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Fatal Justice Reviews

When a script's best moment is a pun reference to the cult movie SHACKOUT ON 101, you know you're in trouble, or more precisely, in FATAL JUSTICE, a direct-to-video cheapie filmed in Shreveport. Diana (Suzanne Ager) has been trained from birth to be a CIA assassin, brought up in the Company's `Infancy Development Program.' Now a sexy adult killer, Diana gets assigned a new target--her father Ian Connor (Joe Estevez), code-named "MARS"--a veteran hit man who wants to retire after 26 years in the termination biz. Since nobody leaves the outfit alive, Diana is fed a pack of lies about her long-lost parent and set on his trail. Diana foils various death squads sent to stop her as she tracks down MARS, now an instructor at an elite assassin boot camp in the woods. But it's all a setup to eliminate both Diana and her dad on the orders of new CIA boss Ted Harmon (Richard Folmer), who's liquidating a whole generation of government spooks at the behest of the post-Soviet Russian mafia. Or something like that; muffled sound recording makes it hard to hear the dialogue explaining the plot. In any case, Ian gets mortally wounded by Diana's treacherous lover, who turns out to be her brother. Diana survives to wreak vengeance on Harmon and his lover, her stepmother. Incest! Betrayal! Fratricide! Lead actress/co-producer Ager suffers soul-shattering calamities with all the expressiveness of a bored model in a lingerie catalog. The lady's a washout as a thespian, being called upon mainly to look sleek and lethal in the tradition of LA FEMME NIKITA's Anne Parillaud when she's clearly more credible in her opening disguise--as a pizza delivery girl. Joe Estevez emotes as if he's trying to cover for both of them, whether it's his drill-sergeant bit in boot camp or his introspective can't-tell-the-good-guys-from-the-bad-guys-anymore soliloquy to a comrade. It's not exactly an actor's showcase, but Estevez (brother of Martin Sheen) conveys that he's good enough for better things. As much as the hapless moviemakers want to expose the CIA as a nest of vipers, they're equally undone by sub-basement production values. Couldn't anybody afford a windscreen for that sound microphone? Explosions look like fluorescent paint daubed directly onto the film emulsion. A few cars soar gracefully through the air, though, and FATAL JUSTICE gets consolation points for at least having the inspiration to go its own way as a FEMME NIKITA knockoff, unlike 1993's big Hollywood remake POINT OF NO RETURN. (Violence, sexual situations, adult situations, profanity, nudity, substance abuse.)