Films with violent messages -- ''Indio'' and ''The Human Shield'' are some of the action movies that justify blood and guts with social relevance

By Michael Sauter
Updated December 04, 1992 at 05:00 AM EST

Lethal Weapon 2 has apartheid-linked baddies selling drugs; LW3 has gunrunners supplying arms to L.A. gang members. Suddenly, it seems every action movie needs to justify its violence with some social relevance. Here are a few movies that seem to say, ”Shoot first — save the whales later.”

DEAD-BANG (1989)
*Topical Social Malady: Neo-Nazis, among them a cold-blooded punk who blows away a cop. *Gung Ho Cure: Righteous L.A. detective Don Johnson plugs the bad guy full of holes inside a church.

*Topical Social Malady: Mideast terrorists — maybe the same ones who bombed our Marines in ’83! *Gung Ho Cure: Two SEALs (Charlie Sheen and Michael Biehn) lead a missile-recovery mission — in the process leveling most of what was left of Beirut.

INDIO (1990)
*Topical Social Malady: Mining company that ravages the Amazon jungle and slaughters Indians. *Gung Ho Cure: Half-breed Marine (Francesco Quinn) can’t resist lobbing a few bombs to protect his native rain forest.

*Topical Social Malady: The ghettoization of the Native American — the real motive behind a murder on a Sioux reservation. *Gung Ho Cure: Part-Indian FBI agent (Val Kilmer) endangers several of his fellow tribesman while uncovering a plot to steal their land.

*Topical Social Malady: Iraqi army irregulars, led by a dead ringer for Saddam Hussein. They’ve invaded Kuwait and slaughtered women and children — but worst of all, they’ve kidnapped the hero’s diabetic brother. *Gung Ho Cure: One-man Desert Storm (Michael Dudikoff) makes the Persian Gulf safe for General Schwarzkopf.