Defiance - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Defiance Reviews

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½ June 5, 2016
Top-notch film with drifter boarding in NYC tenement overrun by a vicious gang. Great showdown after residents decide to take neighbourhood back by force. Deserves recognition and a dvd release, JMV more than capable before he let his career slide. Great closing track by Gerard McMahon.
½ April 15, 2015
Not bad at all. Contains a typical 1970s way of shooting cinema and a decent storyline not unlike Death Wish.
November 2, 2014
Quando Nova Iorque é a personagem mais importante de "Defiance", isso diz quase tudo sobre os restantes participantes numa história de um forasteiro que vem passar algum tempo a um bairro aterrorizado por um gangue de tipos muito maus (enquanto criminosos e actores). Mas a mediocridade deste argumento não impede Nova Iorque de se revelar em toda a sua sujidade gloriosa da transição dos anos 70 para os 80. E há sempre qualquer coisa de especial num filme em que Danny Aiello (o protótipo do cidadão nova-iorquino) defende o seu bairro com orgulho. Há também que estar atento a umas quantas boas intervenções de Tony Sirico (ainda sem madeixas e muito antes de ser o Paulie dos "Sopranos"). De resto devo dizer que tenho dificuldade em resistir a um filme em que o herói dá sova nos arruaceiros ao som de um bom hard rock. Pode até então ser que, muito devido ao seu charme de época, "Defiance" não seja assim tão fraco, mesmo que John Flynn (realizador fixado em vigilantes e vingadores de bairro) tenha feito muito melhor em "Rolling Thunder".
November 22, 2013
A text book inner city, vigilante drama from legendary director John Flynn. As usual a really camp gang are harrassing the neighborhood, until a stranger (Vincent) arrives and says enough is enough. Danny Aiello running around in his T-Bird style leather jacket is one of the finest moments in the history of cinema. Good support from Lenny Montana and a jet back haired Paulie Walnuts.
½ June 28, 2013
Not bad at all. Contains a typical 1970s way of shooting cinema and a decent storyline not unlike Death Wish.
January 19, 2013
An out of work docker is forced to take up residence in a New York City project. The local gang the souls are a plaque on this once proud and united community. It is time to fight back and flush out the scum.
October 27, 2012
A newcomer to a dilapidated New York neighbourhood quickly runs afoul with The Souls street gang who beat up kids, old men and specialize in spoiling Church bingos. Police are predictably helpless until citizens take the law into their own hands.
½ December 23, 2010
At times intense action drama about a level headed seaman (Tommy) that finds a slum neighborhood needs him more than he needs them. The Souls, a Latino gang, terrorize a neighborhood. Against all his better judgement, the seaman does get involved for victims of the gang's violence. Attacked by the Souls as an outsider, he just wants to leave, but can't stay uninvolved. The police are useless.

A great performance by none other that Art Carney (The Honeymooners of TV land) as a neighborhood grocer that is fed up with the tough gang Souls. He advises our sea man Vincent to stay uninvolved, but Carney in the end stands up to the Gang of slimey toughs.

This film should have been titled RAGE. Defiance is just to weak a description. Lots of manufactured confrontation. It seems we go from one violent confrontation to another. Jan Micheal-Vincent stars as the reluctant warrior, just staying in this ghetto neigborhood long enough to get involved with the gang violence.

Ready to ship out as he always wanted to, people are hurt by the gang or killed. While well meaning, the plot is actually a fantasy. Danny Aiello, neighborhood middle aged former gang member himself, tries to reform his aged gang members to help Tommy and fight the Souls. Wait for the final confrontation between the gang leader of the Souls, a pimp like character and Vincent. White hat and black hat.

This is worthy of watching, even with its unrealistic plot. In a minor way, things like this could and do happen. But a white pretty boy like Vincent coming into town to clean it up is ridiculous. A feel good movie in the end.

Jan Michael Vincent
Theresa Saldana
Art Carney
Danny Aiello
Fernando Lopez
Rudy Ramos

Director: John Flynn
Cinematographer: Ric Waite
Composer: Dominic Frontiere
Costume Designer: Ellis Cohen
Editor: David Finfer
Executive Producer: Robert J. Wunsch
Producer: Jerry Bruckheimer
Producer: William S. Gilmore Jr.
Producer: Robert J. Wunsch
Production Designer: Bill Malley
Screenplay: Thomas Michael Donnelly
Set Decorator : Rick Gentz
Songs by: Gerard McMahon
Story by: Mark Tulin
Story by: Thomas Michael Donnelly
Associate Producer: Thomas Michael Donnelly
October 26, 2010
The classic western hero is a lone stranger who rides into a town
terrorized by a gang of ruthless ruffians. The townspeople let these
ruffians prey on them because they are either too weak or too cowardly to drive them out.

Meanwhile, the hoer is in the town out of some necessity. He prefers to
mind his own business and look the other way. He is "just passing
through" and doesn't plan to get entangled in the woes of others.
Someway or somehow, however, the townspeople's fight becomes his fight,
and he must stand up to the predators.

When you think of this classic western hero, movies like George
Stevens' "Shane" with Alan Ladd or John Sturges' "Bad Day at Black
Rock" with Spencer Tracy come to mind. Indeed, westerns classics or
otherwise are not being made in the numbers that they used to appear in
on the silver screen. Nevertheless, that doesn't mean the classic
western hero has vanished. He is alive, well and kicking ass in
John Flynn's "Defiance" with Jan-Michael Vincent. "Defiance" is one of
the few decent moviesâ"along with Michael Winner's "The Mechanic"â"that
Vincent made before he destroyed his life with alcohol, narcotics, and
various other forms of abuse.

The setting of "Defiance" is not the old West. Instead, this tale of
urban terror is set in the east side slums of contemporary New York
City. The hero Tom Gamble, played with good natured but stalwart gusto
by Vincent neither carries a six-gun nor rides a horse.

Gamble is a footloose mariner laid over in town following his six-month
suspension by his union for brawling. He is "just passing through" and
he is eagerly awaiting the next ship out of town. The first ship is
bound for South America, but he has to learn Spanish before he can get
hired onto it.

Gamble rents a cheap apartment and spends his time studying Spanish and
drinking beer. Before long he gang that roans the neighborhoodâ"they
call themselves 'The Souls'â"take an interest in the stranger. The Souls attack a young boy that Gamble has befriended, rob a bingo game, and murder a retired boxing champ. Along the way, they manage to beat up Tom Gamble, too. But Gamble gets back on his feet and goes after these thugs.

The screenplay by producer Thomas Michael Donnelly is predictable,
strictly a formula driven revenge actioneer. It appears as if Donnelly
culled memorable scenes from "The Magnificent Seven," "Death Wish,"
"Billy Jack," and "High Noon" to make up his script.

Imitative though it may be, "Defiance" is definitely a superior effort.
There are no car chases or shoot-outs. It is knives, fists, and
Louisville sluggers. The dialogue sounds realistic and the characters
are well-rounded by both Donnelly's script and a talented cast.

John Flynn, who directed "Defiance," has called the shots of several
minor masterpieces such as "The Sergeant" with Rod Steiger, "The
Outfit" with Robert Duvall, and "Rolling Thunder" with William Devane.
Flynn specializes in tough, realistic, little action epics that recall
the studio-bound James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart thrillers that Warner
Brothers ground out in the 1930s and 1940s. Flynn crafts his movies
with both economy and imagination. "Defiance" qualified as Flynn's best
film when he came out in 1980 and a sleeper, too. Flynn has a knack for
creating atmospheric situations and staging exciting rough & tumble
fights that put to good use in "Defiance." He builds the action to a
pressure cooker climax that explodes in a rousing finale. There isn't a
slack moment in this fast-paced melodrama that has it share of humorous

Jan Michael Vincent delivers his finest, most mature performance.
Although he clenches his jaws and knuckles his fists, he never plays
Tom Gamble as a muscle-bound moron. As Gamble, he is a modest, ordinary hombre who stand up for what he believes in and rejects any phony
claims to being a hero.

Art Carney is featured in a small role as a Jewish storekeeper who
rebels against The Souls and gets severely beaten for his defiance.
Rudy Ramos nearly steals the movie as the kingpin villain who heads up
The Souls.

Altogether, "Defiance" is a little movie. There is nothing pretentious
about it. Moreover, it is not profane, lewd, or gratuitous. The ending
is happy, and the theme of the community that rejuvenates itself is
inspiring without being dripping with too much sentiment.
½ August 9, 2010
Alright, but nothing from the movie really drew me in. It was just a one-time watch thing.
February 14, 2010
Formulaic, but well made tale of out-of-work Jan Michael Vincent taking on the local street gang.
May 31, 2009
A newcomer to a dilapidated New York neighbourhood quickly runs afoul with The Souls street gang who beat up kids, old men and specialize in spoiling Church bingos. Police are predictably helpless until citizens take the law into their own hands.
January 27, 2009
I seen this movie a long time ago, Excellent movie.. If anyone knows where i can find the movie on dvd, Please let me know..
½ November 17, 2008
This Jan-Michael Vincent vehicle was released in the middle of a wave of gang pictures ("The Warriors", "Walking Tall" etc.) and promptly fell off the radar. It's a shame because its a fairly nifty, action-packed flick with an uplifting theme of community spirit.
JMV plays our hero, Tommy- a seaman stranded in New York's lower east side after a scrape with a superior on his ship. Pretty soon, he incurs the wrath of the local gang- The Souls- who keep the neighbourhood gripped in a constant state of fear. Tommy boy is having none of that banter though, and decides to fight them in the streets.
The thing I like about "Defiance" is the way it bucks the trend of the traditional "lone vigilante beats insurmountable odds" plot gambit which was fashionable around the time (eg the "Death Wish" series). Tommy begins the movie as a loner, but he can't defeat the Souls single-handed. He can however, inspire the threatened community around him into action.
Underrated helmsman John Flynn (who also did another Bear favourite, "Rolling Thunder") keeps it simple, and opts for a refreshing realism for the fight scenes- which include an ace standoff between a steel-bar swinging JMV and four Souls on a basketball court.
As well as Vincent's amiable and down-to-earth lead performance, theres sterling support from Danny Aiello (who brings presence and warmth to what could've been a beige, bland sidekick role) and Art Carney as an aging boxer who befriends Tommy.
½ November 16, 2008
One of my all time favorites. Used to watch this on HBO anytime I could.
½ August 5, 2008
I don't know why i just like this movie. seems to the most realistic of it's time.
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