Case Number 25598: Small Claims Court

GOODNIGHT FOR JUSTICE: QUEEN OF HEARTS

E1 Entertainment // 2013 // 87 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge James A. Stewart (Retired) // May 2nd, 2013

The Charge

"I'm a circuit judge. All is do is ride from town to town. Strangers is all I meet." -- John William Goodnight

The Case

Westerns disappeared from TV and moviescreens when it became harder to please a crowd with gunfights, horseback riding, and beautiful scenery. Of course, in the twenty-first century, it's harder to please a crowd with anything.

Westerns may have declined into a niche market, but as Lou Costello once said, if you find a niche, you scratch it. Hallmark Movie Channel and Luke Perry found a Western niche with Goodnight for Justice, and they keep scratching it with more movies about wandering judge John William Goodnight. The latest is Goodnight for Justice: Queen of Hearts.

Goodnight (Luke Perry, Beverly Hills 90210) is on to his next stop, having let a horse thief who will turn out to be Butch Cassidy go on his merry way. Since this is a Western, his ride is going to include a shootout and rescuing a lady in distress. The lady in question is Lucy (Katharine Isabelle, Ginger Snaps). Since it's a Western, Lucy isn't going to turn out to be so nice. She's a wanted card sharp who's being pursued by Col. Cyril Knox (Ricky Schroeder, Lonesome Dove). Since it's a Western, Goodnight is going to find himself in a poker match with Knox as a prelude to their final showdown.

Queen of Hearts isn't a movie that leaves me worried about revealing spoilers, to say the least. However, Luke Perry enjoys himself making these Westerns -- in the interviews he's proud of doing his own stunts -- and his enthusiasm shows. He gets to stretch the character of Goodnight a bit with his romance with Lucy; you'll notice that Goodnight's always aware that things don't add up, even as he falls in love with her. Katharine Isabelle's dishonest but kindhearted Lucy makes a good foil for the judge who puts the law and duty first. Ricky Schroeder chews the scenery nicely in Knox's poker game with Goodnight; a few viewers might want him to ham it up more, but that's a quibble.

There are a few night scenes that didn't impress me, but Queen of Hearts does well by the earth-tone infused landscape of the horsey sequences. I thought I saw a few sets reused from the first Goodnight for Justice, so the scenery might get monotonous in a marathon.

Check out the deleted scenes, where you'll find an alternate ending that's a treat. The interviews aren't bad, but look like publicity fluff.

If you're in that Western niche audience, renting Goodnight for Justice: Queen of Hearts is a no-brainer. Perry enjoys scratching the niche, and he does it well.

The Verdict

Not guilty.

Review content copyright © 2013 James A. Stewart; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 90

Perp Profile
Studio: E1 Entertainment
Video Formats:
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)

Subtitles:
* English
* English (SDH)

Running Time: 87 Minutes
Release Year: 2013
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Deleted Scenes
* Interviews

Accomplices
* IMDb
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt2007388/combined