Hard Justice (1995 Video)
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It's hard to see how anyone could take this film seriously, even while giving it a bad review. This film is way beneath 'bad'.
The continuity of this film is outrageously butchered. In one fight scene, we the hero (wearing bluejeans and undershirt) turn a corner with two revolvers in his hand; he doubles back, only now he has two semi-automatics in his hands; he turns another corner and now he has an automatic rifle in his hands; he chases down a hallway and comes out (suddenly dressed in standard army fatigue jacket)with a shotgun; after which he exits the building with yet another automatic rifle. Or here's one for the books - a bus slams into a car at high speed; the car goes flying, thrown by a gigantic explosion - cut to the bus which is completely unscathed from the same explosion? The narrative continuity suffers from an equally numbing sense of unreality; the bad guys really want to kill the hero - obviously - but every time they knock him out or otherwise get him in a vulnerable position, they suddenly decide they want him "to live to see this!" Huh? One of the funnier moments of the film is when the hero is released from isolation because his lawyer has come to see him; then the bad guy decides he's not going to let the two meet after all; and this despite the fact that the the villain, the hero and his lawyer all know what's going on anyway, so the hero writes a note to the lawyer and next we see the note being passed to the lawyer by another prisoner, even though we never see the hero give it to him. (This lawyer, BTW, has complete access to the Offices of the ATF in California, including its confidential computer files.) Huh? Well, but it's a mindless action movie - so how're the action scenes? Not bad, surprisingly; unfortunately they happen to be stoled from about a dozen Hong Kong films made five or ten years previously. The opening scene, a shoot-out in a junker garage, actually has shots the composition of which are stolen directly from "Hard Boiled" - so clearly so that it's a wonder John Woo didn't sue for plagiarism.
Other Hong Kong films stolen from include "Prison on Fire", "Island on Fire", "Burning Paradise", "Police Story" I, II, and III (aka "Supercop"). I thought I recognized a couple Sammo Hung clips here as well. In other words, the actions scenes are exciting only to the extent that they are successful duplications of action scenes from other films.
There's nothing one can do with this film unless one shoots smack and just needs a lot of visual stimuli that needn't be make any sense.
Very funny film, for all the wrong reasons.
At the start of the movie Nick, with very little help from the ATF, is involved in a shoot-out with a number of hoods belonging to a local L.A Asian street gang. Nick was not able to prevent, when he kicked up his gun that he was forced to drop, the murder of a young woman by gang leader Jimmy Wong. who he was holding the woman hostage. Sick and depressed over the woman's death Nick dropped out of sight until the tragic news of Larry's murder hit him.
Determined to find Larry's killer, or killers, Nick has himself put behind bars as a convicted criminal. Not just to track down Larry's killers but find out what he uncovered. That later lead to Larry's murder. Nick finds that the very officials in both the prison and his own law enforcement government agency, the ATF, were not only behind Larry's death but are running a major gun smuggling ring right out of the state penitentiary!
With Warden Pike in charge who together with his captain of the guards Riggs the two are working with convicts Lee & Chow ,two top Asian street gang members. The two convicts are using the prison basement to store enough guns to equip an entire US Marine battalion. Nick's cover is blown as soon as he enter the "clink" by someone very high up in the ATF. Knowing that's he's an undercover cop, or ATF agent, Nick is a marked man with no one to help him in or outside of prison and has to battle it out with the scores of vengeful and homicidal prisoners who are out to murder him.
The film "Hard Justice" is saved by it's almost non-stop action scenes, that ends with an amazing helicopter chase and fight sequence on and over the streets of L.A. That makes you forget just how ridicules it's plot really is, especially the connection between the AFT prison Warden Pike and the Asian street gang. With Charles Napier giving the best acting performance in the movie as the corrupt and, what later turns out to be, crazed Warden Pikes. Pikes who was a POW in Vietnam never seemed to have gotten over his psychosis of being in prison. When he came back to the states, after being released by the Viet Cong, Pikes could only feel at home in a lock-up; but this time as the the guy in charge not the one behind bars.
David Bradley as ATF agent Nick Adams was, as expected, very good in his fight action scenes but his acting, that you wouldn't expected much of, was a lot better then you would have expected it to be. What I couldn't figure out about Nick was why he had a fresh head wound over his left eye all throughout the movie, who's story took place well over a week in movie time. Without it ever healing or even being dressed and covered with a band-aid?
The opening scene is promising, as narc officer Nick Adams (a forgettable David Bradley) takes down a large-scale drug deal in a seemingly fail-safe warehouse. Wouldn't you know it, there's an overhead window Nick smashes through by means of dropping from a helicopter, guns blaring. He is marginally successful, but consequences lead him to go undercover in a hardcore prison to find out who murdered his ex-partner.
This is where the movie starts to go flat. Writers Nicholas Amendolare and Chris Bold invest way too much in the prison section of the film. The subplots of goings-on in the prison are clearly more interesting to these writers than they are to the poor audience member. The action scenes are stifled by this plot structure, being that they are pushed aside so that a weak, mostly boring plot can be developed. The results are a very mediocre action movie.
One recommendable aspect of the film is the few big action sequences. Yaintes is very skillful in capturing details as to involve the viewer in the action. He has an eye for what looks cool in terms of stunt work, gun play and special effects. With a better script, he could make a very strong action film. Its too bad this is a less than strong debut.
Also, watch for good performance by Yuji Okomoto and the beautiful Benita Andre, who plays Nick's wife Hannah. They do what they can in a limiting script, and their work should be recognized.
"Hard Justice" is without a doubt David Bradley's best movie. The plot is: Nick Adams (Bradley) goes undercover in a prison to root out his best friend's killer. He realizes that not only is the prison corrupt, his arch enemy Jimmy Wong is back to even the score. The plot is basically a rip-off of the Van Damme movie "Death Warrant", but it makes up for that in the action sequences. The opening is fantastic, with almost non-stop action. The climax is also well-executed. But the middle, where Adams is in the prison does lag a little.
Charles Napier is great as the evil warden. The fight choreography does show off Bradley's martial arts ability, thankfully the filmmakers didn't over-edit the scenes. Overall, this is the Bradley movie to see.
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It is really funny that two very different movies could be made from Hard Justice. One with John Woo style action and one that is a typical prison actioner like Death Warrant.
I am no fan of Prison movies except Undisputed 2 and I could have lived without the very cut and paste prison movie parts.
However John Woo style gun fights (especially the one at the beginning) is awesome. I wish they could have kept the style throughout the movie.
One thing that bothered me is that stunt people's faces were so obvious so all those "more than necessary" dangerous scenes lost its appeal quick.
If you love Hard-Boiled and The Killer you will love certain parts of this movie. The rest is so-so actioner
The first scene is a tribute/reference to the John Woo's movie Hard Boiled, we have a shootout in a garage/warehouse and the main character, Nick Adams (David Bradley) is dressed like Chow Yun-Fat in that scene in Hard Boiled.
Speaking of John Woo, Hard Justice is better than any movie that John Woo made in the USA.
Most of the action is based on martial arts fights, David Bradley shows good skills in martial arts, i liked him in American Samurai, American Ninja 3 and Cyborg Cop II.
The final battle scene is spectacular, Hard Justice makes a good use of it's budget.