Action star Dolph Lundgren (Rocky IV, Universal Soldier) is an escaped convict on a mission of revenge, in Joshua Tree (1993), an entertaining comic book adventure, directed by stunt specialist Vic Armstrong (Starship Troopers, Tomorrow Never Dies), which features an abundance of nicely executed action sequences, car chases, gunfights, and pyrotechnics. Also known as "Army of One", the film is produced by Vic's brother Andy Armstrong (Rambo III), who also serves as the second unit director, and stunt coordinator.
Things are not going well for ex-race car driver Wellman Anthony Santee (Lundgren), when his best friend is killed, and he is wrongfully convicted for killing a cop, in a deal that has gone bad. Santee escapes from custody while in transit to prison, and flees into the southern California desert. In need of wheels, Santee grabs a truck, and kidnaps off duty sheriff Rita Marek (Kristian Alfonso) at a gas station. The innocent hostage being dragged into danger has been way overdone, but it works well in this case, as Alfonso is sassy, sexy, colorful, and does not lose her cool. She is always trying to figure things out, which helps the viewer, since there is often a certain element of mystery regarding what is happening.
Lt. Franklin Severance (George Segal) and his partner Jack Rudisill (Beau Starr), the Los Angeles cops who originally arrested Santee, join the law enforcement posse pursuing Santee, but they have a slightly different agenda. Santee's quest to get money owed to him, results in a crazy mad battle at a warehouse full of stolen sports cars. The mayhem is surreal, and quite amusing, as Santee is all over the place, blasting everything in sight. He escapes with Rita in a sports coupe that does amazingly well off road, as the chase in the desert continues.
Santee goes through the adventure operating at less than full strength, having been shot and wounded several times. Fortunately he heals quickly. The obnoxious Severance and his partner, are able to hold their own in a fight, only because Santee is injured. Their fight scenes are hilarious, choreographed like a pro wrestling match, with Santee repeatedly receiving blows in his wounded areas.
The storyline is unpolished and rough in places, but the entertaining stunts and fights, help make Joshua Tree a mostly exciting ride, and one of Dolph Lundgren's better films. Soap star Kristian Alfonso (Days of Our Lives), who's career had mostly been in television, is quite good here.
Shout Factory's Bluray release features a widescreen presentation that is a huge improvement over the 1999 full screen DVD release. Extras include a commentary track by directors Vic and Andy Armstrong, an alternate ending, and interviews with the Armstrong's, and stars Lundgren and Alfonso.