As said in my recent view for 'Vice Squad' (to me a very enjoyable film while not making me jumping out of my chair), if one looks at my other reviews, one would be very much forgiven if they thought that 'Deadly Force' wouldn't be my style or something that would typically be watched by me.
Once again, as said, actually my taste aims to be very diverse in film and television alike, spanning all genres and decades with a wide interest in actors, actresses and directors with no bias intended. There is certainly no bias against action crime/drama, there are some great films out there as well as some bad ones. 'Deadly Force', which was seen by me in the first place for Wings Hauser after such an amazing performance as one of the nastiest pieces of work in film in 'Vice Squad', is more a mediocre example than a bad one. It has its moments but its relative obscurity is understandable.
Starting off with the good things, Hauser while nowhere near as good as he is in 'Vice Squad' acquits himself well, he is very charismatic and gives his all. It is not his fault at all that his character here is not very interesting and is rather obnoxious, the blame lies squarely on the writing. The acting is mostly not very good, but two of the better performances come from Al Ruscio and Paul Shenar who also do a decent job making the most of their characters.
'Deadly Force' starts off reasonably well and is slick visually, although it does look a little too much like a made for television production. The rat roulette stuff is interesting.
Unfortunately, the rest of the cast don't make much of an impression. Joyce Ingalls is bland in a role that didn't strike me as particularly necessary with scenes felt like padding. On the other side of the acting spectrum, there is the very annoying Leon Kilpatrick in a role that is little more than a stock character spouting the oldest clichés in the book and the less said about Estelle Getty's truly bizarre cameo the better. The characters are not very interesting, ranging from the annoying (Stoney and Otto) and very sketchy (the villain/killer, and when one says sketchy they mean really sketchy).
The story is also a big issue. It's both overly simplistic and confused, while there is a lot of padding (especially the whole subplot with Stoney and Eddie which could have been cut out entirely because very little really is done with it and it was essentially padding) and the second half especially drags in a film that just doesn't have anywhere near enough content for the running time and often things happen far too conveniently. There is a lot of violence and action, but some of it is gratuitous and never that exciting or tense. It also comes at the expense of story and character development, while the climax is incredibly ordinary.
Editing can be chaotic and the direction is pretty sloppy. The dialogue is laughably cheesy, enough to probably not hold up that well in the 80s even. The music score just doesn't gel, constantly sounding like it was intended for another project entirely, and takes one out of the film, not even passing as a good score on its own because it sounds pretty cheap.
On the whole, has its moments and there are certainly far worse films that have more exposure but the film's title is not an appropriate one for one that lacks force. 4/10 Bethany Cox