Review by Mark Merrell
Sometimes due to a technicality in a court of law, evidence is not admissible, and the accused goes free, or never faces trial. Has justice really be served?
Directed and Written by Marvin Young, Justice Served takes a look at the accused and their victims, but without all of the pomp and circumstance of the courtroom. The movie opens in a bar. We see and hear the bartender talking with a guy who turns out to be a shady character by the name of Galen (Jay Giannone, American Hustle, Safe, Gone Baby Gone) about murder and hit men. Another person in the bar, Junior (Lewis V. Johnson) soon tells Galen a car is being broken into that fits the description of Galen’s car, so he runs out of the bar and confronts the thief, Vic (Tobias Chandel Jones). Vic takes off running behind a building, and Galen starts hitting him, until Junior comes up behind Galen and zaps him with a stun gun until Galen passes out, as fellow conspirator, Vernon (David Horn, Emergence, Come Out Fighting, Strange Blood) emerges from a white panel van, mad at Junior for zapping Galen to the point of near death.
The film flashes next to a psychologist’s office, where we meet Luke Palmer (Chase Coleman, The Good Wife, The Originals, Boardwalk Empire), who is trying to cope with the murder of his wife, Corrine (Cathy Rakin, The Whistler, Mad Mad Wagon Party). The doctor is Helen Lawrence (Gail O’Grady, NYPD Blue, American Dreams, Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo), who trying to help Luke deal with his traumatic loss.
Luke decides to get away from the Los Angels, California area, and take a trip to Phoenix. Once he lands, he is met by a chauffeur. Unknown to Luke, it’s Vernon, who takes Luke for a ride into the desert, until they stop due to a faulty air conditioning system in the limo. Suddenly Vernon pulls out a syringe filled with a fluid designed to knock Luke out, which Vernon proceeds to do.
Luke wakes up in a cell, but finds a door leading to a white room with a plexiglass divider. On the opposite side sits a huge wooden chair with hand and foot restraints. Suddenly a man is forced in, and is bound to the chair by a group of masked men. It’s Galen. Luke recognizes Galen. An altered voice comes over the speaker in the room, introducing themselves as, Justice. They explain that a trial will take place the next few days. Evidence will be provided that was previously not admissible in court where Galen stood accused for the murder of Luke’s wife, Corrine, but was eventually acquitted.
Two additional rooms are shown where trials are being introduced separately. One is an older man, Henry Callis (Lance Henriksen, Millennium, The Terminator, Aliens) who was found not guilty of murdering a boy, Turner Page. His mother, Astrid Page (Christina Rose, A Musical, How Do You Write a Joe Schermann Song) stands ready to judge him.
The third room features Troy Bannister (Marvin Young aka Young MC, Up In The Air, The Zero Sum, Parker Lewis Can’t Lose), who’s accused (but was not charged) of killing the husband of Mia Orlando (Denyce Lawton, House of Payne, Castle, Entourage, Soul Plane). Each of the victims have a big red button they can push to put an electrical shock to the accused in order to elicit a response from them if required. All this takes place under the direction of the voice that calls themselves, Justice. The film picks up quickly from here.
The cast is great, with the exception, of Chase Coleman who literally appears to phone in his bland and uninspired performance. Other flaws included the voice of Justice, who reads instructions annoyingly bad, a distraction to say the least. Also, the sets, with a few exceptions, looked liked a high school production, not anywhere close to matching the caliber of the actors assembled for this movie.
Justice Served starts out as a great premise, looking at vigilantism; what should or should not happen to the obvious and apparent bad guys who slip through the fingers of justice, as did the 1983 movie, The Star Chamber, with a shockingly twisted ending. Instead the movie comes off as a lost opportunity for a great ensemble to rock the screen, thus playing out regrettably as a very forgettable true miscarriage of justice, indeed.
Breaking Glass Pictures will release the upcoming thriller JUSTICE SERVED on DVD/VOD May 9, 2017.
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