Monday, September 12, 2011

Shue, Fly, Shue: "Blind Justice" (1994)

Although derivative of many Oriental films, this short little western still packs a punch.

Assante is a nearly blind gunfighter traveling with a baby. He is looking for the baby's mother, asking everyone he finds about the town she is supposed to be in. He stops in one town where a group of soldiers is guarding a shipment of silver, which is being eyed by the local banditos. The soldiers, trapped, send Assante out for help. All hell breaks loose.

Assante is very good as the embittered gunfighter (and often very funny). His blindness never becomes gimmicky, although one has to wonder how he can ride a horse. He uses his hearing and sense of smell to shoot, how does he know in which direction the horse is going? Adam Baldwin, as the soldier's sergeant, is great, as he distances himself even further from the Baldwin brothers (no, he is not one of them, he can act). Robert Davi has his best role since "Licence to Kill" as the main villain. The one cast liability here is Oscar nominee Elisabeth Shue.

Shue delivers all of her lines in a flat monotonal vaguely-Valley Girl accent. She should be banned from doing any period films ever again. She has one embarassing nude scene, if you can call it that. At one point, she is sitting on a bed in her corset, and you can see part of her nipple mashed up out of her undergarment. It does not look erotic, it looks painful. Assante and Shue's forced romance is also the weakest part of the script.

One scene to watch for is in the climax as a major character is blown through the doors of a building. I rewound that three times just to bask in an action shot I had never seen before.

This feels like the first film of a proposed series that never came to fruition, and with an 85 minute running time, you have to wonder what they cut out. However, I do recommend "Blind Justice." (* * * *) out of five stars.