Larry Cohen wrote the screenplay to this updating of Mickey Spillane's notorious 1947 novel. Cohen was originally engaged to direct the film as well but was pulled from the director's chair after a week's worth of shooting because he had already run up the budget by $100,000; he was replaced by television director Richard T. Heffron. In this 1982 I, the Jury, Mike Hammer (Armand Assante) is a Vietnam veteran who wears hip duds and drives around in a bronze Trans Am in much the same way as Robert Mitchum's Philip Marlowe was refurbished for Michael Winner's re-make of The Big Sleep. After a cheesy rip-off of a James Bond-style credit sequence, the story kicks in. One-armed detective Jack Williams (Frederick Downs) is murdered. Jack was Hammer's best friend, and Hammer decides that he will become a one-man vigilante squad and seek vengeance on the person responsible for his death. He enlists the aid of his vivacious secretary Velda (Laurene Landon) and is also helped and hindered by police-chief Pat Chambers (Paul Sorvino). Hammer latches on to the killer's trail, then the film veers in a radically different direction from the book, introducing government conspiracies and mind-control techniques by the CIA and the Mafia. Also introduced is Hammer's love interest Charlotte Bennett (Barbara Carrera), an administrator of a kinky sex clinic (depicted as a psychiatrist in the original novel).
by Paul Brenner synopsis