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Steele Justice
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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Martin Kove at his best!

Author: Comeuppance Reviews from United States Minor Outlying Islands
18 February 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"You Don't Recruit John Steele. You Unleash Him." Lt. John Steele (Kove) is a man who plays by his own rules. He survived the horrors of the Vietnam war, including being trapped in a cave with "ratbombs", or bombs strapped to rats. Now, in the "present day", both he and his 'Nam buddy Lee (Robert Kim) are L.A. cops. Helping them in their quest to take down the evil drug-dealing gang the Black Tigers is Reese (Casey). When the Black Tigers do something really, really bad (I'm a master at avoiding spoilers), Steele straps two bandoliers of bullets to his bare chest and gets the only kind of justice he can...STEELE JUSTICE! Released in the prime of the video-store action glut of the 80's, despite its killer cast of favorites, it's fairly easy to see why Steele Justice got overlooked at the time. If a video store patron wanted this type of fare, are they going to spend their hard-earned money on a Rambo film or a Schwarzenegger vehicle, or Steele Justice? Thus it became a "die-hard action fan only" film. While it does have plenty of "shirtless shooting" and classic barfights, there are some things about the movie that are worth noting...

First off, John Steele (gotta love the name) has a gun that shoots knives. That's pretty memorable right there. But also he has a pet: Threestep the snake. He is named this because his poison is so deadly, you won't make it three steps before you die. Also, and this isn't said in the film, we can gather that Steele is a big fan of Lynyrd Skynyrd, especially the song "Gimme Three Steps". The bar he frequents also features the Desert Rose Band, featuring Chris Hillman of Byrds fame, so we know Steele likes country-rock. And speaking of his musical tastes, during a movie highlight, a car chase interrupts a video shoot for Astrid Plane (of Animotion fame), so we can also gather he hates 80's pop. Even though the video was choreographed (and perhaps stars) Jeff Kutash. And in true 80's fashion, there is a montage set to the song "fight fire with fire" by Hot Pursuit.

Sela Ward, as the love interest, appears heavily medicated. However, she does get to say the line to Steele, "The war isn't over for you. It just changed locations." Asher Brauner makes a brief appearance as "Mob Thug #1", and most of the names in the cast, including Shannon Tweed, Irene Tsu and Eric Lee make very short, almost walk-on roles.

Everybody knows/says the name "Steele" throughout the movie, and in true action movie fashion, it all ends in the typical abandoned warehouse. For generic 80's action that's so formulaic it can't miss, check out Steele Justice.

For more insanity, please visit:

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Midget Cowboy

Author: mmelling77-474-324042
12 September 2012

Look, I have no idea what was going on in this movie, but that's partly due to the fact that at one point, a midget cowboy, wearing sunglasses in a bar, sitting by himself, and rocking to some random country band had me so excited, that I basically had to sign up on IMDb so I could tell everyone that this movie has a midget cowboy in it.

I thank the Netflix Gods for his sublime performance.

Oh, and apparently, all Asians know martial arts, and then they use the arts whenever they're least needed (I've heard this is true).

It certainly isn't Citizen Kane (that movie was in black in white), but it is the greatest movie ever made in color (named Steele Justice).

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Decent vigilante film, nothing more nothing less

Author: scorpion-52 from United States
31 December 2008

Well i'm surprised there aren't more comments for this film, seems that most people on here are bothered by the fact that's not particularly original, so what? Being unoriginal does not automatically make a film bad, and for the person who was bothered by the racist undertones, no offense pal but you're taking the film WAAAYYYY too seriously, this is the type of film were you don't think about logic and you just lay back and enjoy the mindless action. Kove is pretty bad ass in his role and i'm disappointed he didn't get the chance to star in more of these types of films then he did, though he did eventually end up in one of the Project:Shadowchaser films which i'll try and check out in the future, as it stands this film is pretty mindless and forgettable, but for people like me who couldn't care less about intelligence in films, that's hardly a bad thing.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:


Author: bronsonskull72 from United States
3 July 2003

Martin Kove stars as John Steele an ex-vietnam vet who becomes a one man army when his partner (and fellow vietnam vet friend) is killed by an enemy of his in Vietnam. Silly actioner which has a huge bodycount, will no doubt satisfy those craving action, but will fail to keep anyone else from squirming, or laughing for that matter (Martin Kove's wound repair scene must be seen to be believed). Soon Tech Oh does make a good villian though.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Say cheese!

Author: Scott LeBrun (Hey_Sweden) from Canada
22 June 2016

Beefcake actor Martin Kove joined the ranks of action genre stars with this routinely plotted but fairly amusing vehicle. Kove plays genial Vietnam veteran John Steele, who goes into action when his wartime comrade Lee Van Minh (Robert Kim), now a police detective, is assassinated along with most of his family. Helped and hindered by former colleagues like Bennett (Ronny Cox) and Tom Reese (Bernie Casey), John goes up against a wartime associate named Bon Soong Kwan (Soon-Tek Oh), who's now a drug lord in America masquerading as a crusading businessman.

I'm going to give the filmmakers (led by writer & director Robert Boris) the benefit of the doubt here, and say that the amount of laughs to be had from watching this are intentional. If one does see it as tongue in cheek, it may yield greater entertainment than if they take it seriously. "Steele Justice" does have its moments. For one thing, it stops cold for a rock video that is eventually interrupted by the ongoing battles between Steele and Kwans' minions. But the unqualified highlight occurs when Steele is shot with a poison dart, and almost nonchalantly, he removes the offending dart, sucks up and spits out the poison, and does a fine job of improvising when it comes to cauterizing the wound. The action sequences are all reasonably well done.

Kove is engaging as our sardonic hero, often to be seen with a smile on his face. Oh is an enjoyably hammy villain in the action movie tradition. Sela Ward is a lovely woman, but as the heros' ex-wife, she offers a pretty insipid performance. Ditto for Jan Gan Boyd (the young lady who was hot for Bronson in the movie "Assassination"), cast as Van Minhs' supposedly teen aged daughter. Watch this and you'll see why she never had much of a career. There's a pleasingly large amount of familiar faces in the supporting cast, although some of them have no more than cameos or walk ons: Joseph Campanella, Sarah Douglas, Peter Kwong, Al Leong, Shannon Tweed, Irene Tsu, David L. Lander, Asher Brauner, Phil Fondacaro, Kevin Gage.

Any completist of 1980s action movies should have a pretty good time with this.

Six out of 10.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Sameo sameo justice delivered

Author: videorama-759-859391 from adelaide, australia
4 April 2016

This straight to drive in action pic, is just your typic action fare, with some well staged action set pieces, no more. What's fascinatingly strange here, it's it's lead, Kove, who I've never seen, take the lead before, while also playing a good guy. I'll be honest, I've never considered this guy to be much of an actor, my friend, even stating, during the 80's, he's a no talent, but I've seen him in a lot of stuff. I am glad to see him in this, and really, he doesn't do half a bad job (but don't push it) as a Vietnam vet turned cop, out to bust an Asian bad arse, (one of his team you'll recognize straight out of the first Die Hard) who has slain the closest thing to family, though his late vet/cop buddy was crooked. The surviving daughter, a little Asian girl, who overacts, especially one bit of dialogue, robot sounding, when she and Uncle John are on a stolen boat, about to flee from authorities, is taken under his wing. What Steele Justice suffers from, is tired formula, and you'll feel tired and exhausted by this at the end, when he's claimed victory, killing off the bad dudes, two who went on to star in certain B grade, Wings Hauser fare. There are some dumb moments in this slightly stupid actioner. Ronny Cox, as the police commissioner is so actor stereotyped, when you look at his surrounding roles of this mid 80's era. Shannon Tweed provides nice scenery and a sexual stimulant to the film as Soon Teck Oh's business partner, and she looks so fine in a bikini. Soon Teck Oh, in a kimono, not. A weird partnership. Sela Ward as John's ex, looks undernourished. The eye nabbing performance is that of Joseph Campanella as Steele's old vet buddy, now an untrusting one. He makes his scenes, worthwhile, while another highlight of the average 80's action, is it's rockin' finale soundtrack. Out of interest this was on at the drive in, with another film of even appeal, Slate, Wyn And Me.

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6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:


Author: John Seal from Oakland CA
17 November 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There's plenty of laugh out loud fun to be had in this over the top action flick. The completely talentless Martin Kove stars as the Rambo-style John Steele--not to be confused with John Steed--who likes to paint his face with camouflage and goes into action with his pet snake wrapped around his neck. When his Vietnam War-era nemesis relocates to Southern California and murders Steele's old sidekick Lee(Robert Kim) in order to protect his narcotics business, our hero leaps into action, daubs himself with war paint, and finds himself the biggest gun possible. There's an absolutely awful performance by Jan Gan Boyd as the deceased Lee's daughter, who brings new meaning to the words 'perky' and 'cloyingly annoying'. Also on hand are familiar faces such as Joseph Campanella as a fellow vet harboring a terrible secret, Bernie Casey as a weary cop who somehow survives getting shot in the stomach, and reliable Al Leong as (big surprise here) a villain. This awful film is compulsively watchable and comes highly recommended to fans of the sublimely dreadful.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Steele Justice

Author: dukeakasmudge from Parts Unnknown
28 August 2016

I didn't realize Martin Kove, the leader of the Cobra Kai dojo in the Karate Kid movies played John Steele in this movie until I read somebody else's review.Steele Justice was an awesome movie that is way overlooked & should be more well known then what it is.The whole time I watched it, I couldn't believe nobody turned it into a TV show back then or at least spun off a couple sequels.That would've been genius I think.I'm not going to spoil the movie for anybody else but there are a lot of things that will make you either laugh (even though it's probably not meant to) go WOW or WTF.You'll just have to watch for yourself.Watch for the music video though.It seemed like right in the middle of an action flick, they stopped to make a music video.After reading a few other Steele Justice reviews I seemed to have missed out on a few things the 1st time I watched it so now I feel the need to go back & watch it all over again.If you're an action movie fan, go watch Steele Justice.If you're not an action movie fan, go watch Steele Justice

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Heavy Metal...

Author: Frank Markland from United States
19 June 2017

Martin Kove stars as Steele, Vietnam vet, ex-cop turned Rambo meets Death Wish-esque avenger who declares a one man war on the Vietnamese mafia to avenge one his Vietnam War Buddy's family and protect said buddy's daughter. Along the way police detective (Ronny Cox), Military personnel (Joseph Campanella) and head cheese of the Vietnamese Mafia (Soon Tek-Oh) all acquire the wrath of steele vengeance. Bad Movie charm goes a long way with Steele Justice because if you're not a fan of the genre, this flick is going to be rough going. For me, I grew up with these movies and there's nostalgia involved. I don't think beyond that there's much else to the film. The action sequences are entertaining (as opposed to well-staged), Kove makes for a surprisingly likable if bumbling hero. There is a lot of Bad Movie charm to enjoy about Steele Justice, there is the infamous poison dart and frying pan scene, the fact that Kove has a poisonous snake as a pet that he deploys and the fact that the film is often funnier than most comedies, as the humor is so broad as to somehow be so stupid it's funny. Once again, it's a tough call as, quality wise it's sort of indifferently made, the bad guys don't really make sense and the way everyone seems to know everyone in what appears to be a big city draws attention to how bad the script is. That said, Rambo rip offs work in the same way Bruce Li films as simple absurd escapism. You know what type of person you are and whether you would watch such or not. I was not disappointed or bored watch Steele Justice.

* * out of 4-(Fair)

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Underrated cheese action flick but an OK movie solid job from Martin Kove

Author: ivo-cobra8 from Slovenia
18 April 2017

Steele Justice (1987) is an underrated solid action flick from the 80's it is a cheap action film but it is a really good rated R action film from the 80's from Martin Kove this is his best role. Written and directed by Robert Boris. What can I say about this film? I like this film not love but like for a fun popcorn cheese action movie.

I loved Martin Kove in The Karate Kid Trilogy as Sensei John Kreese he was really a bad guy and he become really famous by his role. A lot of people on the street yelled at Martin saying he hurt Ralph and they hated him, he played the bad guy Vietnam Vet and a karate "bad" guy instructor. A year later after the release of the first film The Karate Kid (1984) he went to play another Vietnam Vet character but this time Ericson in the action war flick Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985) another bad guy who is a Vietnam Vet. I wish his character would had more to do. But this time he plays another Vietnam Vet this time he is "John Steele" wow what a cool character. An ex cop and a Vietnam Vet. Martin Kove plays this time a good guy in a cheap movie we can see he is a nice person not an evil guy like he got the roles on a screen. Martin does a fine solid job playing his character and I like this movie it is my favorite Martin Kove film.

Plot: Steele is ex-cop and Vietnam vet who is determined to bring down Kwan, former South Vietnamese general and now rich and powerful drug lord.

This is an action revenge film of the 80's and it is one-man army action hero type. We see like 1975 a mission that John Steele (Martin Kove) and his partner Lee Van Minh (Robert Kim) goes on a secret mission in the Vietnam only that they are set up by the nemesis Gen. Bon Soong Kwan (Soon-Tek Oh) who try's to kill them but John saves Lee and he wounds Kwan with a knife and leave's him for dead but Kwan survives. 12 years later Lee is now a detective by LAPD on a chase for a cocaine but he was set up Kwan is now the leader of Vietnamese mafia and he deals drugs and prostitution. John is now an ex washed up cop who can't keep a solid job and he is divorced now from his ex wife Tracy (Sela Ward) he get's arrested but Lee bails him out. Kwan sends assassins on Lee and his family to send a message but to everyone in Vietnamese neighborhood, they kill everyone but they miss John and Cami (Jan Gan Boyd), Lee's only daughter now Steele must protect Cami and get's his own brand of justice against Kwan.

We have a great action scenes, practical blood squibs, there a few shootouts, Steele were Milk snake around his neck and he avenges his best friend's death in which he served in Vietnam together. Steele kicks ass two assassins in the prison then he escapes jail and he kills a lot of bad guys. He save's Cami and Tracey and other innocent life by killing Vietnamese assassins who start shooting at the music video spot they were filming. It is a rated R film and it is one man one-man army action hero type. One man against an army of Vietnamese mafia. For me it is a good cheese action movie not a boring or crap movie like some reviewers are claiming it is a fun popcorn film. I first saw this movie on VHS when I was 13. years old, years later I watch it on TV. I downloaded form the net and I watch it again and I had fun watching it.

Here we have actors Soon-Tek Oh from Missing in Action 2: The Beginning (1985) who plays another Vietnamese soldier bad guy. In Missing in Action 2: The Beginning (1985) he played Colonel Yin enemy to Chuck Norris this time he plays a Vietnamese General Kwan another evil bad guy. We have Ronny Cox from Beverly Hills Cop 1 & 2, Robocop, Total Recall who plays another good guy and again a cop Bennett another good guy. We have Sela Ward from CSI: NY, we also have Sarah Douglas from Superman 1,2 and Al Leong from Die Hard.

This a prototypical good action film but because it is cheap and cheese it get's a bad rap. My favorite scene is the end in which Steele and Kwan fight's with sword in a duel and we see a good samurai fights in which Steele uses two swords while Kwan uses one samurai sword. Practical real samurai demonstration.

I like action films like are: Rambo films, Demolition Man, Cobra, Tango & Cash, Cliffhanger, Assassins, Hard Target, Hard Boiled, Broken Arrow, The Killer, The Last Boy Scout, Die Hard franchise, Commando, 48 Hrs., Red Heat, Missing In Action 1,2, Steel Dawn, Road House, Black Dog, John Wick, Speed, The Matrix Trilogy flicks, Terminator 1,2 & 3, Predator 1,2, RoboCop 1,2, Beverly Hills Cop 1,2, Death Wish 3, Universal Soldier, Cyborg and many more action movies.

I really love the 80's the rating I am giving to this movie is a 6 a good solid movie. I can't give it more higher and I can't also an negative score F.

Steele Justice is a 1987 film written and directed by Robert Boris.

6/10 Grade: C Studio: Atlantic Entertainment Group Starring: Martin Kove, Sela Ward, Soon-Tek Oh, Robert Kim, Ronny Cox, Bernie Casey, Jan Gan Boyd, Peter Kwong Director: Robert Boris Producers: Thomas Coleman, Michael Rosenblatt, John Strong Screenplay: Robert Boris Rated: R Running Time: 1 Hr. 36 Mins. Budget: $1.327.740

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