A Movie A Day #241: Distant Justice (1992, directed by Tôru Murakawa)

Inspector Rio (Bunta Sugawara) is visiting Boston for the first time.  When his wife accidentally photographs a drug deal in process, his family his attacked.  Rio’s wife is killed.  His daughter is kidnapped. When Rio goes to the local police, he gets no help.  It does not matter that Chief Bradfield (George Kenendy!) is an old friend of his.  Bradfield is on the verge of retirement and he knows that almost every cop in his precinct is corrupt.  The drug syndicate is so powerful that even the local politicians (represented by David Carradine in the role of Joe Foley) are in their back pocket.  Rio is told to go back to Japan but instead, Rio wages war on the Boston syndicate himself.  With the help of one of Boston’s only honest cops (Eric Lutes) and Bradfield, Rio sets out to rescue his daughter and get justice!  Distant justice!

Distant Justice is a typical low-budget 90s action film.  Bystanders get shot, bad guys get blown up, and there’s a shot of someone screaming as he plunges to his death.  The problem with Distant Justice is that it totally wastes David Carradine in a nothing role as a crooked politician.  If Carradine is in a movie about a cop seeking vengeance on a drug lord, Carradine either has to play the cop or he has to be play the drug lord.  If he is cast in any role other than that, the movie has to be considered a failure.  George Kennedy is his usual likable self (Kennedy built one of the longest careers in the movie on pure likability) but even that cannot make up for not taking advantage of having David Carradine as a member of the cast.  Distant Justice is a missed opportunity.

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