Saturday, 2 October 2010

MISSION OF JUSTICE (1992) Jeff Wincott

Oh the 90's......
How I'd flock to the video shops (still) and rent out the latest wannabe SEAGAL stuff. Now to be fair, Jeff Wincott was one of my favourites, because he didn't just want to imitate Seagal (unlike say...Thomas Ian Griffith?) but tried to put a unique spin his biff/shoot em' ups (and played a diverse range of characters, from lawyers to doctors) in his (too short) acting career. But MISSION OF JUSTICE sees Wincott in full-tilt kick ass cop mode, in this hugely enjoyable (slightly campy) action fest.

Wincott plays Kurt Harris, a tough cop (partnered up with martial arts babe Karen Sheperd) as Lynne. Right from the get-go, we see Harris throw a wife-beater through a window, and then look on in shock belief, as the beat up housewife has second thoughts on prosecuting her violent husband. But hey...these be mean streets, so mean, that before they can get the wife beater to the police station, Harris notices three punk-types 'Robbing-a-convenience-store' (tm)

After some sub-Hard To Kill type shenanigans, Kurt and his partner get the drop on all but one of the punks. Kurt gives chase, only to find that he's been detained (i.e, kicked the shit out of) by a young chap named Jimmy, part of some 'Guardian Angel' types called THE MISSION (sub-plot #1). Kurt thanks this good Samaritan (yet seems a little uneasy about citizens taking the law into their own hands)

Back at the police station, Kurt finds out that the charges have been dropped on the wife beater, and rushes back to find the spouse (literally) beating the shit out of his good lady wife (NOTE: Whilst i don't find 'Spousal-Battery' of any gender funny....this scene is hilarious, as the husband punches her about 30 some 'Streets Of Rage' super-move on the Sega Megadrive) and Kurt punches the abusive husband about 60 times in retaliation. Sexual politics aside, it's a damn funny sequence.

Disillusioned with police procedures (and all that other bullshit) Kurt shouts at his captain (surely 'role reversal' in movies like this?) and promptly quits the force. Whilst sat in his downbeat apartment (no huge warehouses with neon lights for this renegade cop!) he notices a tv commercial, featuring those pesky 'Street-Police' THE MISSION, and it's leader (the badly miscast, but always fun) Brigitte Nielson, as Rachael Larkin...who is also running for 'Mayor' (subplot #2)

And this subplot, leads Larkin to attempt to drum up support for her campaign. Ex-heavyweight boxing champ, Cedric Williams (who has had previous dealings with her) wants noting to do with her campaign, and threatens to sue her P.R team, for using an image of himself and Larkin in an election poster. What Larkin doesn't know, is that Cedric and Harris are good friends.

Larkin (replete with TITUS...played by DTV legend Mathias Hues) pay Cedric a visit one night as he's closing his gym. Unbeknownst to them, Young Jimmy is watching on, helpless as Larkin threatens Cedric, and then suggests a bout between Titus and the Ex-champ. Cedric gets a few punches in, but the giant henchman, uses kung fu moves on the pugilist, and breaks his fingers, before:
A) Kicking the shit out of him.
B) Larkin slits his throat with her 'Trademark double knife move'.

(Tony Burton counts the number of Rocky Movies he'd appeared in)

Young Jimmy (who's grandmother is a loyal supporter of Larkin, monetary and otherwise) flees the scene, telling no-one of what he's witnessed. Kurt, on the other hand, wants answers (and doesn't let the fact that he's no longer a cop...stop him from busting heads to find out.)
Putting vague clues together, he links THE MISSION to the events, and signs up to join them. He must not only complete endless application forms, but also allow himself to be filmed, whilst confessing to secrets, with monitors and pads stuck to his body (Scientology, anyone?) After a few 'not-quite-ready-yet' quips from Larkin, Kurt is ready to be inducted to THE MISSION, but first must prove himself in 'The Gauntlet'

This sequence, is one of the best martial arts fights put on film (yeah, fuck you MATRIX trilogy) showcasing Wincotts fighting skills to their full potential. The 'stick-fighting' stuff is great, as one-by-one, our hero knocks the fuck out of all comers, in a blistering display of foot and fistery.

Now that Kurt has gained Larkins trust, he accompanies other MISSION members on various do-gooding, i.e, kicking a bunch of asses (including a nifty fight scene in a chop-shop...replete with 'Chainsaw-Fu' and a lynching?) and he occasionally bumps into his old work buddies, and gloats that fighting crime is better, when you're not tied down to the bureaucracy of the badge (a'la SHOTGUN) He also gets tidbits of police 'intel' from the ever-helpful Lynne.

Kurt (who now lives in THE MISSION H.Q) sneaks past the guards and locates the videotaped testaments of Cedric (seems Larkin had 'fight-fixing allegations' hanging over him) and takes the tape as evidence. However a guard notices the tape is missing, so Larkin (smelling a rat in her organisation) kidnaps Jimmy (and also suffocates his trusting Grandmother....Not before she's signed all her possessions to THE MISSION, of course...Harold Shipman, eat-your-wife-out!)

It's Election night, and things are looking good for Larkin...she's ahead in the polls, and the only thing that could stop her now, is a (quote) "ex-cop-turned-vigilante-vigilante-with-video-footage-of-her-evil-schemes"
Kurt fights off all her henchman (and in true 90's sexual equality, Lynne deals with the henchwoman) before having his final fight with Titus (who proudly is still wearing the heavyweight belt he stole from Cedric, before murdering him.....which in itself is quite disturbing?) Angered by this, Kurt gives Titus a belt of his own (right round the chops) which sends him flying through a window, and onto the election crowd below. The police attempt to arrest Kurt, but a weary and tortured Jimmy staggers in the hall, to tell all about Larkin murdering Cedric and his grandmother. The police move in on Larkin (who performs her trusty old "Two-Knives-Technique" on Harris...who's having none of it (thank you very much) The police take her away. And kurt is (probably) re-instated on the police force (for a life of low-paid, badge wearing, bureaucracy-putting-up-with....ahead of him)

MISSION OF JUSTICE didn't exactly cause UNFORGIVEN, UNDER SEIGE or THE BODYGUARD sleepless nights back in 1992 (hell, i dare say AMITYVILLE 1992: IT'S ABOUT TIME made more of a dent in the rental charts) But it does what it says on the tin. And as good as Eastwood, Hackman and Harris've lived a wasted life life, until you've heard Tony Burton scream "You broke my FUCKING fingers!!!!" to a seven foot kick-boxer. And sometimes, little details like that, can make (or break) a movie, as far as I'm concerned.


  1. Jeff Wincott and Mathias Hues in a movie together? i have to buy this right away!

  2. Cheaper than chips at amazon:

  3. I've always liked WIncott, but he seems to get lost in the shuffle with so many other bigger names getting priority. It's a shame, because like you said here, he always brings it.

  4. Thanks for the amazon link!