Extreme Justice (1993) – Review

3 Stars

An official unit working under the protection of the LAPD consisting of ten men, all highly decorated officers with a habit for disciplinary trouble are recruited to take down the worst offenders in the city. The squad performs its violent duties without interference from internal affairs investigations and media reporting. The death squad known as the S.I.S. division aka Special Investigation Services is led by veteran detective Dan Vaughn (Scott Glenn) and a rogues gallery of fellow officer/killers.

A liquor store holdup results in the death of the culprit and one of the valued members of the elite force. So Vaughn must recruit his former partner Jeff Powers (Lou Diamond Phillips) to take the vacant spot on the team. Powers’ track record is outstanding but his methods have been judged as too harsh, making him a perfect fit for his new assignment with the S.I.S. Before long it becomes apparent that the crew has no intention of stopping crimes, they are solely interested in murdering criminals, mostly in cold-blood. It’s an interesting dilemma that the picture only half explores, who is the criminals and who are the cops becomes a blurred line for all involved.

Extreme Justice has been directed by Mark L. Lester, probably best known for Commando and Class of 1984. Lester has assembled a quality cast that carries the film further than would have been the case with lesser actors. Scott Glenn is particularly appealing as the recently divorced head honcho and mastermind behind the squad’s assignments and death dealings. Movies like this are rather common today in the wake of Training Day, Rampart and so on. Extreme Justice can be viewed as a precursor to those titles, but with a more action-oriented angle. Star Lou Diamond Phillips is in need of a serious haircut, but his verbal tangles with Glenn are reminders at the emotional depth shown in La Bamba and rarely seen since.

Director: Mark L. Lester
Stars: Lou Diamond Phillips, Scott Glenn, Chelsea Field

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