By: Alex Phuong (Four Beers) –
Whenever there is a scene of violence in media, sometimes people wonder if such actions are justifiable. Sometimes bloodshed (and even death) is necessary in order to benefit society as a whole. The graphic nature of violence and death form a major element of Mark L. Lester’s Extreme Justice. That title is actually very fitting for what happens in the film because there are numerous times when justice is taken to the extreme.
One of the best elements of this film is Lou Diamond Phillips’s performance as Jeff Powers. He is able to capture the complexity of his character because he oftentimes expresses doubt for his actions. Such a mentality reveals that he has a human conscience. It is almost as if he figuratively asks himself, “Should I do this? Or should I not?” Jeff constantly has his internal struggles while asking if he should go about being part of a death squad. This performance gives the film a layer of complexity while also encouraging audiences to look beyond the violence, and to ask themselves if people really do deserve to die (or not).
Since this is a violent film, it can be tough to sit through. Gun shooting begins almost immediately after the opening credits, and the violence is very pervasive. Like many gory films, there is a lot of blood (and even several cadavers). This film can be very disturbing.
Some of the characters take up screen time for the sake of killing time. For example, there is a scene in which there are two stupid beach boys wanting to commit a robbery. Violence and chaos are obviously a part of this scene, and such senseless violence characterizes a majority of the film.
This film is slightly misogynistic. The female lead is named Kelly Daniels, and she does her best to write reports about the mass killings while also maintaining her integrity when doing her newspaper work. There are also disturbing scenes involving women as victims, but such information cannot be divulged here because of spoiler alerts.
In many great stories, violence is an essential element to the storytelling. Epic stories like the Trojan War and the Battle of Actium have characterized both historical events and fictionalized accounts based on such events. Violence really does drive the plot in this film, but it is oftentimes gratuitous. Maybe some audiences would develop the mentality of its lead character, Jeff Powers, after watching this film, and ask themselves if any criminal activity does anything redeemable whatsoever.
Extreme Justice (1993) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: for every gunshot
Take a Drink: for every gory moment
Drink a Shot: for each dead body