An Excellent Movie Everyone Should See
Gypsy | Canada | 03/01/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After a few years of fruitlessly trying to find this film, I finally won the jackpot when I found it on DVD (with the title "Deadly Justice") and at a decent price!!! I had read Video Movie guides and all of the reviews for this movie were very positive and encouraging. I knew that with the late, great Richard Crenna on board (truly deserving the Emmy he won for this performance, and he was the king of TV movies) this was a must-see.
For the time, this film was quite daring (with the exception of such movies as "Deliverance") and very realistically acted. Crenna is fantastic as the chauvinistic, inconsiderate, hardened cop who believes that sexual assault victims "bring it on themselves". His attitude does not serve him well when he is re-assigned to the Sex Crimes Unit in his precinct. He cracks offensive jokes after trying to remove a nude rape victim from a phone booth who is incoherent with fear. He undergoes a transformation and an attitude adjustment after he is beaten and brutally attacked by two criminal sadists. Thankfully, because this movie was made for TV in the mid-80s, we are not exposed to the graphic details of the rape, nor are any given later on in the statements that Richard Beck makes. But, truthfully, we don't need to be shown. We know what he's gone through, as he experiences everything that rape victims face - and perhaps, because he is both a straight male and a cop - even more. He realizes that people look at him differently, especially his partners and most notably, his father. His dad cannot understand why Beck didn't do more to stop the attack, and Richard realizes, after going through the denial phase, that what happened to him was not his fault, despite what people say. He flashbacks to the assault, alienates his girlfriend, and has to answer embarrassing questions (as all sexual assault victims who report the crime do), like, has he ever had homosexual relations before? His ordeal transforms him into a more aware and sensitive individual who sees that the medieval attitudes toward rape need to change. What I thought was a nice touch was his rescuing a woman from a rapist, his ex-wife and children being the most supportive of him, going over his partner's objections of identifying his attackers, and finally, speaking to the cadets in the Police Academy, spreading awareness, concern and knowledge.
It was also great to see two 80s TV moms in the same film (Meredith Birney of "Family Ties" and Joanna Kerns of "Growing Pains"). Pat Hingle was great as Beck's father, and Frances Lee McCain was compassionate as Beck's ex-wife. But the biggest honors go to Crenna, for his realistic and excellent portrayal. His talent and presence is, and will continue to be greatly missed, but his impact will live on. I highly recommend this film. You may never look at sexual assault the same way again. RIP Richard."
"Deadly Force": Who's Movie Is This, Anyway?
Jamigo Speaks | NYC Area USA | 11/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Brian Dennehy can be proud indeed of his directoral efforts in this TV film, originally entitled, "The Rape of Richard Beck". Richard Crenna's tour de force performance as a police officer transformed during a midlife crisis won him a much deserved Emmy and showcased the broad range of his talent. Long recognized for his versatile dialect skills, his Boston accent was impeccable. He commented in his Video Archive at emmys.org that he was very proud of this film. Incredibly, the whole movie was shot in just 19 days!
Crenna's portrayal of an officer reassaigned to a sex crime unit provides some intensly chilling drama. A realistic depiction of a specific sex crime is unusual for TV. While not breaking any code or standard, some of the squeemish may be offended.
Unfortunally, the rebranding of this film by Universal Music & Video Distribution for DVD as "Deadly Justice" has led to some confusion as to the contents of the film.
Somehow many retailers are falsely representing and shipping the 2004 DVD as "A Case of Deadly Force," another fine Crenna TV movie in which he portrays a cop-turned lawyer who suies a corrupt unit of the Boston Police Department. In that film several officers were involved in an execution-style murder of an innocent black man. It was based on a real case and names the principal characters.
"A Case of Deadly Force" was once available on VHS & Laserdisc, but has not yet been distributed in DVD form."
Following Its Beginning As An Engaging Crime Melodrama, The
rsoonsa | Lake Isabella, California | 01/06/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"An unsettled blend of action with drama marks this movie, the third endeavour by Brian Dennehy performing as Sergeant Jack Reed, a veteran Cook County (Chicago) Sheriff's Department homicide detective, with Dennehy additionally making his first directing stint while being credited as well for having written part of the screenplay, all in the service of a work that will frustrate a viewer who is biased toward intelligent cinema due to its ongoing lapses into hackneyed episodes, in spite of some moments of notably insightful as well as naturalistic dialogue. The first Jack Reed feature, DEADLY MATRIMONY, establishes the character as a Sheriff's Department freethinker who, in that picture, singlehandedly brings about the downfall, due to corruptness, of a high-ranking Department official, and in A SEARCH FOR JUSTICE, Reed discovers to his keen displeasure that he has been blocked from promotion to the rank of Lieutenant as a result of his honesty (considered as disloyalty by his peers), with his Detective partner being advanced over him because of "race norming", but the two nonetheless work effectively together as they attempt to solve a homicide, the victim a pregnant stripper (Marjorie Monaghan) whose day-time job is as a successful, albeit rather unbelievable, day care center operator, based at her trailer park home. In his initial directoral outing, Dennehy provides an able effort, in the face of a script that is heavily laden with cliché, not an unusual condition for a film produced expressly for television. Miguel Ferrer utilizes his lines to capably create his role of a man who desires more from life than he is likely to ever obtain from his comfortably established business and domestic relationships. A more inventive and less bromidic scenario, one that would have included a realistic approach to law enforcement procedures, would have been needed to lift this piece a notch."