Jeff Wincott unleashes to avenge a friend in this thematic third entry of the Martial Law franchise…and no, not the Sammo Hung series either.
Kurt Harris is considered one of the best undercover officers in Los Angeles, despite the fact his methods are a bit unorthodox. This draws the wrath of his supervisor, Sgt. Duncan, but has the support of his partner, Lynn Steele. When an informer is released from custody after a domestic violence incident, the informer kills his girlfriend and Harris is sent to a rage. To vent out his anger, Kurt goes to his old gym, where he reunites with friend and trainer Cedric Williams.
That night, before closing his gym, Cedric is confronted by Dr. Rachel Larkin, whose Mission of Justice, brings in a group of vigilantes known as the Peacemakers, who help the police stop criminals. Larkin is planning to become the mayor of the city and when Cedric refuses to continue her campaign, he is murdered by her brother Titus, an expert fighter. When Kurt discovers the connection between Cedric and the Peacemakers, he quits the force but goes undercover to infiltrate the Mission of Justice to get the truth and avenge Cedric.
After his stint on the television series Night Heat, Jeff Wincott would go on to make a name for himself in martial arts action flicks beginning with Martial Law II: Undercover replacing Chad McQueen. This has been marketed in some areas as the third entry of the franchise and once again has Wincott showcasing his amazing martial arts skills. While “The Lady Dragon” Cynthia Rothrock helped take center stage in the first two films, she is replaced here by “The Karate Diva”, Karen Sheperd who ironically faced off against Rothrock in 1986’s Above the Law aka Righting Wrongs.
There is a similar theme with these three films, and it involves our hero cop going undercover to seek justice and at times, vengeance. In the case of this particular film, Wincott’s Kurt infiltrates a local vigilante group whose founder has dark intentions despite her attempt to show the public how good natured she is. Brigitte Nielsen is great as this villain, Dr. Larkin, who will go to great lengths to ensure her campaign, even murder. In addition, she has an enforcer in her younger brother Titus, played by German powerhouse Matthias Hues, who once again shows why he is quite a menacing fighter when the script calls for it. Rocky’s Tony Burton makes a memorable appearance as Kurt’s friend and mentor, Cedric, the reason why Kurt decides to pursue the Peacemakers.
As with Martial Law II, Jeff Pruitt once again serves as the film’s martial arts director. Pruitt also gets to help take center stage in one of the film’s highlight action scenes as one of the Peacemakers. The scene in question is a garage fight where Wincott, Pruitt, and Billy “Sly” Williams take on the auto shop crew. However, that scene doesn’t compare to Wincott’s initiation scene in the Peacemakers. Known as The Gauntlet, Wincott using a pair of escrima sticks decimates his way through a band of stuntmen including Kung Pow: Enter the Fist’s Leo Lee, Never Back Down fight choreographer Damon Caro, and John Wick director Chad Stahelski to name a few. This is one of Wincott’s best fights ever on screen, especially when he unleashes a flurry of stick strikes against Jeet Kune Do expert Burton Richardson.
Mission of Justice is an excellent 90’s indie martial arts action film that would become the major steppingstone in Jeff Wincott’s prolific career of the decade. This is an essential film for newbie martial arts film fans.
WFG RATING: B+
An Image Organization production. Director: Steve Barnett. Producers: Pierre David and Kurt Anderson. Writers: George Saunders and John Bryant; story by Pierre David. Cinematography: Peter Fernberger. Editing: Brent Schoenfeld.
Cast: Jeff Wincott, Brigitte Nielsen, Karen Sheperd, Matthias Hues, Luca Bercovici, Cyndi Pass, Christopher Kriesa, James Lew, Billy “Sly” Williams, Tony Burton, Jeff Pruitt.