This film gets three out of four grenades. Steele Justice is a great Rambo and Missing in Action rip-off. It is a must-see for every Vietnam action film buff. Martin Kove stars (the Cobra Kai karate instructor from the Karate Kid I and III) as a vet who has never gotten over Nam’. He reencounters the General who ran his POW camp again, who has since become a drug lord. This element adds a trashy Scarface 80s cliché element, enhancing the film.
Kove lacks any really convincing karate moves. Never-the-lesshe does have a badass air to his persona, especially how he manages to wear a nose bandage for most of the film. He treats his women really badly, darkly and comically unable to decide whether to bother saving his wife from the drug lords.
Ironically, Kove has a Vietnamese friend. This is probably in order to avoid the type of controversies the Year of the Dragon encountered at the time with some Asian communities. Its hard to say. Perhaps his friendship was more sincere. Kove shows his soft side when his Vietnamese buddy dies at the hands of the kingpins, whereupon Kove befriends the daughter and demonstrates some sincerity.
The highlight of the film is when he shows up (suicidal) to a drug deal gone wrong with a military vehicle and a Gatling gun, and wreaks havoc and destruction upon the enemy. On a side-note, Bernie Casie and Ronny Cox play policemen with their thumbs up their asses.
Sometimes when the law doesn’t care and the bad guys are winning all too often – there must be Steele Justice!!