Bullet Points: Deadly Force
GRIT TV is an over the air station here in the United States that specializes in action movies, war movies and westerns. Many times while watching GRIT I’ll find movies I have forgotten about or movies that I had not seen in years. I’ll even find some movies that I never heard of like the 1983 film, Deadly Force.
- The Premise: Deadly Force stars Wings Hauser as Stoney Cooper. Stoney is doing freelance work in New York City after his days as a member of the LAPD came to an abrupt end. You see Stoney liked to do things his way and wasn’t a “by the book” kind of guy. His superiors frowned upon that, despite the fact that Stoney got results. Stoney was asked never to return to Los Angeles, but he finds his way back after the granddaughter of his friend Sam Goodwin (Al Ruscio) becomes the 16th victim of a serial killer known as the X Murderer. Sam calls Stoney to help him find out who this X Murderer is.
- Welcome Wagon: While Sam is happy to see Stoney upon his return, he is pretty much the only one. Stoney gets grief from his former boss Otto Hoxley and some of his former brothers in blue at the LAPD. A low life named Ashley Maynard sends some goons after Stoney because Stoney still owes him money. And then there’s Stoney’s soon to be ex-wife Eddie (Joyce Ingalls). When Stoney pops over to her place he finds her entertaining her co-worker Diego and one of the first things she asks him is why he hasn’t signed the divorce papers. In her mind the two are already divorced, in Stoney’s mind they are merely “temporarily disengaged”. One thing you can say for this movie, they don’t use your run of the mill names for their characters.
- Motivational Speaker: We are introduced to the character Joshua Adams, who is a motivational speaker and self-help guru, by way of an interview Eddie Cooper (she’s a reporter) conducts with him. Not only does he have amazing control over his audience, he also has his own institute, which will come into play later.
- Information Gathering Montage: Like any action movie worth its salt, Deadly Force does feature a montage. This particular montage features Stoney and Sam talking to a variety of people in Los Angeles as they try to piece together clues as to the identity of the X Murderer or some sort of connection among his growing list of victims. Something the police and the reporters of Los Angeles have been unable to do.
- Informer: Did any of you read the title of this Bullet Point and think of the 1993 rap hit by Snow? For those of you unfamiliar with Snow, he is the greatest Canadian reggae musician of the age. But Snow and his hit song Informer are way off topic… Eddie Cooper, gets a tip to come to a warehouse for information about the X Murderer. Stoney, sensing potential danger, says he’ll go in Eddie’s place, but Eddie being a head strong woman who can stand on her own, says it is her lead and she’s going. So they go together. When the Coopers get there, they find the informer dead and they also find the X Murderer! This leads to a car chase when X takes off and a determined Stoney looking to bring X to justice wastes no time going after him. Stoney has extra motivation since there is a reward for X’s capture and with that reward money he can pay off his debts to Ashley Maynard.
- Back at the Institute: The chase ends at the Adams Institute, as X hops the wall and makes his way inside. The Coopers soon follow, although they use the front gate. At one point, X gets a hold of Eddie Cooper and in an interesting twist, it isn’t Stoney who saves her, instead it is Mr. Motivation, Joshua Adams who shoots X dead.
If you are thinking to yourself, that’s a really strange way for the movie to end, you would be correct. The movie does not end there, in fact in some ways it is just the beginning as we begin to peel away more layers of the onion. I won’t reveal any more than that.
This is a solid 80’s action flick. Wings Hauser is certainly not the first guy you think of when you think of 80’s action heroes. He’s probably not even the 7th or 8th guy you think of. But Hauser puts on a believable performance and adds some little nuances to set the character of Stoney Cooper apart from other “maverick cop” characters in action movies.
If you are a fan of 80’s action and fortunate enough to get GRIT TV in your neck of the woods, check out their web site for future airings of Deadly Force.
Here’s a few bonus Deadly Force Bullet Points…
- First Timer: While I have covered a Wings Hauser guest appearance on an episode of The A-Team, this is the first Wings Hauser movie that has been reviewed on this site. Ironically, Al Ruscio who plays Sam Goodwin in Deadly Force is also in “The Big Squeeze” episode of The A-Team along with Wings Hauser.
- If You Ever: …wanted to see Wings Hauser nearly get shot by a sniper while taking a bath, then this is the movie for you. The events that happen in this scene made me glad I was watching the edited for TV version. Just a word of warning, if you are watching the unedited version, you may see Stoney Cooper’s wings or even his hauser.
- Golden Girl: Playing the role of a NYC cab driver is Estelle Getty of The Golden Girls. Of course action fans will remember her more for her co-starring role with Sylvester Stallone in Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot.