Cast: Lorenzo Lamas, Chris Sarandon, Peter Coyote
I hate Lorenzo Lamas. Why he is a star is beyond me; for
the man simply can't act. He utters all of his lines in the same soft
voice, no matter what his characters are feeling, or for whatever
they are in. Even his facial features (always sported with a permanent
day's growth of beard) never seem to change throughout any of his
And he always looks like he slept in a gutter in the night before, with
his long uncombed greasy hair, and ill-fitting (and ill looking)
And just look at the movies he's made. They include such monstrosities
like Body Rock, Final Impact, Bad Blood, and
three SnakeEater movies.
I had never seen a good Lorenzo Lamas movie, so when I got a chance to
see Terminal Justice, I was naturally hesitant at first.
In the end, I decided to watch it, so I could again serve the public by
telling them about another B movie person to avoid (which I did earlier
with Albert Pyun in my review of Omega Doom.)
But I was surprised by Terminal Justice. Now, don't get
wrong - overall, this movie doesn't get a recommendation from me.
I was never bored by the movie, and I actually found several things
the movie either entertaining or intriguing. It's not a movie to
pay for or seek out - but if you are pressed to watch a Lorenzo Lamas
this is the movie to choose.
The movie takes place in 2008, in some unidentified
North American city.
What's interesting about this setting is even though there is some new
technology seen throughout, the movie shows civilian life pretty much
it is now - a more realistic viewpoint, I think. This slightly advanced
look is evident in the first scene, showing famous actress Pamela
(Kari Saldin) relaxing one night in her home. Her relaxation is
by several masked men trying to break in. Luckily, cop Bobby Chase
is moonlighting as a security guard, and quickly arrives to save
In the darkened house, Chase's eyes suddenly switch to a shining green
- his eyes are actually man-made, with a night vision mode. I didn't
find the idea of these eyes silly - here and elsewhere, these devices
treated fairly seriously - but seeing someone like Lamas having
eyes is pretty amusing.
Needless to say, Chase saves the day (make that
"night".) And needless
to say, Pamela is still a bitch, since its standard in movies like this
for the woman to be mean towards the male hero at first. The police
assigns Chase to head up the police unit assigned to keep Pamela under
guard. Bobby isn't pleased with this, especially since he has another
in mind - he is determined to bust criminal Reggie Matthews (Sarandon),
head of a software company devoted to virtual reality, for illegal
on the side (as well as for a mysterious personal reason.) Chase is
by his partner during his pursuit. Since his partner is significantly
than him, it's inevitable that during a chase of some of Matthews'
Chase's partner gets gunned down. The next few minutes boast some of
worst attempts at acting, including him uttering, "No.....no......no!"
in his monotone, feebly kicking around the furniture while alone in his
apartment, and covering all of his face with his hands while bending
Terminal Justice boasts several silly
sequences like that,
one of the more silly being later, when at a restaurant, Chase and
are attacked by the bad guys by a model helicopter with what seems like
an unlimited number of bullets. Not a very practical weapon, if you
about it. It's also silly when Chase and Pamela soon fall in love and
into bed together, since (aside from that dinner scene) they have
spent any time together. That relationship is strictly B movie formula.
Though elsewhere in the movie, there is a relationship that's not
Soon after Chase's partner is killed, he is forced to team up with
(Todd Thawley, in a good performance), a sarcastic lab technician.
first impression (and ours) of Hiroshi is that he is a snotty little
going strictly by the book. Of course, their first attempt at teaming
doesn't go very well, and there is shouting. But little by little, the
two start to work well together, teaming up in various ways. And during
this evolution, our viewpoint on Hiroshi changes as well. We learn more
about him as the movie progresses, and we begin to like him, even
sympathy for him when he's placed in a dangerous or embarrassing
This relationship also generates some nice comic moments. In one scene,
Hiroshi wants to hack into Chase's computer eyes, so he can see on his
computer monitor what Chase is seeing at the other end of town. "So
happens when I have to take a leak?" complains Chase. Hiroshi dryly
"I'll use magnification, if that will help."
The idea of linking into Chase's computer eyes is one of
things that can be seen in this movie. It's also well done in
with both men giving each other information to work on in order to
the problem at hand. There's also a neat virtual reality machine that
police department uses. A computer scans and records everything in a
scene, and later, the police can revisit the crime scene via virtual
to see if they missed anything at the actual scene, or if they made a
collecting evidence the first time. Terminal Justice also
brings up and briefly discusses some serious issues that may come with
advances on certain aspects of technology. In this future, sex is
on virtual reality. Since it is "perfect every time", many men have
stopped having sex with real women and pursuing real relationships.
and illegal virtual reality games that have killed some of its players
are hot on the black market. The movie also makes some creepy theories
as to how human cloning might be exploited, and that how laws may have
to be changed when the first human clones appear.
So while Terminal Justice does have some
it has quite a few original and interesting ideas up its sleeves. The
is also very well produced; despite the low-key set design and other
there was definitely a budget here, giving the movie a very good look
making the mistake of making it too polished. It's much better than
B movies, but it doesn't quite work either - there are two major
with this movie. The first problem is that viewers will be in a mild
of confusion in many parts of the movie; there are too many times when
something is either never explained, or not explained or revealed until
later in the movie. Chase's eyes are not explained as soon as you'd
It's suddenly revealed more than halfway in the movie that Pamela is
among men because she was used illegally in a virtual reality sex
Beforehand, we get the impression she's popular, but we don't know why.
We don't even see her character do some acting at any time in the
The confusion of the movie is furthered by the fact that for large
of the movie, the story grinds to a halt. During such times, we wonder
just where this story is going. It doesn't help that the movie is set
an anonymous city, and sometimes in anonymous locations.
The second reason is Lamas. Once again, he gives a very
not just in his scenes where he is upset. He talks with such an
tone, we don't root for him, we just get impatient at him. Because of
Chase becomes a bland character when a strong hero is needed. When he
a line like, "Burn in hell, you monster..." in a whisper, it destroys
chance of Lamas building an aura of some kind of feeling around him.
movie needs a hero who is determined and can let his feelings
to himself. Also, Lamas is dressed up in scruffy leather pants and a
overcoat (which he wears throughout the movie), somehow giving Chase a
kind of stinkiness around him, even if we can't smell anything. It
help that his stubble and long dirty hair accompanies this outfit. This
performance and the confusing aspects sink the movie from being a B
gem into a near miss. Terminal Justice is yet more
that Lorenzo Lamas has never made a good movie, and I don't think any
in the future I'll say so. But I have to admit, I never thought that
ever say that Lorenzo Lamas has been in a movie good enough to be a
miss. When you consider the quality of Lamas' other movies, I think
worth something. P.S. - I hate Lorenzo Lamas.
for availability on Amazon (DVD)
See also: Body Armor, Deadly Force, Lethal