By: John M Jerva
Welcome to FOOT FIST FRIDAYS! A weekly dose of fight action where the Action-Flix.com experts share their thoughts on some of the greatest scenes of fisticuffs in action cinema history!
Being in my 20’s during the 90’s, I was lucky enough to be old enough to enjoy the deluge of VHS action epics that were released on a weekly basis and having an uncle that owned a chain of video stores made it even better as I saw them all during that decade both good and bad. I believe having those video stores in my life and working for them for a while definitely helped in building my love for the movie industry and I was able to get any and all action flicks that were coming out. From Don “The Dragon” Wilson to Gary Daniels and everyone in between, I couldn’t get enough of martial arts action flicks and throw in the fact that I started my Karate training at that time, i was hooked for life. I was basically eating. breathing and sleeping martial arts at the time.
There were many actors both male and female that were unleashed during that time frame and even though some became more successful than others, I gave them all a chance. One particular man that rose to the top of the mountain in the 90’s was Canadian born actor Jeff Wincott who exploded onto the scene starting with the deliciously cheesy 1992 PM Entertainment masterpiece Deadly Bet. Wincott was an exception to the action stars at the time in the fact that not only could he do the fight action himself but he could act as well. Wincott had the physicality and the acting chops which seperated him from a lot of people who were just sheer wannabes and with every film that he did, he proved over and over that he really was a tride and true martial arts action star.
Wincott made a stretch of films for Image Organization over that time frame which included such genre cult classics as Martial Law 2: Undercover, Martial Outlaw, Open Fire and the subject of this week’s edition of Foot Fist Fridays Mission Of Justice. In the movie, Wincott played the role of veteran law enforcement officer Kurt Harris who infiltrates a group of street vigilantes known as The Peacemakers who are run by a ruthless woman who just happens to be running for city mayor. Unbeknownst to the public, Dr. Rachel Larkin, played by Mrs. Ex-Sylvester Stallone herself Brigitte Nielsen, was as crooked as they came and when anyone who finds out about her illegal affairs is murdered by the army of martial arts trained soldiers she has at her disposal. Unfortunately for Larkin, she makes the mistake of killing a close friend of Kurt’s played by Rocky franchise star Tony Burton. That’s a big no-no in action films so Harris makes it his personal mission to take Lakin and her army down with the help of his former partner Lynne Steele played by the bad ass Karen Shepherd who also starred in a host of 90’s action flicks.
The particular scene in question for this week is the epic and blistering Gauntlet scene where Harris has to face multiple attackers to gain the right to become a Peacemaker. Think of it as a gang initiation but instead of street thugs, it’s lethally trainedmartial arts warriors. Harris literally runs a line of expertly trained killers and ony has his fist, feet and a nasty pair of Escrima Sticks to get him through it in one piece. The scene is awesome ande it features some great fight choreogrphy from martial arts ace Jeff Pruitt and Koichi Sakamoto and these two knew how to make a fight scene. Wincott unleashes his particular set of skills for the first real time in this scene and the action comes at full force with expertly shot angles where you can see all the action perfectly. The actors’ stuntwork is masterfully displayed for all to see and the editing isn’t choppy at all where the audience can see veerything clearly. Every kick, punch and mammoth beatdown is shown wonderfully and it just goes to show you that a film doesn’t have to have a massive budget to deliver the goods. Just people in front of and behind the camera who know what they are doing.
The best part of the scene is where Wincott grabs a pair of Escrima Sticks from an assailant and goes to town on the poor saps who get in his way. Wincott used sticks multiple times in his films and he served up a master class everytime when he used them and here in the Gauntlet scene, the sticks are used to full effect and you can feel each and every hit.
Now not to spoil the scene, because you should have already seen this classic but Harris successfully navigates his way through the gauntlet and succeeds in becoming a Peacemaker setting his Trojan Horse plan of attack in motion to get his revenge. Mission Of Justice is filled with great fights but this scene is definitely the standout and probably is one of Wincott’s best scenes ever with the Russian Circle scene in Martial Outlaw coming in at a close second. Well it’s pretty much a toss up as to which scene is my favorite but since I’m talking about this scene today, well then it’s the winner right now. This was 90’s VHS empty handed battle action at its bruising best and Wincott deserves to be mentioned with the greats from that time period.
Now in the immortal words of Arnold Schwarzenegger in Conan the Destroyer, “Enough Talk!” It’s time to watch Jeff Wincott take ’em all on in the the Gauntlet scene from Mission Of Justice. Enjoy because Jeff Wincott is out of uniform and out of control! Love that tagline…
Now as any of you know, I like to give you your money’s worth here on the site and once again I have a bonus scene for you on this week’s Foot Fist Friday as Jeff Wincott takes on one of the greatest bad guys in action film history in Matthias Hues in the final fight from Mission Of Justice. Hues was always a great foe for many action stars during the day and here, he gives Wincott all he can handle in a blistering finale that does the VHS action era proud. Enjoy and always remember, we are your destination for everything action!!!