As slam-bang, kickboxing action films and vigilante revenge movies go, MISSION OF JUSTICE is only slightly above average.
Kurt Harris (Jeff Wincott) is a tough cop with a habit of using his martial arts expertise to trounce criminals who have it coming. He and his partner, Lynn Steele (Karen Shepard), rescue a woman from her violent boyfriend. When Sergeant Duncan lets the lout walk, and he subsequently commits
murder, Harris punches out his boss and resigns from the force. The rogue cop soon finds a villain to direct his vigilante venom against when his friend Cedric Williams (Tony Burton), a former boxing champ, is murdered. As Harris soon learns, the killing was done by Dr. Rachel Olsen (Brigitte
Nielsen), a cold-blooded, crypto-fascist psychologist trying to get elected mayor by posing as an anti-crime organizer. Her "Mission of Justice" cult uses martial arts and self-help philosophy to recruit ex-cons and wealthy patrons into her supposed crime watch group. With her thug brother Titus
(Matthias Hues) and Machiavellian political consultant Roger, Dr. Olsen is poised to take over the city.
To expose the villains and avenge his friend's murder, Harris goes undercover, pretending to join the Olsen "family." His impressive martial arts abilities earn Harris a place within the organization's inner circle, but a suspicious Roger has his assistant Erin keep an eye on him. Harris wins
Olsen's trust by busting up a drug deal, letting her crime-fighting "peacemakers" upstage the police. Meanwhile, Harris and an off-duty Steele uncover videotaped evidence that Olsen tortured as well as killed Cedric. When she discovers the video missing, Olsen has Sgt. Duncan assassinated and
leads the police to suspect Harris.
With Steele's help, Harris eludes the police and teams up with Jimmy, a cult member who witnessed Cedric's murder and whose rich grandmother was bilked and murdered by the Mission. Titus captures Jimmy so that Olsen can torture him to get information. Steele and Harris videotape Olsen's crime.
After winning a brutal fight against Erin and Titus, Harris interrupts a Olsen press conference by showing the torture session to reporters. The exposed villainess attacks the hero but is subdued. The vindicated Harris returns to the police force.
Compared to most films that feature a karate-chopping hero single-handedly defeating a gauntlet of goons, MISSION OF JUSTICE is competently acted. The real-life martial artists who play several of the parts, in fact, perform more convincingly than the statuesque but decidedly wooden Nielsen (ROCKY
IV, BEVERLY HILLS COP II), the film's sole marquee name. While the storyline and action threaten to become overly complicated with subplots, director Steve Barnett, a Roger Corman protege, keeps things moving.
There is little redeeming value in the shallow moralizing of the vigilante hero, who will put his boot upside the head of any number of crooks and cops to prove that violence is wrong. But Barnett knows that unrelenting action is the martial arts genre's prime directive. He allows just enough
generic narrative development to create the thin layer of outrage that motivates the violent combat scenes. Fans of the genre may be satified, but not overwhelmed by Jeff Wincott's two-fisted, one-emotion showcase of brutality. (Excessive violence, profanity.)
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- Released: 1992
- Rating: R
- Review: As slam-bang, kickboxing action films and vigilante revenge movies go, MISSION OF JUSTICE is only slightly above average. Kurt Harris (Jeff Wincott) is a tough cop with a habit of using his martial arts expertise to trounce criminals who have it coming. H… (more)