Outside The Law (2002)


Outside The Law
(2002)- * *

Directed by: Jorge Montessi

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

Julie Cosgrove (Rothrock) is a U.S. Government Secret Agent - so secret, in fact, that no one knows her exact job title with the feds. When an op in Cartagena, Colombia, goes horribly wrong, Julie decides to quit the force (if she were a police officer, presumably she'd have handed in her badge and gun). She then decides to pursue a quiet life somewhere in central Florida. As part of her plan, she changes her hair so she looks exactly like Reba McEntire. But, as tends to be the case with Reba, er, Julie Cosgrove, trouble finds her wherever she goes.

Her old boss who sent her on her fateful Colombian misadventure, Dick Dawson (Macht), is after her, so he sends federal goons after her. Then the local law enforcement, Detective Froman (Lauria), is after her. Not to be outdone, local head honcho/kingpin-type baddie Michael Peyton (Wincott) is also after her, and he has his own, mafia-connected goons such as a baddie named Ramon and another one named Cho Sung (Lew). With seemingly everyone gunning for Julie, what will she do? She may have to go OUTSIDE THE LAW.

There's nothing terribly wrong with Outside The Law, per se, but it is a bit on the duller side of things. Even Rothrock herself says it isn't one of her best. It's no surprise director Montesi went on to do mostly TV show episodes and telefilms. OTL has that flat, "Why Try Harder?" look to it that doesn't evince a ton of creativity behind the camera. Also, it seems that the film is building up to a big fight between Jeff Wincott and Cynthia Rothrock, which never happens. That was a disappointment. James Lew is not used anywhere near his full potential, and Jeff Moldovan plays only "Bearded Thug". The gathered cast is an impressive one, but overall we as the viewer are constantly reminded that we're in the 2002 DTV doldrums.

Besides Rothrock, who is always watchable no matter what, only Dan Lauria - somewhat of a hometown hero for us - stands out as Detective Froman. He wears Hawaiian-type shirts and speaks in a Huey Long "Kingfish"-style Southern drawl. It was a treat to see him do a role like this and we really enjoyed that. Stephen Macht was bland as Dick Dawson - Eric Roberts would have been perfect for that part, and he may have livened it up a bit more. Overall, there are some shootouts and beat-em-up scenes that keep things moving, but it's not exactly thrill-a-minute stuff here.

There's a Zack Morris-style pretty-boy character for Julie Cosgrove to fall in love with, which sets him apart from the constant cadres of creeps that are constantly harassing Julie in this small town. Everywhere she goes, she has to employ her Martial Arts on them, it seems. Bad for her, lucky for us, the viewer. Talk radio was a big thing back then and there are some scenes with talk radio on in the background, which puts us in a very definable time and place. Julie Cosgrove ends up adopting a dog she simply calls "Dog" because she's too much of a badass to come up with a frou-frou name like Fluffy or Twinkles.

While the film was set mostly in "Central Florida", it was shot in Puerto Rico. The director, Montesi, is Chilean, so maybe it was easy for him to communicate in Spanish-speaking countries. Maybe it wasn't so easy for everybody else. Montesi's most notable film to date is Turbulence 3: Heavy Metal (2001), which is a highly entertaining romp, moreso than this one.

So, if you've ever wanted to see a Reba McEntire action film, Outside The Law is probably as close as you're ever going to get.

Comeuppance Review by Brett and Ty

Also check out a write up from our buddy DTVC!

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