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Thursday, 25 October 2018

Retro Review: Mission of Justice (1992)

Mission of Justice
Cast: Jeff Wincott, Brigitte Nielsen, Karen Sheperd, Matthias Hues, Billy Williams, James Lew
Genre: Action 

Plot: A Law and order mayoral candidate is also a ruthless and racist leader of a secret neo-fascist group out to take control of the city by whatever means necessary

'Decent Martial Arts B-Movie Actioner'

One word: action. 1992's Mission of Justice has plenty of it and with martial arts actor, Jeff Wincott on tip-top form, both in his performance and fighting skills - which is something I don't usually say, or expect from him, based on some, or be it most of the other films I have seen of him in.

Kurt Harris is a cop, who is partnered up with fellow cop, Lynne Steel, played by martial arts B-movie actress, Karen Sheperd; with both being extremely proficient in martial arts, they make for one formidable duo. After arresting some brute who beat up a woman, Kurt is kicked out of the police force. When the same brute gets released out of jail, he attacks her again, only this time to death. Enraged by what happened, Harris has had enough and resigns from his position. Later on, Kurt's friend and boxing champ, Cedric is murdered by Dr Rachel Olsen and her pair of goons when he refuses to endorse her. (Fact: both Bridgette Nielsen and Tony Burton starred in Rocky IV) His death eerily reminds me of the Apollo Creed one from that movie. Olsen plans to become elected as mayor by posing as an anti-crime campaigner/organiser with her 'Mission of Justice' organisation, who turns out to be a cult/criminal faction, and not the neighbourhood watch & community police they claim to be. Kurt goes undercover to expose the group as the thugs that they are, that Dr Larkin is, indeed, a cold manipulative witch, as well as to avenge Cedric's death.

This is the most self-imposing Jeff Wincott film I have witnessed so far and out of the ones I have reviewed, it is a quality action vehicle that showcases his true strengths, as well as by working around his limitations. Whilst he is not one of the most charismatic action stars, here, in Mission of Justice, he feels right at home and gets to run rampant with his martial arts skills. One scene is when Kurt gets to run a gauntlet in his quest to become a Peacemaker member by beating several members senselessly at a time with Kenpo sticks. It was amazing to watch and so action-packed, this is what all Jeff Wincott films should be like, action-wise and with the action being as great, or be it as good as it is here. He was at his energetic best in the fight scenes, with the scenes themselves that didn't disappoint, his character was okay, and his acting turn was good, if not great - but still better than in most of his other movies.

Bridgette Nielsen, however, was wooden as a plank of wood who delivers her lines in an almost monotone way, it felt as if she was reenacting her characters in Rocky IV and Beverly Hills Cop II. & what's with her switching from short Blonde peroxide to long hair? Whilst Karen Sheperd (Above The Law) was all right- although she gets to show off her martial arts abilities, and she's pretty good and I wished she got the opportunity to ram her foot in Nielsen's Olsen's face. The remaining cast who play the villains weren't much to ponder. 

Mission of Justice was initially a third film in the Martial Law series, following on from Martial Law and Martial Law 2: Undercover, but after Cynthia Rothrock decided not to return for this outing, the film was slightly retooled and became a separate film, Mission of Justice, with Sheperd replacing her.

The story, penned by writers of the awful American Ninja V, is nonsense and silly, but this film was an entertaining and enjoyable romp with a few twists and is a few steps up from that film.

Final Verdict:

Better than Martial Law, even better than Martial Law II, even without Cynthia Rothrock, this third outing in the Martial Law series is not only more action-orientated with some good to great choreographed fight scenes, it has a more engrossing and better story that doesn't feel like it sags and Jeff Wincott is at his best. As a whole, whilst it's not mind-blowing stuff, it's still relatively good. 

As martial arts action B-movies go, Mission of Justice is Mission accomplished.


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