Excessive Force

(Jon Hess, USA, 1993)


Excessive Force is an appropriate title for a ludicrously violent, macho crime thriller designed as a vehicle for Thomas Ian Griffith, who writes and produces as well as starring.

It’s not enough for Griffith to be a sadistic vigilante in the Dirty Harry mould. In between the bone-crunching, blood-splattering action and torture scenes, he’s also a sensitive guy who pines for his lost love and jams in a jazz combo with pal James Earl Jones.

Ultra-violent, foul-mouthed action films can be intelligent, well crafted and exhilarating. But Excessive Force is brainless, merely bombastic stuff, where every edit is a noisy shock cut; most lines of dialogue are leering, racist curses; and the street air is choked with sleazy saxophone wails and curling columns of smoke from manholes.

© Adrian Martin September 1993

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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