Directed by: John Weidner
Starring: Steve Railsback, Dan Tullis Jr., Michael Champion, Holly Floria, Vince Murdocco Michael Delano, James Lew, and Stuart Whitman
Jack Manning (Railsback) is a cop who works the seedy streets of Hollywood. Because he plays by his own rules, he is kicked off the force for insubordination. After eight years, he has hit the skids and has become a raging alcoholic. He's also a private investigator. When the local 'hood starts being terrorized by the local hoods, Manning's old cop buddy Mo (Tullis Jr.) seeks his services. It turns out these aren't random street assaults, but a conspiracy that goes all the way to the top. The top being the prerequisite evil land developer Winters (Whitman). He's sending the aforementioned punks to drive out the locals because he wants the property. But can Manning clean up the community - and his own life - before it's too late?
Private Wars is pure PM enjoyability at its finest. It has all the classic PM stuntwork we all know and love - whether the action scene in question has to be there or not. At the flimsiest setup, action ensues. You gotta love it. And the fact that it's all spearheaded by Steve Railsback makes it all the more interesting. Whether oddly cast as an action hero or not, try to imagine Anthony Perkins as a "I'm gonna clean up this town" - style sheriff who drinks heavily and inexplicably has almost superhuman fighting abilities and you might get the picture.
Throw in a huge dose of The Annihilators (1985) and you have a comic-booky staple of the Fighting Back (1982)-style "Take the Neighborhood Back!" movie that was so prevalent at the time. And while Ronnie is the love interest with the Christina Applegate-like good looks, special marks must go to Dan Tullis Jr. as Mo. His wonderful performance steals the movie. It should also be noted that Michael Delano and Vince Murdocco are on board as well, which adds to the fun.
But the baddies are great too. Especially James Lew as Winters' bodyguard. But the street punks are so great - they strut around town with their boomboxes against their ear (I guess iPods have eliminated this practice) and listen to NWA-like rap music.
It's important to point out that there is a large dose of humor in Private Wars, as exemplified by the "mercenary casting" scene. You'll know it when you see it. It's definitely a highlight of not only this movie, but of the whole PM canon that we've seen to date. What's great is that, whether by accident or design, this movie is so outrageously unrealistic it's hilarious and a genuine treat to watch.
Comeuppance Review by: Ty and Brett