Bullet Points: Extreme Justice
Things got extreme in the 1990’s. Sports went extreme. Comic books went extreme. Professional wrestling went extreme. Television shows went extreme. Even every day items you could buy at your local grocery store went extreme. And of course movies went extreme too… including the movie I’ll be looking at today, Extreme Justice.
You know a movie is EXTREME when the word EXTREME is in the title and when your poster features Scott Glenn and Lou Diamond Phillips running in an alley with their guns out and Lou Diamond Phillips roaring while he does it.
- The Premise: Extreme Justice revolves around an elite police unit known as the S.I.S. (Special Investigation Section). These are the cops they call in to take down the worst of the worst. They are given power and latitude that your normal every day beat cops don’t get and because of this they always get results. The S.I.S. only works one case at a time and they take down the criminals in EXTREME fashion. An interesting note, there is an actual Special Investigation Section within the LAPD.
- All-Star Cast: The cast of Extreme Justice is most impressive. You have Scott Glenn as Dan Vaughn the leader of the S.I.S., his work is all he has after his wife left him. Then there’s the newest member of the S.I.S. Jeff Powers (Lou Diamond Phillips). After getting EXTREME with a child killer, Powers is about to be suspended from the force when his former partner during his rookie year, Dan Vaughn, shows up and recruits him to the S.I.S. Powers joins other notables likes of Angel (Andrew Divoff of Toy Soldiers fame) and Detective Larson (Yaphet Kotto). And who in the world could be the commanding officer for such a star studded team? Ed Lauter of course. He was the only man qualified to play the part of Captain Shafer.
- Conflict of Interest: To add a layer of drama to the story, Jeff Powers is dating a reporter, Kelly Daniels (Chelsea Field of Masters of the Universe fame). Jeff and Kelly have an understanding that the things they discuss about their jobs is kept between them. Their relationship is strained once Jeff joins S.I.S. and he has to keep some pretty dark secrets about the way the S.I.S. does business.
- No Homicides in LA?: One thing I did find odd about the movie is that the team is hunting down rapists and thieves but no murderers. Call me crazy, but I’m sure there are some homicides in Los Angeles. I realize the movie is just a snapshot in time of what the team is working on and I’m sure they did work some homicide cases, but for one not to be showcased in the movie seemed a little strange to me.
Extreme Justice is a good movie, not EXTREMELY good, but a good movie and worth watching. In many ways it is the classic tale of absolute power corrupting absolutely. In other ways it is about a bunch of vigilante cops. Either way it makes for a fun 96 minutes.
Now some Bullet Points about some of the key characters in the film…
- Drunk with Power: One of the most interesting aspects of the movie is Scott Glenn’s character Vaughn and how he continues to push the envelope and takes things to new EXTREMES all in the name of bringing criminals to justice.
- Judging a Book By Its Cover: Just knowing that Lou Diamond Phillips’ character is a cop with long hair, you instantly know he’s a cop that marches to the beat of his own drum.
- Cowboy Kotto: Not sure about the decision to dress Yaphet Kotto in western attire through out the film, but if you ever dreamed of seeing Yaphet Kotto dressed up like a cowboy in a non-western movie, then Extreme Justice is the movie for you.