Bullet Points: Señorita Justice
I have a soft spot for action movies that swim against stream and provide something the audience is not used to seeing. Specifically, there is nothing like watching an action movie with a lead that is not who or what you expect. I love a strong female lead that is not trying to be a female action star, but just an action star. That is why I was so surprised that 2004’s Señorita Justice slipped past my radar. Even more shocking is that not only is Señorita Justice and action movie, but it is in the vengeance sub-genre of action movies, another favorite. I have never read a tagline as more accurate than the one for Señorita Justice, “Vengeance Isn’t Always Ugly.”
- Sinopsis de la película: Ana Rios (Yancy Mendia) is a successful lawyer in Miami, FL. She has overcome her early gang lifestyle to become a decorated Marine, graduate at the top of the Miami Police Academy (earning the nickname Hurricane Rios), become a martial arts expert, go to law school and work at a prestigious law firm with an equally successful boyfriend, Charles (Luis Gazara.) The movie jammed all that exposition into one scene so I can too, but it is hard to believe that she was able to pack all of that in and still look as young and as good as she does, but I am not complaining. When Ana’s brother is murdered she is forced to go back to her home in the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami. She is gets no help from the police because no witnesses come forward and Ana must use all her skills, former friends, and former lover to become some sort of langosta superhero and find her brother’s killer.
- Una película con el corazón: Señorita Justice is not a high budget action film, but please do not read that as a negative. The cast a crew must have really cared about this work because it shows through in the end product. The interior sets and practical effects might not be on par with a Hollywood blockbuster, but the actors are compelling and the director (Kantz) gets the most out of what he had to work with. The budget did cause some minor issues. The opening credits show repeating still shots of the movie which can be a minor spoiler and after you have seen the same shot four of five times it gets old. During the actual movie, some of the action scenes don’t show any of the action. All the audience gets is a fade to black with the sound effects. Luckily, I have an imagination and suspension of disbelief.
- Elenco de personajes: Lower budget films usually give me a chance to watch some actors that I have never seen before and Señorita Justice was no different, save one. The star, Yancy Mendia has only been in three movies, but now that I have seen one, I will definitely be watching the other two. Ana’s former barrio boyfriend Hector was played by Kalex. Señorita Justice was Kalex’ only major role and that is probably what he deserves for only having one name. Tito Puente Jr. is easy to hate as one of the bad guys, but the apple unfortunately fell far from the talent tree. Edith González plays one of the Miami detectives. She is one of the more experienced actors, but almost all in Spanish language roles in her native Mexico. Mirtha Michelle, Michael Francis, Grayce Wey and Angelo Fierro all have been in a few productions and their experience showed. The unmitigated breakout star of Señorita Justice has to be Eva Longoria who plays another one of the Miami detectives. This was one of her earliest roles, but her acting was already a notch above the rest of the cast. Her charisma and presence on screen were very clear even with her limited screen time.
- Giro Final: Surprises in an action movie that I did not see coming are rare. Even worse than telegraphed surprises are the ones that aren’t needed. Señorita Justice had a surprise at the end that I did not see coming and fit perfectly into the flow of the film. Ana comes to find out that her brother’s death was part of a larger real estate scheme that even has ties to the Yakuza. Okay, the Yakuza addition seemed a little forced, but it provided an exciting fight scene. As good as the ending was, there was one twist that was not a surprise. One character turns out to be a bad guy, but with his choice of clothing it was fairly obvious to any action movie veteran.
• Best quote: What does Ana say about her brother in heaven at his funeral? “He is chasing anything with a heartbeat and a hole.” Anything?!?! Who knew heaven was so progressive?
• Produced by: Breakaway Films was the production company behind Señorita Justice. They had a short but prolific two year period of releasing movies that do not feature the archetypal action hero. I recommend checking them out if you have the opportunity.
• Translation please?: Muchos personajes hablan español sin subtítulos por lo que ayuda a ser capaces de entender español como yo.