Bullet Points: Street Knight
In comparison to many action stars, Jeff Speakman had a short run in the world of action films. In fact, some of the stars who came before him are still going strong today. While Jeff Speakman’s acting career may be over, I have to believe it was a personal choice on his part and not that there was a lack of confidence in his abilities.
Case in point, the movie Street Knight, Speakman’s follow up to his 1991 breakout movie, The Perfect Weapon.
- The Premise: Jeff Speakman plays Jake Barrett, a former cop who quit the force after a hostage situation ended in the death of young girl. Barrett is brought back into the world of crime fighting and investigating when a friend of his gives his name to a young woman in need, Rebecca Sanchez. Rebecca’s brother Carlos has been missing for days after he witnessed some of his fellow gang bangers in The Lords get whacked by a dangerous group of ex-cops led by a disgraced former officer named James Franklin. Franklin is trying to escalate the tensions between two rival gangs, the aforementioned Lords (made up of Latino members) and The Blades (made up of African-American members) so they’ll destroy Los Angeles, a city he feels betrayed him. Franklin wanted it to appear that Carlos’ fellow Lords were killed by The Blades, but since Carlos knows the truth, Franklin wants him dead. Then there are the rest of The Blades (led by Cisco) who think Carlos ran out on them, so they are looking for him too. Can our hero Jake Barrett get to Carlos first?
- Masters of Disguise: Franklin and his crew go to some pretty elaborate lengths in order to stir the pot between The Blades and The Lords. One of the guys dresses up as a Lord and ambushes The Blades when they are going to pick up some guns. Franklin himself dons a policeman’s uniform as a way to get to Carlos’ sister Rebecca. And when Jake Barrett starts interfering in their business, they have one of the guys impersonate Barrett and shoot a member of The Blades as a way to get the cops and The Blades after Jake. I enjoyed this aspect of the villains in the movie as it set them apart from what you normally get from your villainous groups in direct to video flicks.
- Working Class Hero: I think one of Speakman’s greatest strengths is he comes across as your everyday working man, this is enhanced in Street Knight when he opts to work as a mechanic, a business his dad ran for years, after he quits the police force. Looking at some of Speakman’s more popular contemporaries… Van Damme was never going to come across as the regular working class guy to the American audience. Seagal was too busy acting like a badass to ever be Joe Average. But Speakman, comes across as a man of the people and I think that was really his niche in what was a very crowded action star marketplace in the 90’s. Obviously Speakman’s biggest strength is he is a legit Kenpo Karate expert, making his fight scenes believable and allowing him to deliver in the action scenes.
While Street Knight doesn’t get the “fan boy love” that Speakman’s first starring role in The Perfect Weapon does, I thought Street Knight was a solid sophomore effort for Speakman. It is a movie I would gladly watch again and I can’t say that about all the movies I review for this site.
Here are some Street Knight Bonus Bullet Points for your reading pleasure…
- Familiar Faces: While the supporting cast could have been a little stronger, especially this early in Speakman’s career, there were still a few stand outs. First and foremost was Jake’s friend in forensics, Raymond. Raymond was played by Bernie Casey. Casey was one of the many actors to play Felix Leiter in a Bond film. He was also in Sharky’s Machine with Burt Reynolds. Another familiar face was that of Richard Coca. I instantly recognized Coca (who played Carlos Sanchez) from his work in one of my favorite films, Only The Strong. And then, playing one of the cops in the movie is none other than Marco Rodriguez, who I will always remember as the supermarket killer in Cobra.
- Favorite Quote: After the pompous, Kelsey Grammar-like James Franklin quotes Shakespeare to Jake Barrett. Barrett replies with a quote of his own “Hasta la vista baby! – Schwarzenegger” Once again proving Jake Barrett is just a regular guy.
- Expect the Unexpected: You wouldn’t think that a movie set in Los Angeles would have a chase scene that involved a horse. That’s because Street Knight decided to zig, when the audience thought it was going to zag. It was the one time in the film I didn’t question why Speakman was wearing cowboy boots. And speaking of questions…
- One Question: After witnessing Jake Barrett thwart a convenience store robbery early on in the film, a question immediately popped into my head. Would any fan of action movies ever take a job working at a convenience store? I would think that would be the last thing they’d want to do since convenience stores are so often robbery targets in action films.