Extreme Justice (1993)

The magic of a Mark Lester movie is that they start with a typical set-up — Lou Diamond Philips is a young cop who becomes part of a vigilante unit — but ends up being way better than it seems like it could ever really be.

Think movies getting delayed are a COVID-19 thing? The LA riots kept this out of theaters and it finally debuted on HBO all the way back in 1993.

The best thing about Lester’s films is that he knows how to cast. Sure, he’s pretty much remaking Magnum Force, but in addition to Phillips, he’s got a berserk Scott Glenn talking to a photo of his dead wife while pointing a gun at it, Yaphet Kotto dressing in what I can only assume are his own sartorial choices, former Solid Gold dancer and Teela actress Chelsea Field (yes, she’s also in Lester’s Commando, as well as PrisonDeath SpaDust Devil and Sleeping Dogs Lie, a movie that dares to team the drummer of Rage Against the Machine with Ed Asner), Andrew Divoff (The Djinn from Wishmaster!), Stephen Root (one of my all-time favorite character actors) and Ed Lauter (Death Wish 3).

According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, the producers of this movie were the subject of intense surveillance by the Special Investigation Section during the making of the film. They used a real cop bar and the real logo of the cop group, but the SIS continues to earn a high-profile arrest record without incidents like this movie.

In any other movie, Phillips and Glenn’s battle would be the dramatic close, but here it’s out of control, with Glenn coldcocking our hero’s wife before getting launched through a plate glass window. I screamed at the TV I was so excited. You may do the same.

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