Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Steele Justice

   This is the second time I've seen Steele Justice, but it's only the first time I've seen it on Blu Ray. I never would've thought that this old catalog title would've made the jump to HD, but I couldn't be more glad that it did. Now I can appreciate Martin Cove's best stab at becoming his own 'Rambo' in full high definition. Because what's a catchier name than JOHN STEELE? There is none, that's what. You can only bask in the amazingness of a movie that ends with the bad guy saying "There is only Black Tiger law!" and Steele replies... "And the only justice... is me." Dead serious.

   In a movie like this, that doesn't even qualify as narcissism because it's so frickin' true. All the other good guys are woefully inept. The cops can't do shit, Steele's old war buddies can't do shit, and in fact the only other useful person in the movie is Steele's ex wife. Sure, Steele Justice is just a massive collage of cliches and well worn tropes, but it keeps chugging along under the dedication of Martin Kove and Sela Ward. Ronny Cox shows up as an angry scheming police captain, because of course he does. You know who else is obviously in this movie? Al Leong. Because... of course he is.

   Steele Justice plays like the bastard child of a threeway between Lethal Weapon, Rambo: First Blood Pt.II and Beverly Hills Cop (minus the humor). It's funny in it's own way because there's so many familiar faces, catchy one liners, and big guns that anyone would be hard pressed to be un-entertained by Steele Justice. It's nothing if not serviceable, and I can think of worse movies that got way more popular. I maintain that the people behind this movie were genuinely trying their damndest to make something good, because it's very obvious when they're not.

   There are efforts to humanize Steele and make him a well-written character, but somewhere between the sea of genre cliches and 80's synthesizer music, those efforts became muddled. Not that I'm complaining mind you. John Steele is no Martin Riggs, but he might as well be the bargain bin equivalent. He's effective, with his giant shotguns, knife-launching rifle, and his pet snake Three Step. (Because if it bites you, you only make it three steps before you die- get it? GET IT?) There's so many bargain bin action movies like this that you'd be forgiven for lumping Steele Justice in there alongside them- but it's so much better.

   The movie is brimming with violence, and sincere but misguided attempts at serious filmmaking. Martin Kove is endlessly likable as John Steele and Sela Ward kicks ass as his romantic interested. What's left to say? Stuff blows up real well, the music is solid, and the action hits hard. Bonus points for how good it looks on Blu Ray. This is one 80's B-actioner that shouldn't be overlooked, especially if you're a genre fan. Given that the BD sells fairly inexpensively on Amazon, you've got no reason not to give it a try. I dare you not to get the theme music stuck in your head.

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