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April 24, 2011

Movie Review: Vigilante (1983, Blu-ray, Blue Underground)

Blue Underground brings Bill Lustig's gritty street revenge flick to Blu-ray!

Buy Vigilante on Blu-ray or DVD

Film: 3.5/5
Badass. I'd say that would be an apt description of Lustig's self serve  justice outing. Despite not packing as much punch as I'd like it to, there's no denying it's presence in the revenge oeuvre. A genre I seldom tire of due to the subject matter. Watching a regular joe lose everything he loves and stopping at nothing to exact revenge is cinematic bliss.

Vigilante blasts open with Nick (Fred Williamson) delivering a speech to citizens tired of fearing for their lives. I'll let "The Hammer" speak;

"Hey, I don't know about you guys, but me... I've had it up to here. There are some 40-odd homicides a day on our streets. There are over two million illegal guns in this city. Man, that's enough guns to invade a whole damn country with. They shoot a cop in our city without thinking twice about it. Aw, come on. You guys ride the subway. How much more of this grief are we gonna stand for? How many more locks we gotta put on our goddamn doors? Now, we ain't got the police, the prosecutors, the courts or the prisons. I mean, it's over. The books don't balance. We are a statistic. Now, I'm tellin' ya, when you can't go to the corner store and buy a pack of cigarettes after dark... because you know the punks and scum are out there on the streets when the sun goes down, and our own government can't protect its own people, then I say this, pal: you got a moral obligation, the right of self-preservation. Now, you can run, you can hide, or you can start to live like human beings again. This our Waterloo, baby! You want your city back? You gotta take it. Dig it? Take it" .

BOOM, Vigilante! That is a damn fine opening. It really gets you pumped and if you don't wanna squash some thugs after reading that you should check your testosterone level. 

Cut to Eddie Marino (Robert Forester), token regular guy with a wife and kid. While Eddie is at work, his wife and kid have a run in with a street gang. Following them to their home, the punks invade the house. Upon returning from work, Eddie finds his wife barely alive after being savagely attacked and son dead after a gun shot to the head. Eddie wants revenge but wants to do it the right way through legal channels. The Judge dismisses the case and gives the suspected killer a meager 2 years probation. Eddie furiously lashes out and is sent to a stint in prison. Eddie experiences the horrors of prison and is released shortly after.With Nick's help and a few friends, Eddie turns to destroy the scum that turned his world upside down.

 The tone is slightly akin to Maniac with it's gritty-mean spirited tone. New York's atmosphere is always a big factor as well and Lustig knows how to play off that better than anyone. Seeing Robert Forster and Fred Williamson bring the pain to crooks, killers and pimps will bring a smile to your face. Watch out for an extended cameo from Joe Spinell as a crooked lawyer also. Vigilante isn't the end-all-be-all of revenge flicks but it's a damn entertaining one.

Blu-ray: 4.5/5
  • Widescreen 2:35:1 - 2K HD Transfer
Simply put, Vigilante looks amazing. Blue Underground did a 2K transfer from the uncut negative for this release. Film grain is intact and looks natural. Hands down of this is one of the best Blu's BU has put out.
  • 7.1 DTS-HD - 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Surround    
Killing street scum never sound so good. Audio is loud and sounds damn good. A fine track to go with the video.

Bonus Features: 3/5
  • Audio Commentary - Bill Lustig & Co-Producer Andrew W. Garroni
  • Audio Commentary - Bill Lustig & Actors Robert Forster, Fred Williamson , Fred Pesce
  • Promo Reel
This Promo reel is the beginning of the film, shot before principal photography to show to potential investors at film markets.
  •  Theatrical Trailers - TV Spots - Radio Spots
  • Poster & Still Gallery

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