Jeff Speakman delivers the goods in another PM Entertainment classic!
After the breakout cult classic that is The Perfect Weapon, he was destined to be the next megastar in the martial arts world, that was not the case. Jeff Speakman was one of my absolute favorites growing up, only having seen a handful of his films back then.
He brought something totally unique to the screen, with his natural charisma and like-ability of course, but what made him standout from the pack was his Kenpo style of karate. It translates so well to the screen and I always thought it was a shame that it didn’t take him further in the movie business.
Even though his life outside of the movies has been an even bigger success and something to admire with his own school, seminars and Kenpo 5.0 system. I am proud to say that along with his first few films I already knew I loved, his later starring roles have their merits as well.
You can’t always trust a random IMDB review, and this is just my own opinion too of course, but at least you know opinions on sites like UAMC come from genuine fans.
The Cannon Films of the 90s
The topic at hand today is 1998’s Land of the Free brought to us by what I like to think of as the Cannon Films of the 90s, PM Entertainment. I do know that Cannon carried on until around the mid 90’s, but PM Entertainment most certainly delivered the goods for DTV (direct to video) action fans as Cannon did in its heyday.
In Land of the Free, Speakman stars as the campaign manager to William Shatner’s powerful political figure that is running for a Senate seat. The film starts out with an attempted assassination on Shatner’s character, where we get an early glimpse at what Speakman can do by chasing the guy down and making quick work of him.
Speakman protecting an upstanding politician with good intentions for the country. That all sounds well and good, right? Well that doesn’t last very long.
Jeff Speakman Delivering Kenpo Vengeance
Speakman is soon contacted by government officials that they have reason to believe that Shatner is a front for a renegade military organization that has plans to overthrow the government. Of course Speakman finds it hard to believe at first, but soon finds out that is in fact what is going on. The more he digs, the more dangerous things become for him and his wife (Lisa Darr) and his son played by Cody Dorkin.
PM Entertainment’s signature seems to be extensive car chases, explosions and well paced action throughout and it is no different here. If you are looking for Speakman’s signature hand to hand style, you won’t be disappointed either.
Plenty of that mixed in throughout, all of the fight scenes are well shot. Some cool stunt work as well, at various times you will see Speakman rappel down a building with a fire hose, drive a school bus and fall from a helicopter.
The finale could have used a little better of an end fight, but what do you expect with Shatner in that department? Shatner was a great choice for this role and played it like only he could.
Land of the Free on DVD
The DVD version of this is harder to come by in the states than you might think these days, but I was lucky enough to come across a good deal that popped up on Ebay. The DVD also includes trailers for several other PM Entertainment titles as well, which I think was a pretty cool addition.
Land of the Free might not be perfect like some of Speakman’s earlier work, but I am happy to report that is still worth having if you are a fan of his or maybe even if you are a fan of political fueled action movies in general.