It’s 4:51 pm
A long time ago,back in 1990,a show called “Beverly Hills 90210” debuted and made a star out of Luke Perry. While he became a huge teen idol and made quite a name for himself as Dylan McKay,after the show ended,he had a hard time being accepted as a serious actor. He had a supporting acting role in the cult favorite “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and had a small hit as the lead in “8 Seconds”as rodeo cowboy Lane Frost but major movie stardom escaped him.
Many different projects were offered Perry but as they were looking for “Dylan McKay”,he didn’t accept many offers and soon found himself doing made for TV movies and guest starring on TV series before landing a leading on The CW’s hit show “Riverdale”.
While I have never watched a single episode of “90210”,I was curious to know if Perry was just a pretty face or could he actually ACT. I can assure you,Luke Perry is the real deal,he can indeed act and is very,very good in doing so.
So when my buddy Romey aka “Two Stacks” and I went movie hunting at Family Video’s latest mega-sale and I saw “Goodnight Night Justice” on sale for a buck,I snapped it up.
I knew Luke Perry was the force behind this film,one of three John Goodnight films that created and made for the Hallmark Channel. Being a rare genre that isn’t being made,the Western,only made it appeal to us even more as many readers of “Have Cheetah,Will View” know where and how Paladin got his name. We have reviewed a few westerns here and are always looking for quality films to talk about,like the first John Goodnight adventure.
John Goodnight (Perry) is a talented lawyer living in Chicago. While he knows the law,his personal life is starting to come apart as he is sliding more and more into the bottle. The man has a lot inner demons,like watching his parents being killed before his eyes by a group of vengeful robbers who are after the judge who had their ringleader hung.
The raiders attack the wagon that the Goodnights and Judge Shaw and his wife are in.
Only John and Mrs. Shaw survive. John watches as one of the raiders steals his mother’s wedding ring from her as she lies dying.
Mrs. Shaw raises John as her own and he becomes well educated and refined but still is deeply unhappy. Mrs. Shaw arranges to have John appointed to a judgeship he didn’t ask for but in order to find himself,is forced to take and he is assigned the Wyoming Territory which is where he lost his family.
Mrs. Show gives John her late husband’s Bible and six-shooter before he heads West.
He proceeds to dispense his justice which is fair and somewhat humorous. He finds out the 3 of 4 judges before him have been murdered and is warned to tread lightly in various towns. We see while he is a honest man,he flatly turns down a bribe to get a dance hall girl free from a serious charge,he isn’t above sleeping with said girl after the facts prove her innocence.
As he is making his way to the town of Broken Tree,John comes across a young woman being robbed and sure to be assaulted by three thugs. He tries to get them to surrender but they elect to draw down on John and we find out he is a good shot as well. (But not nearly as fast as Paladin).
The woman turns out to be Kate Ramsey (Lara Gilchrist) who happens to live in Broken Tree. Kate is impressed by his skill with a gun and is surprised (as we are as well) that he had never killed anyone before. He had hoped they would have surrendered.
Kate “invites” John to buy her dinner and as they ride into the town,John recalls it being the town he lived in as a child. He recalls that the man who robbed his mother’s wedding ring had been shot in the leg by Judge Shaw before he is killed and the robber would have a severe limp.
He meets the sheriff and his deputy and finds a single jail cell full of Indians. John wants to know why they are in jail and finds out they have been locked up for almost a month. Their crime? Trespassing on Dan Reed (Ron Lea)’s ranch while coming into town for supplies. Dan Reed,the biggest landowner and who owns the town,along with the sheriff. Dan Reed,who happens to feel that Judge Goodnight isn’t needed. Dan Reed,who happens to have a very nasty limp….while John seeks justice in Broken Tree,he will discover a secret that will shake him to his soul and put his love of the law to the ultimate test…….
Did we like “Goodnight For Justice”? Hell yeah,we did……smartly directed by fellow “90210” friend and castmate Jason Priestley,”Goodnight For Justice” is a seriously exciting ride with some light touches of humor thrown in. The story is rock solid,the pacing was brisk and despite it being a Hallmark Channel movie,there is enough action to suit any diehard Western fan. It definitely me and now I’ll be looking for the other two films in the series.
As he created John Goodnight,Luke Perry is outstanding in the lead role. An old soul in a youngish man,his portrayal of John is spot on,while he is no saint in many respects,his love for truth,fairness and the law is constant. I know a lot of his fans must have been pleasantly blown away by Perry’s star turn.
The supporting cast was pleasant as well,Lara is beautiful as Kate Ramsey and hold her own as the romantic lead. Ron Lea as the villainous Dan Reed will be a familiar face to regular viewers of the Hallmark Channel as he has appeared in many of their other films. Always good to have such strong supporting character actors in a production like this.
“Goodnight For Justice” has a run time of 88 minutes and includes a nice featurette on the making of the film and interviews with cast and crew.
The cheetah and I are glad we found this one and we gave “Goodnight for Justice” two big thumbs/4 paws straight up.
What Westerns have you seen lately? Have you seen the Goodnight films,if so,what are your thoughts? Drop a comment below!