Janna (Cynthia Rothrock) is a psychologist who is also a martial arts expert. One night, she comes home to discover that her sister and her nephew have been murdered and that the killers are still in the house! Though Janna manages to fight off the attackers, she also gets a nasty bump to the head. Weeks later, after she’s gotten out of the hospital and she’s ready to get back to work, she discovers that she now has ESP!
All Janna has to do is touch someone or hold something in her hand and she has visions of the past and sometimes the present. (She has those special ESP powers that do whatever needs to be done at the moment.) When she finds her sister’s brooch, she flashes back to the night of the attack and sees the faces of the men who attacked her sister. Using her newfound power, Janna sets out to get revenge.
But even as she tracks down the thugs who killed her sister, Janna still does not know the identity of the person who ordered the hit. She just knows that he’s known as “The Man.” Could he have something to do with the arrogant cop killer (Brad Dourif!) for whom Janna is serving as an expert defense witness? Or could The Man by the publisher (Kurt McKinny) with whom Janna is having a steamy affair? (This was a late night Cinemax film, after all.) Or could it be the detective (Tony Lo Bianco) who is supposed to be investigating her sister’s death?
As far as Cynthia Rothrock martial arts films are concerned, Sworn to Justice is pretty good. Rothrock was not only a force to be reckoned with in fight scenes but, as this film shows, she was a likable actress, too. For the most part, she’s able to hold her own even when acting opposite seasoned scene stealers like Brad Dourif, Tony Lo Bianco, Mako, and even Walter Koenig, who plays Janna’s mentor with an outrageous German accent. While the film’s fight scenes are just as good as you would expect from a Cynthia Rothrock fick, the ESP twist adds just the right amount of weirdness to keep Sworn to Justice from coming across as just another low-budget martial arts film. The film doesn’t take itself too seriously. Even while she’s getting revenge for their deaths, Janna never seems to be that broken up over the deaths of her sister and her nephew. At worse, she’s seems to be annoyed by the inconvenience of it all. It’s just something else that she has to find the time to deal with.
There are a few scenes that are so darkly lit that it’s almost impossible to see what’s happening but then there are other scenes, like the one where Janna shows off her favorite martial arts moves to her new boyfriend, that work surprisingly well. This is a 90s production all the way, which means a saxophone-scored sex scenes and synthesizer-scored action scenes. Sworn to Justice is a good Cynthia Rothrock film, even if most audiences will end up figuring out the identity of The Man long before she does.