenever she is in 'thug' mode and out protecting her assets she has her hair tied back and up, which makes her look exactly the same as her character in Rocky IV.

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Part of Harris' induction into the Peacemakers is a running of the gauntlet fight that sees him punch and kick out about twenty armed men; totally awesome fight scene, right up there with the best. There is also a kick-arse fight in a car chop-shop that's just nuts and vintage Hong Kong style 'everything but the kitchen sink' action. Wincott uses whatever he can pick up to bludgeon or incapacitate his assailants; electrical cord, neon lamps, pieces of car. Guys get thrown into piles of boxes, chucked out windows, it's just great. And did I mention that Matthias Hues is in this? He's always a sign of classic bad action and his contribution to Mission of Justice is no different. He even speaks a few times which must be a highlight in his career, and he's in it enough so that I don't feel cheated.

Special mention must go to Karen Sheperd who doesn't let Wincott take all of the action. She's very good at her martial arts, right up there with Cynthia Rothrock. Another skilled martial artist in the film is Harris' new Peacemaker buddy Sal (Jeff Pruitt, an accomplished stuntman and bit-part player in Martial Law, Sword of Honor and Wincott's Open Fire) who also displays great skills in arse-kickery. Mission of Justice is a great fun movie with plenty of re-watch value.

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The Video:

I watched the new release Australian disc put out by RAAM Multimedia. It sports a clear 4:3 transfer though there are some scenes that look claustrophobic enough to indicate this was probably filmed in widescreen. The audio is also clear and the punches crack nicely on the stereo soundtrack. I noticed a small video glitch about the ten minute mark but it was only there for a few seconds. Runtime approx. 90 minutes.

Sourced From:

Go-Lo variety store for a whole $2 RRP.


More Screens:

I think I've successfully captured the feel for this film with the following collection of 'fight-faces'.

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  1. Great review Sutekh! The two big action set pieces you pointed out have aged remarkably well and the film had just enough camp to be fun, but just enough serious action to buy the Wincott and Sheperd characters as real ass-kickers. Cedric Burton had some great lines in limited screen time too.

  2. Excellent review! Happy you enjoyed the movie too! Matthias Hues was great as the one of the main baddies. Also Wincott has some amazing fight scenes in this.

    The screens you posted are very cool too. Love the "fight faces".

  3. It's a shame Sheperd hasn't done more films as she's very talented, though you should definitely check out Blood Chase as Sheperd is paired with Andrew Stevens in that film.

  4. Agree with Karl, this is a total powerhouse DTV actioner, and I'm glad you enjoyed it too. Also, lots of great screen captures. Great stuff!