Martial Law (1990)

  • Year: 1990
  • Released: 16 May 1991
  • Country: USA
  • IMDb:
  • Rotten Tomatoes:
  • Available in: 720p, 1080p,
  • Language: English
  • MPA Rating: R
  • Genre: Action, Crime
  • Runtime: 89 min
  • Writer: Richard Brandes
  • Director: Steve Cohen
  • Cast: Chad McQueen, Cynthia Rothrock, David Carradine, Andy McCutcheon
  • Keywords: martial arts, police, los angeles, california, action hero, undercover,
23% – Audience

Martial Law Storyline

Two cops who are martial arts experts team up to stop a criminal organization headed by a ruthless boss who’s also a martial artist.

Martial Law Play trailer

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Martial Law Movie Reviews

Cynthia Rothrock is so cute!

I have never seen a film with Cynthia before this one with the exception of the much newer Santa’s Summer Home and she was pretty cute in that one, in this one she blew my mind with her cuteness. Her yells as she does her karate and kicks are even cute! If she were kicking my butt, I would also be falling in love. Unfortunately, she is paired with the not nearly as charismatic as his father, Chad McQueen and the film is not as good as it could be due to this and a few questionable decisions in terms of plot and such.

The plot has a guy who is an excellent martial arts cop whom they refer to as Martial Law! His brother though is a dumb dude who wants to work for David Carradine who is an evil dude who demonstrates his karate prowess by taking out the James Bond villain Oddjob! His brother actually does a good job for Carradine, but the problem is some crazy dude really wants to work for Carradine again despite the fact Carradine loathes him. So the younger brother ends up dead and Martial Law must be enacted along with his super cute girlfriend!

David Carradine is pretty good in this and does good as the bad guy. Too bad they could not come up with a better fight for him and Chad at the end because it was a letdown after all the buildup. I much preferred Cynthia’s portion of the fight with the guy with the heavy British accent, mainly because I enjoyed watching her beat him up as much as I enjoyed watching that crazy guy who wanted a job finally being killed! Seriously, Carradine did not like you, what did you think he was going to do?

So it had some good action and watching Cynthia made my heart aflutter; however, the disappointing final contest between Chad and David plus David’s lack of charisma dropped this film down a notch. There is a sequel to this and Chad is gone and I think Cynthia is the star so I will have to check that one out for sure! This one is not bad, bad and was entertaining, it just needed a bit of work.

Bog standard actioner

In terms of early ’90s martial arts vehicles for Cynthia Rothrock, I really enjoyed CHINA O’BRIEN and its sequel, which were thoroughly entertaining and full of slick action. This film, not so much. It’s saddled with the chubby and decidedly uncharismatic Chad McQueen as the lead, and the storyline and action just aren’t interesting enough to get excited about.

The plot sees McQueen and Rothrock going up against a minor crime lord, played with overacting relish by David Carradine. Philip Tan is the Cockney-speaking henchman, and there’s a hell of a lot of scenes of Rothrock kicking various goons in the head, but it’s all underwhelmingly shot with below par choreography. I suppose if you’re in a deeply forgiving mood then this sort of thing might just about pass muster, but it’s not my cup of tea at all.