Judge David Johnson distributes lethal justice to criminals on a daily basis. He mainly uses a ninja star.
"When are you going to stop and smell the roses?"
Batman's code of preserving life? Ha, this female vigilante laughs at that. She's got some killing to do!
Facts of the Case
By day, Anna Carter (Kristine Blackport) is the executive director for a corporation. By night she shoots alleged rapists in the brainpan. Anna is a soft-spoken angel of death who makes it her business to track down some of the scummiest people that have somehow managed to escape incarceration and dispatch of them—permanently.
Why the urge to take out the garbage? Besides reading one too many Punisher comic books? There's some blood vengeance tossed in there, thanks to a burglary-murder that led to the deaths of Anna's entire family. Plus the looming death sentence of a highly aggressive brain tumor. Add that together and you get an attractive woman set on a path of righteous vigilantism, leaving behind a wake of corpses that finally got their come-uppance.
An otherwise less-than-mediocre thriller earns maybe a passing glance thanks to an interesting performance by Blackport. It's not necessarily a breakthrough effort, but the juxtaposition between her soft voice and sophisticated presence (think Jodie Foster crossed with Leelee Sobieski topped with a smart pantsuit) and her gruesome trail of destruction is unique. Anna's not an id-driven, one-liner-spewing femme fatale, but a cold, methodical killer, who hisses at her targets and detailing their crimes before pulling the trigger and/or facilitating an "accidental" crack overdose and/or running a car off the road and/or pitching a priest off the top of a belfry.
The brain tumor gimmick is a decent twist too, essentially giving Anna a ticking clock in which she has to pack as much street-justice-doling-out into a three month window. The meat of the film, the systematic elimination of the bad guys, is complicated with side plots involving the people close to Anna—her best friend, her supportive employer and a potential love interest named Mike. These folks exist primarily as plot devices to keep Anna grounded in reality and allow the writers the opportunity to use them as foils for exposition, but they're easily the least interesting elements of the film.
So it all comes down to Anna and her mission. And as much as I dug her character, her actual adventures into the world of lethal vigilantism left a lot to be desired. A criminally negligent mom who accidentally killed her kids? OK, she deserves to be offed, I suppose. The rapist? Yeah, blow his ass to kingdom come. A judge that killed some people while driving drunk? @#$% him. An abusive priest? Clichéd, but, whatever, send him packing. The head of a corporation that dumped chemicals into a river? Er, isn't that ripped from the plot of The Karate Kid Part III? The defense attorney getting his clients off and thus doing his job? Not really getting the "kill 'em all and let God sort them out" vibe. The action runs out of steam, and so down the film, culminating in a finale that's semi-awesome but incredibly tough to swallow on a realism scale.
A lean DVD: a decent 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, 2.0 stereo and a trailer.
It might scratch the itch for anyone hankering for a woman-out-for-justice vengeance flick, but for me, this Lady Punisher is trapped in below-average outing.
Yeah, guilty, I guess.
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Scales of Justice
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