Blind Justice

Profanity, violence and plenty of spaghetti Western dialogue are the hallmarks of "Blind Justice." The HBO drama is a composite that draws almost every element from other sources, most notably "A Fistful of Dollars."

With:
Cast: Armand Assante, Elisabeth Shue, Robert Davi, Adam Baldwin, Ian McElhinney, Danny Nucci, M.C. Gainey, Titus Welliver, Jack Black, Michael O'Neill, Douglas Roberts, Gary Cervantes, Jesse Dabson, Stanton Davis, Jimmy Herman, Clayton Landey, James Oscar Lee, Daniel O'Haco, Jeff O'Haco, Jon Pennell , Jason Reins-Rodriguez, Ric San Nicholas, Forrie J. Smith, Michael Goorjian, Tom Hodges, Chris Howell, Clifford Happy, Perry Barndt.

Profanity, violence and plenty of spaghetti Western dialogue are the hallmarks of “Blind Justice.” The HBO drama is a composite that draws almost every element from other sources, most notably “A Fistful of Dollars.”

At just 90 minutes, the telepic has sufficient moments worth wading through, but viewers would probably do better to mosey to the local vidstore and pick up the originals.

Although blinded in one eye in the Civil War, Canaan (Armand Assante) is amazingly accurate with a firearm. Naturally, he uses this highly developed marksmanship to save the good townsfolk from gun-toting undesirables.

But his thoughts are occupied by transporting an infant across country to fulfill a promise made to a man he felled in a gunfight.

He is wooed by the promise of riches, but he seems driven by the problem of getting the baby to its mother — admirable to say the least. But Canaan is sidetracked in his noble quest by Caroline (Elisabeth Shue), who compels the tight-jawed gunslinger to stay around and help save the tiny town of San Pedro. The gunfighter is needed to help fend off attacks by local bandit Alacran (Robert Davi) and his unwashed contingent.

When Canaan cuts down Alacran’s son, Hector, the feud becomes personal. Meanwhile, U.S. Cavalry leader Sgt. Hastings (Adam Baldwin), though suspicious of Canaan’s motives, realizes he needs the one-eyed gunfighter’s help.

The personalities clash more often than cars in a demolition derby and the storylines should serve to hold the interest of curious viewers, despite sometimes sluggish pacing.

Assante and Baldwin are credible, while Shue, as the town’s fresh scrubbed doctor, appears to be doing her best to cover Dr. Quinn territory, ocassionally expressing some individuality in her attempts to rally the town against the encroaching forces.

Director Richard Spence does top-drawer work, clearly signaling that he understands the nature of spaghetti Westerns, with their often blurry lines of right and wrong.

Although the pic is derivative, the same goes for scripter Daniel Knauf, who grasps the genre and gives the actors plenty of spaghetti-speak.

Other credits, notably work from production designer Chester Kaczenski and art director Marc Dabe, are tops.

Blind Justice

(Sat. (25), 8-9:30 p.m., repeats Sun. (3), 10:15-11:45 p.m., HBO)

Production: Filmed in Mesa, Ariz., by Heyman/Moritz Prods. in association with HBO Pictures. Executive producers, Neal H. Moritz, David Heyman; producer, Rick Nathanson; director, Richard Spence; writer, Daniel Knauf.

Crew: Camera, Jack Conroy; editor, C. Timothy O'Meara; production designer, Chester Kaczenski; art director , Mark Dabe; sound, Ike Magal; music, Richard Gibbs.

Cast: Cast: Armand Assante, Elisabeth Shue, Robert Davi, Adam Baldwin, Ian McElhinney, Danny Nucci, M.C. Gainey, Titus Welliver, Jack Black, Michael O'Neill, Douglas Roberts, Gary Cervantes, Jesse Dabson, Stanton Davis, Jimmy Herman, Clayton Landey, James Oscar Lee, Daniel O'Haco, Jeff O'Haco, Jon Pennell , Jason Reins-Rodriguez, Ric San Nicholas, Forrie J. Smith, Michael Goorjian, Tom Hodges, Chris Howell, Clifford Happy, Perry Barndt.

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