The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mission of Justice aka Martial Law III (1992)

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I knew I wanted to look at some more Jeff Wincott movies, and I was trying to think of something to do after Martial Law II, and I saw Mission of Justice over at Straight-to-DVD-Heaven, a great site run by Lee Nicholson from Middlesbrough in the UK (if you remember, that's where The Tournament, starring Ving Rhames, took place). As an aside, a few years back, when I was living in Portland, ME, our cable man was from Middlesbrough. He saw me in my Arsenal jersey and was like "whoa, you watch the EPL? I'm from Middlesbrough" and I'm thinking "my cable man is from Middlesbrough?"

Mission of Justice was originally conceived as a sequel to Martial Law II, until Cynthia Rothrock pulled out and they went with Karen Sheperd instead. She and Wincott play beat cops, when a guy who they arrested for beating his girlfriend is released by their shit-heel sergeant because the guy was a good snitch, and the snitch proceeds to go home and beat said girlfriend to death. Wincott quits the force, and joins up with shady politician Brigitte Nielsen's Mission of Justice cult/vigilante group. He does this because he suspects they had something to do with his ex-boxing champ buddy's murder. Now he's killing two birds with one stone, by bringing down his friend's killer, and sticking it to his asshole former superior.

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Wincott does it again. Great, great stuff here. In one scene, he's being initiated into Nielsen's Mission of Justice, and he has to survive this gauntlet of 20 guys wielding batons. He takes the batons they give him, and throws them into the middle, turning away like he wants nothing to do with it. Matthias Hues and James Lew, Nielsen's main henchmen, look on in disdain, thinking, "we knew this dude was a total tool." Then he charges back to the gauntlet, does a few flips into the middle, picks up his sticks, and delivers a major hurting on everyone. I don't know who came up with that, but that person is near the top of my all time awesome book. And the film just gets better from there, culminating in a too sweet knock down, drag 'em out final brawl between Wincott and Hues. Not as good as it's intended predecessor, Martial II, but still pretty great.

Wincott is often lost in the shuffle here at the DTVC, in part because he's not in the Hall of Fame, and so his films drop some in priority. I know that shouldn't be the case, because I can't remember the last Wincott film that wasn't awesome, can you? The next question is, if he has so many wins like this, why is he not in the Hall of Fame? Well, we just have to get more of his films up, and it will happen in time. His DTV filmography is somewhat diluted by a lot of TV roles and bit parts in feature films, so he might not have enough movies to get in too. We'll see what happens. In the meantime, enjoy how sweet he is in this one.

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I was surprised to find out this will only be the seventh Matthias Hues we've done on here. Maybe it's because he's so large that I thought we'd done more. He's excellent in this as Nielsen's brother/hatchetman, especially in that end fight with Wincott. It's one of those ones too where it's being sold to us from the beginning, from the first time we learn that Hues is in the movie, we know what we're getting at the end, and Mission of Justice doesn't fail to deliver. I wonder, though, with Hues playing a baddie all the time, does he ever wonder how many of these dudes he can actually take in a fight? A guy with his size and speed probably has no question-- maybe only Dolph Lundgren would have that same unique combination, and in I Come in Peace, Hues was playing a super-strong alien, so they never had a man-to-man style fight.

Karen Sheperd is solid in her part as Wincott's partner, but it's not a huge role, so in that sense it's something of a disappointment. I wonder if the role was always supposed to be small, and that's why Rothrock turned it down. She gets a few good fights against some dudes, but it's in the final one with Nielsen's number one female fighter that she really gets after it. Great stuff, just too bad there wasn't more of it.

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Finally, Brigitte Nielsen played the head baddie, the classic corrupt politician, only this time it wasn't a white male in the part. In the Circle of Death post, I mentioned how Bai Ling said her part, also as the main baddie, would have been an old white man character, and how forward thinking it was that she was cast in that role instead. Same thing here with Nielsen, only she's been a baddie before, in some much bigger films, like Rocky IV and Beverly Hills Cop II. One thing I noticed in this, that I'd never noticed before with her, is how skinny her legs are-- at least in 1992. Wow, they'd rival Bai Ling's.

All right, before I get way off track, let's wrap this up. Not the level of Martial II, but definitely up there. Wincott brings it, Sheperd is good when she's there, and Hues and Nielsen as baddies were great. As far as I can tell, here in the States, the movie is only available on VHS, but if you're in the Region 2 zone, you can get it on DVD. If you come across it, I'd go for it. Also, if you haven't already, go check out Straight-to-DVD-Heaven.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0104888/

15 comments:

  1. I really have to sit down and watch these. I have VHS of the first two just waiting to be watched.

    On a completely unrelated topic, it appears Billy Zane is reprising his role as Richard Miller for another Sniper movie - Sniper: Reloaded

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1571243/

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  2. Excellent Review! Can't wait to watch this! This is in our pile of movies to watch.

    We have a Matthias Hues double feature and this is one of them. Executive Target is the other movie (even though Hues isn't in it much.)

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  3. Must... Rush... Over to Amazon... And buy these... RIGHT NOW! Great review.

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  4. Billy Zane looks like he's doing more DTV work, including that Sniper sequel. It'll be interesting to see what happens with him.

    I like that Matthias Hues double feature. Mine was this and Talons of the Eagle, which I know both you and Fist of the B-List have reviewed. Excellent movie.

    Yeah man, you can't go wrong buying these.

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  5. There's gonna be ANOTHER sniper film sequel? Ok then, spekaing of DTVs sequels, Death Race 2 ocmes out later this month, anyone interested in seeing that, I know I am!

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  6. I liked this film, the action sequences were great even if everything was stock. The villains were decent but the only real flaw was that Wincott was so cut and rate, it would've been better had Shepherd or Rothrock had been there to provide a love interest. I guess Nielsen was the reason such got relegated. Tony Burton was also wasted but aside from that as far as ass kicking action goes, this has it all. I would still take Martial Outlaw and Martial Law 2 over this though. Not to mention Last Man Standing and Killing Man. Good stuff all around though.


    I would argue that this was the last time Brigette Nielsen looked hot. I mean have you seen her lately? Ugh. She looks like Van Damme at 86. Speaking of which Red Sonja if that isn't direct to video badness, I don't know what is. It's weird how an actual decently made (albeit low budget) Punisher can go straight to video and yet that turd gets a release. Even Schwarzenegger couldn't save that.

    As for this, Jeff Wincott had Killing Man which is an actual decent movie with a film noir kick and then after that it's all downhill.

    Onto a different subject, I saw King Of Comedy, did you know that made under 3 million at the box office? Less than I Come In Peace. I was blown away by this movie and to me this is what real comedy is about. I mean instead of this nerd enlightment or generic comedies that have been ripping off Friday for the last 16 years, it also reminded me of when DeNiro actually acted instead of cashed in. (Little Fockers)

    Speaking of which Machete, with Seagal, Don Johnson, Danny Trejo and DeNiro you so need to get to this. Hell, I did it, now it's your turn.

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  7. Wincott also had the pretty decent Die-Hard rip-off Open Fire, and yes you HAVE to review Machete.

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  8. Sounds like the action scenes are good but Barnett otherwise failed to maximize the return on a stellar action cast. I'd still like to give this a watch and review, but I think it's fallen a bit farther down my Wincott roadmap.

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  9. Thanks for the plug. Yup, Wincott kicks mucho ass i this one. I spotted him briefly in THE INVASION (2007) and UNSTOPPABLE (2010) Both roles would probably add up to about 90 seconds.....but it was good to see him on the big screen.
    I need to review more wincott stuff on my blog. But i'm not as good as keeping it as concise as you guys (hence my long, drawn out reviews)
    Oh well, keep up the sterling work amigo

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  10. First off, sorry to everyone it's taken me so long to respond to the comments. It's been a hectic past few days.

    Lee, no problem about the plug, you have a great blog, so I'm happy to do it. I'm definitely looking forward to more Wincott reviews, or any other reviews you have on tap.

    Karl, this is really sweet as far as Wincott goes, so if you're in the mood for that, don't worry about some of the other cast that may have been misused. Oh, and a quick question, did you turn off your comments on your blog?

    As far as any new releases go, you have to remember that Netflix doesn't get them for about a month after their initial release date, so I often won't be doing them until then, assuming they're even available then and not rented out to someone else. Patience is a virtue.

    I totally love The King of Comedy. You're right about De Niro, Kenner, he's a better comedic actor than Meet the Fockers, etc., demonstrates.

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  11. Matt, the Hues-Wincott match-up is indeed enticing, but I think The Killing Man will be my first Wincott film for the blog. I hadn't even realized comments were disabled on my side, but I've remedied that. Thanks for mentioning it!

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  12. I agree, I think The Killing Man will be a good one. And I'm glad you got your comments back up. I read your recent post and got all the way to the bottom and was like "where do I click?"

    One thing that I think might be good for Mr. Kenner's site is a nice Wincott binge. He's the one who got me into him a few years back.

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  13. Man, i just read this review for one of my favorites movies of all time!. And then i realize you have listed a bunch of other movies i love. This blog is officially one of my favorites! Thank you sir for showing some love to the DTV!

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  14. Thank you Juan for coming to check us out, and I'm glad you like it. Hopefully you'll dig some of the other reviews too.

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  15. I just watched this today and i really enjoyed it. Good action, Great action scenes. Bridgette Nielson does a great job as a villain portraying Dr Larkin. Her sidekick brother Matthias Hues again great job.

    Some nice fighting scenes, good torture scenes. The guy from Rocky, brilliant cast.

    As the other reviews have stated, a definate must watch.

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