Story: Jake Quinn (Vince Murdocco) used to be on the police force, but his brash attitude and refusal to play by the rules came back to haunt him. Now that he’s booted from the cops, Jake makes ends meet by working as a bouncer, though he aspires to have a badge once again. Of course, that seems unlikely to happen, at least until a red hot crime wave kicks off. The streets have started to run red, as rival crime syndicates wage open war, with the police able to do little but try to survive. That’s how Jake ends up with another shot at the force, as he is offered an undercover operation to help get the situation under control. But he isn’t just undercover, he is in deep cover and he is tasked to get close to a crime kingpin’s daughter. Jake is able to slide in and befriend her, putting himself right in the middle of this heated escalation. But can Jake prove he has the skills to be a serious cop again, or will he just be another victim in this brutal turf war?
Entertainment Value: This is a fun one, an action packed, 90s soaked cinematic experience, all with Vince Murdocco in the driver’s seat. Murdocco was often seen in action movies from this era, but he was usually a friend of a lead, whereas this was his chance to shine. I think he does quite well, as he brings martial arts skills and a good sense of humor, so he is fun to watch here. The story of L.A. Wars is not all that fresh or innovative, but it guides the film through all the action set pieces and one liners. I think the narrative is more than solid and lets the action take the forefront when it should, which is often in this case. The second half of the picture really opens up the action, giving us one set piece after another. The first half of the movie is no slouch, but the second half just really takes it higher and then some. The production values here can’t compete with Hollywood, obviously, but the action scenes work well and the stunts are fun to watch. And the sheer volume of action helps compensate as well, especially that balls to the wall second half. I think the lower budget elements only enhance the fun of L.A. Wars, as it injects so much b movie magic into the experience. I give this one a high recommendation to fans of cheesy action movies, 90s cinema, and wild b movies in general.
The L.A. Wars make a little time for some sleaze, with several topless scenes sprinkled around, as well as some full frontal nudity to boot. The movie also has a romantic beach interlude, a sex session gone wrong, and a very enthusiastic strip club audience. The blood flows often here, as there are a metric ton of shootouts and those include some splashy gunshot showcases. The shootouts are numerous and include a barbershop gundown, a diner gundown, a getting the mail gundown, and even a post coitus gundown. Other violent bits include barroom brawls, martial arts showdowns, a brutal knife attack, and a very stylish tuck & roll involving an uzi. The dialogue in L.A. Wars has the expected tough guy talk and good guy quips, as well as a better than anticipated sense of humor. Not a wealth of quotable lines perhaps, but there are a good deal of entertaining exchanges here. The craziness scale moves for the low rent martial arts, large number of ponytails, a generous cocaine briefcase, wrestling moves in a dark alley, and the overall b movie action vibes involved. Not the wildest action flick from the 90s, but L.A. Wars brings more than a fair share of wackiness.
Overall Insanity: 6/10