Marshal Law (TV Movie 1996) Poster

(1996 TV Movie)

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1/10
Please spare me
crkzook6 August 2005
An absolute pain in the *** to watch, it must have been a terror to act in - that is if the actors had any sense of what could be even loosely considered quality. This movie certainly doesn't qualify. Even my friends who watch trash for the fun of it turned it off after a few minutes. You kept wanting the bad guys to die in the first half of the movie and show you something interesting in the second half.

The premise was, probably - it is hard to tell if it has one, the bad guys formed this gang, led by the guy who had been traumatized by the cops, so he hates them. The rest of the gang, including the toss away female had no reason why they were there, either in the gang or on this odd adventure to break into these expensive homes.

As I learned in scriptwriting class, the first thing to keep in mind is motivation. If you don't have a decent motivation for your characters, the story will be a poor one. It doesn't help your telling the story if you just make up some motivation to simply have one. Like they did for this movie.

I saw it on late night TV and actually cheered when the commercials came on. I hope I never have to watch it again.
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Cheapie rip-off of several sources
Wizard-819 February 2010
I can't be absolutely sure of this, but I got the impression that the writers behind MARSHAL LAW had seen the 1970s Canadian movie BLACKOUT before writing this. Both movies open with criminals escaping from police custody, both movies soon have a natural disaster happening in the vicinity, both movies have the criminals making their way to an exclusive place that the well-to-do live in, and both movies have a police character tracking down and picking off the criminals one by one (yes, I think the screenwriters saw DIE HARD as well before writing this.) The movie seems to be a rip-off, but I could have accepted it if it was done well, but it isn't. The characters are thin - we hardly learn anything about them. The screenplay also suffers from awkward exposition and a lead character who makes some pretty stupid decisions along the way that anyone with common sense wouldn't make. It also takes *forever* for the lead character to start fighting back, and it's slow going after that point. Movie looks pretty cheap, with some parts shot on what seems to be videotape. There is also some bad editing, among other obvious post-production attempts to patch things up. No need to see this, when there are other (and better) clones, as well as the originals being freely available to track down and watch.
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Not one of Smits' best
The Yorkshire Rocket15 December 1999
This film is utter bobbins. Smits is good but the psychos are poor. Any rationale behind the plot is impossible to fathom and as straight to video's go this is at the lower end of the scale. A "comedy" sidekick is brought in later in the film who then appears to have no particular role to fulfill within the action. Rubbish.
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Jimmy Smits lays down the law in this die-hard of a film..!
smiley-3230 August 1999
JIMMY SMITS (L.A. LAW) stars as JACK COLEMAN. A sheriff with two kids who after 16 months loses his wife in a car accident spends Christmas in an L.A. County.

Whilst there, he encounters danger when a girl is brutally raped by an escaped convict. After he saves the girl from the convict, it turns out to be that he shoots the convict dead as self-defence..

The next thing, the gang led COUGAR (JAMES LeGROS) shows up and kills the girl, leaving SMITS to go on the run..

As the night goes on, during a series of tremors, COLEMAN (SMITS) puts his life on the line to take on the gang in order to save his kids from COUGAR..

This film is not a bad one.. It's worth a watch even if someone likes action movies.. In this one, SMITS proves himself that not only he's a cowboy, but a lawman who uses every trick in the book to nail down the bad guys..

JAMES LeGROS though, looks hard as the notorious villain who'll stop at nothing to get what he wants..

It's O.K. I guess Marshal Law is helluva die hard film.. It's a shame they never got BRUCE WILLIS for this one...
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I like it, v1.00
annevejb27 October 2012
I found the DVD to be difficult to obtain, then it appeared at an Amazon outlet for a few months. Which does not mean that other titles will emerge someday, but maybe one or two.

This did allow me to actually see it rather than just read the reviews. Most reviews are poor, but not all. If this is really 'straight to video' then I should expect it to be weak.

I found it okay. Some aspects are weak. Sexual aspects seem tamed down a lot in order to get a censorship rating. Except that it is still rated 18, UK, and R, USA. The violence is middling strong.

So, to me it is a fun action story. I prefer it to some action movies that did make the big screen and a wider than 4x3 DVD release.

I liked the location, the hills above LA. There are other features that are partly set there and this is one of those that is good armchair tourism, to me.

From other reviews, this appears to be a remake of a Canadian feature called Blackout. Not uncommon for respected features to get the remake treatment. A respectable practice. I do not object to maybe being in a minority that likes this particular result.

The mood of the story, in some ways this reminds me of Griffin Dunne, a director who has a good way of dealing with actors and manages to draw out good performances from them.
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1/10
Incoherent Mess
sbunc92-323 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The plot for this movie had some interesting possibilities but due to terrible direction, screen writing, and editing it became an incoherent mess. What is bad about it you ask? - for some reason there several bursts of quick editing montages that use a mix of film and video. It looks like something in a student in a film class would put together in their first try at editing. - Kristy Swanson's hair and wardrobe. Were they trying to make her look like a soccer mom? - the climax of the movie. There's a big showdown between the hero and the villain that takes place in the dead of night. 2 minutes later it is full on sunlit day. - the gang. What was it with their wardrobe? It looked like they were part of the gang from Death Wish 3.

Just a terrible move.
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