Bullet Points: Sworn to Justice
In case you haven’t heard, you only have one chance to make a first impression. Whether that is on a job interview, writing a review for Revenge of Revenge Week or the beginning of a movie, you better get it right or people will be onto the next option. The 1996 film Sworn to Justice decided to go with two quotes on the screen. “The wise create laws. The foolish are oppressed by them” -Shang Tzu. “Laws alone cannot carry themselves into practice” -Meng Tzu. No offense to these wise men, but… Dumb! Words at the beginning of a movie are not a good idea, even you Star Wars, because who wants to read about a movie when they can just watch. Luckily there is another metaphorical phrase that I like to live by, don’t judge a book by its cover, so please give this review and Sworn to Justice a second chance or otherwise I would have wasted two minutes of my life typing this review as you read about a movie instead of just watching, so please join me in this journey to an underrated revenge flick.
- Seer Next Fall. Sworn to Justice stars the one and only Cynthia Rothrock (China O’Brien) as Janna, a psychologist specializing in being an expert witness in murder cases. When Janna comes home one night she finds intruders in her house with her sister and nephew dead. Janna is able to fight them off enough to flee and jump off her balcony hitting her head on a tree on the way down. While the fall would have killed most people, it gives the hard headed Janna motivation for revenge and a unique psychometric ability. It makes sense perfect sense. I fell out of a tree once and almost got hit by a car only to be saved by my unborn teenage son while trying to touch my object, while Janna falls, hits a tree and gets psychic abilities when she touches objects.
- Something’s Fishy. Kurt McKinney (No Retreat, No Surrender) plays Nicholas, an attorney who is working with Janna’s boss, an expert in martial arts, a love interest for Janna, and a possible red herring. I wonder if Kurt and Cynthia talked about which No Retreat, No Surrender was better, Kurt’s 1 or Cynthia’s 2. No contest. Anyone who knows me knows that No Retreat, No Surrender is one of my favorite fight movies and Loren Avedon is pretty low on my Avedon scale #RichardAvedon. Tony LoBianco plays Briggs, the police detective assigned to the murders, friend of Janna, and possible red herring. Walter Koening, aka Chekov, plays Dr. Breitenheim, an expert in psychic abilities and ESP, provider of knowledge to Janna, and possible red herring. Rumor has is that Koening was a real nightmare on set, acting like a total Jerkov.
- Who’s the Bad? I have given you plenty of characters that could possibly be bad guys and one of them is definitely in on the murder of Janna’s family, but there is one bad guy I will let you know about. Teddy, played by Brad Dourif who you might remember as Charles Lee Ray and the voice of Chucky from Childs Play or possibly from Mississippi Burning, is on trial for a different crime and needs Janna as an expert witness. Teddy’s defense attorney is E.G. Whitman, played by Max Thayer of Iron Eagle fame. Janna is able to find out Teddy is involved in the murder by her psychic touch, but she must also do her duty as a witness. Even though Janna knows Teddy is guilty of her sister’s murder, she must help get Teddy off, or does she!
- Girl n the Hood. When Janna goes out looking for the murderers, she goes around in a black hooded sweatshirt. Janna seeks revenge from the murders using her psychic abilities and help from the different men in her life who may or may not be trying the help. Janna systematically goes after the murderers and also uncovers which one of her alleged friends is really working against her. I don’t want to spoil the specifics, but like a good revenge film, Janna gets her revenge. However, it does not bring her sister and nephew back to life, so was it worth? Discuss amongst yourselves.
Chris the Brain once told me that Cynthia Rothrock doesn’t really do it for him. Of course, he has never seen Sworn to Justice. Rothrock does everything in her power to impress not only CTB, but the rest of the action movie loving public. The lady can act, but she really shines in the fight scenes. They are believable and entertaining. When I say they are believable, I mean the majority are believable. There is an oddly placed comedic fight with cartoonish sound effects, but there is also a fart joke so all is forgiven. Rothrock goes further and shows more of herself then in any of her other movies in a couple of love scenes. Sadly, the action in the fight scenes is more entertaining, but a lot of that has to do with Kurt McKinney’s tighty whiteys.
What a terrible image to leave you with. Here are some bonus bullet points to stop you from looking for revenge…
- Tagline, You’re It – Sworn to Justice has the appropriate and totally unique tagline “Revenge has never been so sweet. And by totally unique I mean that you must ignore two similarly titled movies Sweet Justice “When revenge is bitter…Justice is sweet” and Señorita Justice “Vengeance isn’t always ugly.”
- If You Ever… wanted to see Kenn Scott (Showdown) defenestrate Ian Jacklin (Death Match) through a chicken wire window, and if you don’t you better take a look at your life, then Sworn to Justice is the movie for you.
- Uh-oh Better Get Mako – Everyone’s favorite mononymous Academy Award nominee from The Sand Pebbles makes an appearance as a blind newspaper stand salesman and good friend of Janna.