Silent Justice (2002) starring Richard Tyson, Steven Owsley, Michelle Stafford, Willie Gault, Robert Vaughn, Sondra Currie directed by James Dalthorp Movie Review

Silent Justice (2002)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Richard Tyson in Silent Justice (2002)

What's in a Name?

A name given to a movie can be a very important factor, take "Silent Justice" which is also known as "Cottonmouth" and also "Lethal Force". Each of those names conjure up different images and that can be misleading especially if you watched this after seeing it listed as "Lethal Force" because it makes it sound like an action movie when in truth it is anything but. But whilst the naming of "Silent Justice" is misleading the movie itself isn't that great anyway and features the usual array of sins which you expect from a low budget thriller, from over acting to being predictable. It also features either a seriously bad or a seriously clever performance from Richard Tyson, depending on how much you want to read in to things.

Thomas Carruth (Richard Tyson - Kindergarten Cop) is a Houston cop who idolises the way of the old Texas Rangers and hates the way law enforcement is these days. So when during a routine patrol he hears gun fire and his partner gets gunned down he decides to go old fashioned and becomes judge, jury and executioner. D.A. J.B. Thornton (Steven Owsley) goes after him in the courts but his life is ruined when his family die in a mysterious car bombing. Two years later and lawyer Renee Alexander (Michelle Stafford) goes to J.B. as Carruth is back to his killing ways and wants him to team up with her to bring him down. But building a case against Carruth is not going to be easy especially as witnesses are too scared to speak whilst those who do come forward end up mysteriously killed.

Michelle Stafford and Steven Owsley in Silent Justice (2002)

Whilst I didn't see mention that "Silent Justice" is based on a true story some movie reviews suggest that it is inspired by a true story of police corruption. It certainly doesn't play out like a true story and feels like a manufactured drama which focuses on a broken down lawyer not only getting a chance to get justice but also get control of his life again. As such for the most it is predictable as we watch the drunk J.B. find romance with Renee who has a young daughter and despite the fear of what Carruth might do goes after him.

The thing is that whilst it is entertaining it is for the most nothing special and is certainly not the action movie you might expect if you were watching it under the name "Lethal Force". And most of the performances are nothing special with Steven Owsley and Michelle Stafford having some typical low budget chemistry when it comes to their unsurprising romantic subplot. But then there is Richard Tyson as Carruth and this is a performance which I am not sure is hugely flawed or genius. When Carruth basically goes old style his Texas accent gets thick and it is so false that it borders on the comically bad. But then is this wrong or actually clever because it suggests that Carruth is trying to be something he isn't, he is trying to be like an old time Texas Ranger but isn't. I suspect it is more a case of just a flawed performance but it ends up the most interesting aspect of the entire movie.

What this all boils down to is that "Silent Justice" is nothing special and might even be a disappointment if you watch it under the title of "Lethal Force". But it flows; it is semi entertaining and features a curious performance from Richard Tyson which ends up the most entertaining thing.