13th Nov2017

‘Ultimate Justice’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Mark Dacascos, Matthias Hues, Mike Möller, Brandon Rhea, Mike Leeder, Wolfgang Riehm, Martin Baden, Henry Muller, Verena Konietschke, Bartholomäus Kowalski, Yazmeen Baker, Gerrit Grass, Mathis Landwehr, Sandra Tauro, Susen Ermich | Written by Marco Theiss | Directed by Martin Christopher Bode

ultimate-justice-poster

Ultimate Justice follows a group of Special Forces operatives who come back together for one last mission when the family of one of their own is threatened. The film starts out with a flashback to Commander Hans Sturm and his team of soldiers, led by Mark Dacascos’ Gus, performing their very last mission. You see their team takes casualties and Gus decides it’s time to end the security teams days and sell the company, VME, and retire. Jump forward eight years and Strum is now married with a wife and child, living in a huge mansion. One night his home is attacked, his wife raped and killed, and his daughter kidnapped. Which brings Gus out of retirement to track down Strum’s attackers – getting the old VME team back together for one last mission…

You know, the classic revenge/rescue scenario we’ve seen a myriad times before. However, unlike a certain big-budget ensemble action franchise which featured a similar “team” of mercenaries get together for a mission, Ultimate Justice doesn’t feature indestructible heroes – these are real men beoing VERY manly and kicking ass! It’s credit to writer Marco Theiss that not only are our heroes vulnerable but they feel like a true unit too. These guys (and gals) are so close, almost family-like, that when one gets hurt, or worse killed, you really feel for the rest of the team. However the script isn’t so different from the norm that Ultimate Justice doesn’t feel somewhat familiar.

Thematically Ultimate Justice follows a similar format to the likes of The Delta Force – some veteran headlining action movie icons including Mark Dacascos (Drive, DNA) and Matthias Hues (Dark Angel, Kickboxer 2), team-up with some less well-known but still bad-ass modern-day martial arts stars: in this case stuntman Mike Möller and Brandon Rhea, who has appeared in numerous Far East action flicks over the years, including Jet Li’s Fearless. Of the cast it’s Möller who really stands out – he may be small, he may look like he’s not strong enough to hurt a fly, but boy can he kick arse! His martial arts work reminded me very much of the first time I saw the likes of Jackie Chan and Cynthia Rothrock: he has the same speed, agility and sheer “wow” factor that excited me back then and makes me excited to see more from him now!

For me there’s a reason Ultimate Justice works so well – it has one hell of a pedigree: it’s co-produced by Mike Leeder, a name synonymous with action thanks to his years writing for Impact Magazine; and written by Marco Theiss, whose recent German action film One Million K(l)icks, which also featured Mike Möller, has been incredibly well-received by action fans across the globe. Speaking of which, this is yet another German action film and as such I know some people will take issue with the dubbing, but for me it was like watching a film from my early years renting VHS after VHS of action movies from across the globe – many of which were dubbed and none of which were spoiled by it. In fact, there’s a certain comforting charm about watching a new film, starring some familiar action faces, that is dubbed like a lot of the old HK action movies used to be!

A perfect storm of great script, solid direction and superb fight choreography (from Mike Möller), Ultimate Justice continues the fantastic trend of bringing back old(er) action stars in new films made by action movie fans for action movie fans. If said films can maintain this consistency – long may the trend continue!

**** 4/5

Ultimate Justice is out now on DVD and VOD.
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With thanks to Vision Films.

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