Fight for Your Life - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Fight for Your Life Reviews

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½ May 4, 2015
Despite being well acted, I just didn't like this movie. William Sanderson was great as the very unlikeable racist lead, but the whole black exploitation thing just didn't work for me. Between the multiple rapes, a kid getting his head bashed in from a rock, and every single racist slang term for black people, this movie is really just trash.
½ April 15, 2015
Nothing even close to being as good critics had me believe. It's pretty boring save for shock-value of some racist dialog and slightly mean-spirited violence.
January 29, 2015
Such a misleading movie poster. The language on this is quiet shocking and it is easy to see why it was banned upon its release in 1977. William Sanderson is one nasty little weasel faced cunt. One scene in particular is real shocking and brutal but when you want the film to be nasty it fails to deliver. Lt. Reilly is a remarkable human being.
½ July 27, 2014
Nothing even close to being as good critics had me believe. It's pretty boring save for shock-value of some racist dialog and slightly mean-spirited violence.
August 6, 2013
Only a film with purpose could deliver such reactions this home invasion thriller recieved at the time of its release. And yes, it is tasteless, oh god is it so, but within this unmistakable exploitation piece, there lies equally unmistakable comments upon opressive social conditioning and the effects and origins of prejudice. Delivered, yes, in broad strokes (a black preacher smacked around the head repeatedly with a bible, really?), but nonetheless apparent.

A firm script and decent acting doesn't hurt an exploitation film's appeal either (Savage Streets). In true blaxploitation fashion, every character is a stereotype, but luckily they all serve the films subtext effectively delivering what i think to be a quite masterful excercise in reactionary filmmaking. Tarantino could only wish that Django Unchained had the punch Fight For Your Life delivers and it's all down to one characteristic he tragically lacks which this film doesn't, sincerity.
½ April 11, 2013
Not tat, yet very cheap: this interesting picture is another one to turn up on the 'video nasties' list, and the only one to do so solely on account of its foul language.

Jessie Lee Kane (William Sanderson, soon to feature in 'Blade Runner' and latterly in TV's 'True Blood') and his despicable gang break out of a prison truck and turn up at the home of a god-fearing, middle class black family. A violent racist, Kane torments the family, particularly the preacher patriarch, until they are forced to fight back.

Lambasted by critics on its release ('sleazy' and 'amazingly racist' were the main gripes); the detractors had somewhat missed the point. The film is decidedly anti-racist, putting the viewer firmly on the side of the preacher and his family - and willing them into revenge - as they are put through the mill by an almost unending slew of racial torrents from Kane. A scene where Robert Judd's minister is literally bashed to the ground with his bible is particularly pointed and evocative.

The film could be pigeon-holed into a vengeful, survivalist sub-genre that would also include Wes Craven's 'Last House on The Left' and 'The Hills Have Eyes' wherein the nice, middle-class family unit becomes more and more atavistic under provocation. The kick of 'Fight For Your Life', as it is with the other movies, is in seeing the peace-loving good guys fight back. An unusual, question-prompting touch is that the good guys are not beyond using racial slurs themselves against the multicultural villains (a white, an Asian and a Hispanic) as they do so.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about the movie is the hint of pathos Sanderson brings to his monster towards the end: Kane is played quite clearly as a product of environment, society and (lack of) nurture, not the one dimensional 'evil' painted by most genre pictures.

Another thing about this movie: while it was dismissed as racist trash three and a half decades ago, Quentin Tarantino won the 'Best Screenplay' Oscar for his infamously caustic and 'n' word strewn 'Django Unchained'.

Progress?
½ March 24, 2013
Fight for Your Life isn't for everyone. It's very likely that some people, especially those that are easily offended would call it a vile piece of trash. However I think it's largely misunderstood. Political correctness takes a leap through a plate-glass window and the film plays the race card like a drum. The film hinges on a brilliant central performance from William Sanderson. If you've seen other home invasion flicks such as The Last House on the Left or House on the Edge of the Park you will know what to expect. The racist dialogue and violence is so outrageous that I couldn't personally take it seriously so it was difficult to get upset about it and and not find a vein of perverse humour to it all. What on the surface appears to be a very offensive film is actually a very clever one. The themes of racism are actually played well and fly from all directions. Fight for Your Life has a strong grindhouse feel and is actually a very good example of a low budget exploitation film.
July 23, 2012
I don't think you're ever likely to see a movie with more horrible racial slurs than this one. Strangely entertaining, though.
July 2, 2012
Reasonably entertaining. Bill Sanderson is memorable as a hate spewing madman.
½ May 18, 2012
Fight Four Your Life is an exploitation flick about a group of criminals who bust out of jail, while in transit. Incredibly violent, and on the run, the three men escape to upstate New York where they hide out in the home of a black minister and his family, holding the family hostage. Most of the film takes place in this house, with dialogue between the leader of the criminals, Cane, an incredibly racist man whose disdain for African american's is only matched by his lunacy, and the family, terrified for their lives. This film is sleazy as hell and features quite a few sequences that are pretty hard to watch-the sequence where one of the criminals beats a young boy to death with a rock was particularly disturbing. The f While watching this film I couldn't help but think of comparisons to Larry Cohen's BONE, just in reverse. It's kinda a silly comparison, as this film is far more sleazy and exploitative, not as smart-though it does have it's moments, but quite fun in that outrageous sleazy sorta way. I definitely love how the film ends, essentially becoming a lot smarter even taking a look at the reasons for Cain's hatred from a psychological perspective. While it's arguably too little too late at this point, it does add to the piece. A film that is clearly not for sensitive viewers, though William Sanderson's performance is so outlandish and well done that it's definitely good for a few laughs.
April 15, 2012
Erinomaisen nasty desperate hours/ Last house etc.... -kierrätys.
WrenchLT
Super Reviewer
½ October 27, 2011
It's not a horror film but this tasteless exploitation piece was deemed controversial enough in the UK to make the video nasties list and is still banned to this day! But is it any good? Well that depends on your personal taste. If you don't mind politically incorrect grindhouse movies then you'll enjoy this more than others would. It's a home-invasion movie featuring indiscriminate murder, rape, humiliation and racist language. But for all those unpleasantries the most shocking moment in the film would the killing of the young boy which really was quite brutal. Much is made of the racist tones in the film, mostly from the lead villian played brilliantly by William Sanderson. But the racist insults fly from all directions, including from the black family and the other two villains, one is Mexican and the other Chinese... it all got quite humourous at times! It's too cheesy to get really riled up about so I had fun with it.
August 16, 2011
William Sanderson is amazingly sleazy in this Exploitation classic, sparing no racist slur as he and his group of escaped cons torment and torture a black preacher's family in their home near the woods. The family eventually has enough and rises up against their tormentors, as one expects in a film of this sort.

The film is very mean-spirited, not even sparing the children in the violence, but it goes a long way to sell the final act, when the family has had enough.

This is a great little Exploitation film, well worth a look.
½ April 13, 2011
One of the video nasties. Initially you wonder why, then you here some of the racist shit that comes out of Sanderson's mouth, the beating to death of a young child, the rape of teenage girl by 3 different people, and the violence in general, you can kinda understand why this caused abit of a stir in the early 80s. However, this is a very ballsy flick that pulls no punches with its content and just lets it all hang out. Sanderson (Deadwood fame) is a fuckin douche, but he plays it so well that you have to admire it. Very enjoyable watch with that glorious 70s Grindhouse/ blaxploitation feel with a political edge.
½ December 27, 2010
Fight for Your Life falls into the home-defense category of exploitation, but doesn't reach much further than mimicry. Borrowing heavily from The Desperate Hours and Straw Dogs, this race-driven thriller pits a black suburban family against three bigoted white prison-escapees looking for a place to hide out. From there Fight for Your Life inflates all and holds back nothing -- William Sanderson (of "True Blood" and "Deadwood" fame) as the lead heavy is uncomfortably and mind-blowingly racist, there's a rape-revenge plot grafted in, and naturally, the bad guys are the worst type of evil cinematic 70's drifters. Fight for Your Life is Bone meets Last House on the Left, and while it's definitely shocking, entertaining, and memorable, it could've tried a little harder to make a point. Historically significant nonetheless, I'd recommend it to exploitation fans.
½ December 15, 2010
Very interesting and VERY problematic. Approach with an open mind and see what you could not get away with in cinema those days (for better or worse...) - there are shades of Craven's Last House on the Left, but wrapped in a racist blanket. Leaves you thinking
December 12, 2010
Racist, violent, realist... most politically incorrect movie indeed, so distasteful it's hard to watch without feeling uneasy.
½ September 15, 2010
These films can't be rated on their pages due to obscurity, so I'll rate them here.

Cannibal Ferox: A must-see for fans of the cannibal genre, this film is very similar to Cannibal Holocaust but not as unique or well-written.

Experiment in Torture: Despite a seemingly foolproof exploitation film premise, bad acting, directing, and writing are all that are experimented in and the viewer is the only one who is substantially tortured.

Burial Ground: A near-plotless fest of zombie carnage, the only thing that distinguishes this film from other low-budget schlock is the presense of a tragically undeveloped incestuous love subplot.

The House on the Edge of the Park: Though seemingly a Last House on the Left knockoff, this Deodato film has merits of its own including more nudity, better torture, and a haunting song.

Fight for Your Life: This once-controversial gem contains hilariously overdone racism that a modern audience would quote and laugh at.
August 11, 2010
(Watched Fri 23 Feb 2007)
July 29, 2010
One of the harshest exploitation movies ever. Also a really interesting film with great performances especially William Sanderson as the most spiteful rascist convict. Recommended for fans of extreme cinema only.
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