Action Movie Fanatix Review: Outside the Law

When It Comes To Justice, She Knows All The Moves.

Starring: Cynthia Rothrock, Jeff Wincott, Seamus Dever, Dan Lauria, James Lew, Stephen Macht

Director: Jorge Montesi

2002  |  90 Minutes  |  Rated R

“You’re smarter than you look.” – Julie Cosgrove

Movies like Outside the Law are why I love stopping by my local pawn shop to check out what new action gems I can dig up.  Yes, it can be like finding a needle in a haystack sometimes but I just never know what I might find.  I will often put back more recent, bigger budget action movies to pick up movies featuring Cynthia Rothrock, Gary Daniels or Don “The Dragon” Wilson.  The time to buy these movies is always when you see them.

Secret agent Julie Cosgrove (Cynthia Rothrock) lost her fiancé, a fellow agent, in a secret government mission.  After this, Cosgrove leaves her job with the U.S. Government and vows to start over.  While passing through a small Florida town, Julie befriends a group of locals.  When one of her new friends is killed by her mobster boyfriend, Julie finds herself not only seeking freedom the federal agents on her trail but also seeking justice for her friend.

The video quality is horrible for something that was released in this century.  I thought for sure there had to be some mistake when I read 2002.  It is watchable but it looks like it was filmed in the early 90s.

Outside the Law also features some extremely cheesy dialogue.  There were numerous occasions where I laughed out loud to myself at how truly bad they were.

“Where ya headed?” – Rita
“North.” – Julie
“It can get pretty cold up there.” – Rita

… and…

“Where did you say you worked again?” – Rita
“Sssshhhh.” – Julie

Rothrock’s character Julie has an odd habit of shredding napkins when she is tense.  It is sort of like my pet hamster I had as a kid except that instead of shoving the napkin into her cheeks when she was done shredding she usually ends up kicking some dudes ass.  As the DVD cover states, Cynthia Rothrock is “The Queen of Martial Arts.”  Her martial arts are top notch.  She never really lets me down in this area.  It is usually a matter of whether the director has captured her work correctly.

Director, Jorge Montesi, has done better than some directors at capturing the action but still has a ways to go to become what I would call a good martial arts director.  There are a few times where the angles aren’t quite right to hide the fact that the strikes never connected.  He also resorts to a tactic which I hate with a passion.  This isn’t the dreaded shaky cam or unnecessary wirework.  Nope, it is the throw a kick and quick cut to a foot coming from off the screen to hit the guy in the head.  It is like watching bad 70s kung fu movies.

The real bad guy is Jeff Wincott, the mob boss.  It was almost pointless to have someone like Wincott play this part.  He does very well as a crime boss but he really isn’t on screen much and when he is it isn’t anything actiony at all.  You would expect a “throw down your guns” type of fight between him and Rothrock to wrap up the movie but it just never happens.

Outside the Law also features the Wonder Years dad, Dan Lauria, as a cop who sometimes speaks with a southern drawl.  He had some really funny moments (sometimes unintentionally) basically being a bad, lazy cop and one interaction with Agent McKenzie which proved just how dirty of a cop he really was.

Outside the Law is good cheesy fun.  As dumb as a lot of it was, I was never bored.  The action was quality all the way through whether it was flying fists, feet, bullets or huge explosions.  The faulty direction, video quality and script are never enough to detract from the goofy fun of the rest of the movie which makes it a winner in my book.