A group of Chicago cops are involved in a raid from which $3,000,000 disappears. The local mob go after them and the body count starts to rise. The new Chief of Police makes it clear to the last remaining officer that he will look the other way if he takes the law into his own hands. When the policeman finds he can't follow through on this someone else does and he finds himself and his girl are being hunted by more or less everyone for their own reasons. Turn your brain off & enjoy !
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I love the Action/Adventure B-movie genre. I recognise themes which run throughout them all. Occasionally though, I watch one, and realise that "something ought to be said" about it.
This is one of these films that I watched (last night) and realised that something ought to be said about it.
Firstly, I note that the screenplay to this film was written, and the film was produced, by the star of this film himself - Thomas Ian Griffith - presumably as a vehicle to get noticed. For that he is to be commended. Well done, and well done for raising the finance, getting it together, seeing it through and getting an actual hard copy result. That is one good point.
The second good point is that for an Action/Adventure B-Movie, the action is very good.
Overall, though, this film leaves a very nasty taste in the mouth.
There are a couple of scenes of fairly graphic violence which are totally unnecessary and intended only to appeal to the basest, most pruriently sadistic elements of our human nature. No good can come of that.
However, the worst aspect of this film was the storyline.
It can be summed up by saying, "Chicago and its institutions - especially its Police - is blatantly and irredeemably corrupt." This aggressively anti-Police point is made very clear throughout the film, to an extent which should have given the City of Chicago, and its cops, some kind of case against the company which made this unedifying cinema.
I don't live in America. I am not even an American. But I find that attitude (the institutions of society are corrupt) to be tiresome, anti-human, cynical, hostile, damaging nonsense - which is well past its sell-by date!Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
GRIFFITH'S BEST SINCE KARATE KID III5 Feb. 2004
- Published on Amazon.com
Action superstar Thomas Ian Griffith takes on evil Italians and corrupt cops in this edge-of-your seat thriller. In perhaps his best role of all time, Griffith crafts a fascinating character unlike any ever seen before: a cop frustrated with his work and alienated from his wife. When Griffith uses excessive force to get a confession, a web of intruige and sinister alliances is slowly revealed to him. The film also features a supporting cast of seasoned veterans such as James Earl Jones and Lance Henriksen who both deliver solid performances. With plot twists you will never see coming, touching moments which will leave you in tears and the one of best guitar-solo and saxophone soundtracks ever written - not to mention explosive, glass-breaking karate action, "Excessive Force" is a 90 minute visual feast of pure adrenaline! A must-see film for any fan of good cinema.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Shoulda Been A Star13 Jan. 2004
- Published on Amazon.com
Good action movie. I actually saw this in the theater(yes, it did have a theatrical release!) back in the day. This was about the time when cheap action and horror films were starting to disappear from theaters. Excessive Force would be straight to video if released today. Pity, coz it's pretty fun. Thomas Ian Griffth never became the next Seagal or VanDamme-something the producers were obviously trying to do with him-but he really does the action tough guy thing wonderfully. He even had a hand in the script. He's got the look and the moves, he's even a decent actor. He went on to do some direct to video action pics, and played the lead vampire in John Carpenter's Vampires. You may also remember him as one of the villians from Karate Kid III(the guy who teaches Daniel how to break noses). Other than that, the guy is virtually unknown. The plot doesn't offer anything groundbreaking in terms of cops/robbers action, but it's a cliched film done well. It's got a better than average supporting cast of James Earl Jones, Lance Henriksen, Tony Todd(the Candyman himself!), and Burt Young(Paulie from the Rocky movies). These guys must have also seen potential of the script to want to appear in it. Good supporting actors, a good script, and a good performance from the lead raise this otherwise by-the-numbers action movie up a few notches to something quite entertaining.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Well it's about time19 Aug. 2003
Nathanael D. Robinson
- Published on Amazon.com
This is one of those good action flicks in a long list that have taken way too long to make the DVD transfer. This is quite possibly an action fan's best introduction to Thomas Ian Griffith. Once you become acquainted with this film, you will soon realize just how underutilized this man is in the Hollywood Action scene. He combines impressive moves with decent acting chops and just comes across as a pretty cool cat. In addition, this was a fresh action film. It didn't rely on lead spraying alone. Character developement and a few twists combined with awesome casting--James Earl Jones, among other familiar and welcome faces--was obviously important in the overall spectrum of this movie. It wasn't just thrown together. We get a cop who winds up caught in the crossfire of the shadey politics of his own police precinct, finding himself alone in the struggle with no one to trust after his partner is brutily murdered. This film poses the question, "how well do you know your friends?" This is one you can share with fellow action fans that may not have had the pleasure of viewing. Griffith's movies are few and far apart but they're all worth watching. Support this man! I'm looking forward to seeing his work on the sequel to Timecop.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
I wanna see the tough guy!27 Dec. 2001
- Published on Amazon.com
After his partner is tortured and killed, Terry decides enough is enough. For a rather [inexpensive] movie "Excessive Force" is awesome: Great cast, Great fight scenes, and some Great lines. Thomas Ian Griffith never took off as the action hero of the 90's, but with other memorable roles in Karate Kid 3 & Vampires, he proves he's not just another Perfect Weapon, or Stone Cold. If you like the kind of action flick that is usually on [a pay channel] around 3:00 AM, then check out "Excessive Force", you'll be glad you did.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
"Above the Law" meets "Rapid Fire"...with Some Problems11 Feb. 2010
- Published on Amazon.com
One of the more lamentable cases of Hollywood banishing a promising action hero before his time is that of Thomas Ian Griffith, a man of satisfactory charisma and considerable physical talents who seems destined to be remembered as a villain in a lesser Karate Kid sequel. Despite continuing a small-time starring career for several years following "Excessive Force," his chances of being the next Seagal or Van Damme were dashed when his first major movie bombed and he was shelved into DTV releases and the odd supporting role in films like Vampires. True, this movie isn't ever going to be considered among action's greats, but it's solid and enjoyable enough to credit Griffith as a truly regrettable loss.
The story: following a $3 million mafia drug bust, the police team headed by Officer Terry McCain (Griffith) is targeted by a scorned underworld boss (Burt Young, Rocky series) who suddenly winds up dead. McCain's teammates die around him as a new police chief is instated (Lance Henriksen, Aliens), and before long, he comes to suspect that the offense is coming from inside the police department. With the mob and crooked cops gunning for him, McCain must rely on his detective work and skills as a martial artist to survive.
The most significant feature of the film is the surprisingly varied cast which also includes Tony Todd (Candyman series) as McCain's trusted partner, Charlotte Lewis (The Golden Child) as McCain's love interest, and the inimitable James Earl Jones as the owner of a jazz club McCain frequents. However, I'm sorry to say that this cast isn't utilized nearly as much as it should have been: while Burt Young and Jones both get a scene in which they demonstrate why they're Oscar nominees for other movies, their onscreen exposure is very limited in this outing. The same goes for Tony Todd, who goes from solid to swell before disappearing for half of the movie. Henriksen is seen continually alongside Griffith and Lewis, but even though their portrayals are solid, they can't keep the story as interesting as it should be.
Speaking of consistency, Griffith's tae kwon do is displayed throughout the movie. Within the first two minutes, he's dropped a picture-perfect axe kick on some unfortunate's head and continues to kick people in the face at least once every ten minutes, not to mention managing at least two flying kicks throughout the film. Like the drama portion of the flick, however, the martial aspect is also not without fault. Griffith has excellent forms and performs without the aid of stunt doubles in his fights, but a combination of could-be-better camerawork, underwhelming sound effects, and the refusal of his onscreen opponents to sell his strikes has ol' Tom looking a bit weak. The fights last a respectively long tim, not because of their back & forth pacing, but because it takes the poor guy about a dozen kicks to knock someone off his feet, and the effect is disappointing.
For fans of this era of action films, this entry will nevertheless supply a classier addition to a library of B-movies. Depending on how much forethought you give the plot, it doesn't offer too many unexpected twists, but despite its relative complexity, it moves with a clear pace and is easy to follow - a significant accomplishment for lifetime low-budget director Jon Hess (Alligator 2 - The Mutation). Pick it up, action fans. You can definitely go worse.