A look back at Martial Law II starring  Jeff Wincott and Cynthia Rothrock!

Welcome to a parallel universe where cops and criminals alike are all martial arts experts, and no one needs firearms to win a fight. This is the world of Martial Law II: Undercover. The first Martial Law film was solid DTV fare, but a bit of a slow burn with fight sequences of only modest quality. This all changed with the second installment when the two legends of DTV martial arts action Cynthia Rothrock and Jeff Wincott teamed up, so let’s have a look!

Police detective Sean (Wincott) joins a new unit, and shortly after an old friend and colleague is found dead. Sean asks his former partner Billie (Rothrock) to help with the investigation, and she starts working undercover as a bartender in a shady night club. Soon enough they are fighting against an entire crime syndicate.

“You’re on thin ice.” “Good thing I know how to skate.”

The plot has no surprises, except that we may wonder how little story actually happens between the fights. There’s banter between cops, banter between criminals and standard police investigation tropes. Despite this mundanity, it all flows reasonably well with some entertaining moments. The film is a good-looking production with effective direction, atmospheric takes, and a swinging synth score. The calm cinematography and soft-spoken dialogues give the film an almost relaxing vibe between the fights.

The actors also give it all according to their abilities. Rothrock is charming and a bad-ass when needed, ready to take out a room full of bad guys in the blink of an eye. Wincott embodies the rare combination of being a good actor and a good martial artist, creating a believable character that kicks serious ass. His olive-colored trench coat with rolled-up sleeves is an astonishing piece of fashion history that wouldn’t look good on anyone except him.

The film also marked the start for 90s B-actioner villain Evan Lurie who impresses with ripped abs, an oversized suit, and a long mane. Together with Paul Johannson he forms a goofy bad team. Both look incredibly cool, but talk incredibly awkward and slow, it’s hard to take them serious even for a single second as competent criminals.

This DTV Martial Arts Classic Delivers Clean and Simple Fun

Rothrock and Wincott make a good team, and when it hits the fan police protocol requires them to deliver a kick to the face first and ask questions later. Both deliver impressive moves, and the fight scenes avoid cheap cuts in favor of a tight choreography. There’s lots of crunchy fights, people get hit quickly and when they go down, they stay down. It’s all great to watch, even though there are no jaw-dropping moments, just plenty of good beatdowns.

Martial Law II: Undercover is a film where nothing really stands out, and yet it hits all the right buttons to become an easygoing actioner that delivers clean and simple fun.