Vigilante Reviews

  • Feb 11, 2021

    This is up there with the best Death Wish movies. A fun, gritty, pulpy action thriller, with an awesome score. I love the way Williamson is implemented into this, as a kind of Vigilante recruiter.

    This is up there with the best Death Wish movies. A fun, gritty, pulpy action thriller, with an awesome score. I love the way Williamson is implemented into this, as a kind of Vigilante recruiter.

  • Feb 07, 2021

    Vigilante is an entertaining non-stop action revenge thriller with two incredible independent actors.

    Vigilante is an entertaining non-stop action revenge thriller with two incredible independent actors.

  • Dec 31, 2020

    Sure this is basically a Death Wish ripoff, but when it's done as well as it is it ceases to become said ripoff and graduates to its own thing. Robert Forster plays the lead in which during a home invasion attack by a gang of ne'er do wells, his wife is brutally attacked and their son killed. When justice fails, he takes it upon himself to dole out his own. Fred Williamson co stars as well in this film directed by William Lustig. Do yourself a favour and pick up the beautiful 4K transfer from Blue Underground.

    Sure this is basically a Death Wish ripoff, but when it's done as well as it is it ceases to become said ripoff and graduates to its own thing. Robert Forster plays the lead in which during a home invasion attack by a gang of ne'er do wells, his wife is brutally attacked and their son killed. When justice fails, he takes it upon himself to dole out his own. Fred Williamson co stars as well in this film directed by William Lustig. Do yourself a favour and pick up the beautiful 4K transfer from Blue Underground.

  • Dec 26, 2020

    Vigilante is absolutely the better version of Charles Bronson's Death Wish and it's really an entertaining grindhouse action film a true independent cult classic and with really outstanding cast by Fred Williamson and Robert Forster RIP.

    Vigilante is absolutely the better version of Charles Bronson's Death Wish and it's really an entertaining grindhouse action film a true independent cult classic and with really outstanding cast by Fred Williamson and Robert Forster RIP.

  • Sep 26, 2020

    A true cult classic gritty action thriller with two strong supporting cast and it's an artwork of Independent film.

    A true cult classic gritty action thriller with two strong supporting cast and it's an artwork of Independent film.

  • Apr 29, 2016

    Eddie Marino (Robert Forster) is a factory worker in New York City. He has a wife named Vickie (Rutanya Alda) and an eight-year-old son named Scott. Eddie's friend and co-worker, Nick (Fred Williamson), and two other co-workers, Burke and Ramon, have formed a secret vigilante group because Nick and the group are fed up with the crime in their neighbourhood. Nick and his group are also tired of the police, because the police always fail to protect people. Nick's "group" has support of various residents of the neighbourhood who indirectly help them. In one example, a local thug stalks and chases a young woman to a rooftop of an apartment building where the thug robs and then kills her. An old lady who witnesses the thug says nothing to the police, but points out the thug to Nick and his group the next day. Nick and his friends forcibly grab the thug off the streets and place him in their van and drive away. The thug is later found dead in a vacant lot with all of his arms and legs broken and his head bashed in.One evening, Eddie returns home from work only to discover that Vickie has been stabbed, and Scott has been shot dead in a home invasion which was in retaliation for Vicki aiding a gas station attendant who was being assaulted earlier. Frederico "Rico" Melendez (Willie Colón), the leader of a Puerto Rican street gang, is arrested for the crime. Assistant District Attorney Mary Fletcher (Carol Lynley) seeks a lengthy jail sentence, since New York does not have the death penalty. Nick tries to convince Eddie to join the vigilante group, but Eddie turns Nick down, preferring to let the courts handle Rico. Nick's lack of faith in the system is proven correct when Rico is set free after his right-hand man, Prago (Don Blakely), bribes both Judge Sinclair (Vincent Beck) and Eisenburg (Joe Spinell), Rico's attorney. Enraged, Eddie attacks the judge and is sentenced to 30 days in jail. With Eddie in jail, the vigilante group tracks down the source of the drugs in their neighbourhood. After roughing up a small-time drug dealer (Frank Pesce) and torturing his supplier, they are led to a high-ranking member of the New York mayor's office. Meanwhile, in prison, Eddie befriends an inmate named Rake (Woody Strode) who saves him from being gang raped in the showers. As soon as Eddie is released from jail, he joins the vigilante group so he can track down and kill Rico, Prago, and Judge Sinclair... Dave Kehr of The New York Times wrote that "Vigilante" was "directed with classical, self-effacing skill". Kehr identified influence from New York street realism and stated that the film was only possible in the period between the collapses of the Motion Picture Production Code and grindhouse theaters. Randy Fox of the Nashville Scene called it "a grindhouse classic". Rodney Perkins of Twitch Film called it derivative of Death Wish but memorable for its cast and nihilistic tone. Chris Claro of DVD Verdict called it an incoherent ripoff of Death Wish that is still entertaining. The film was very popular overseas such as Scandinavia, Germany and in particular, England where it was the number one video rental for six months. The only place according to director William Lustig that the film "didn't do anything" was in Japan. This is just a nasty B-Movie revenge thriller in the wake of "Death Wish" (1974) and "The Exterminator" (1980). "Vigilante" is a true child of shoddy 80´s movies in my opinion. The acting is wobbly, the editing is superwobbly, the storyline a bit too simple and the dramatisation isn´t all that exciting and pretty wobbly as well. However, I did like the gritty NYC locations and the vibe in the film. But, that´s not enough to satisfy.

    Eddie Marino (Robert Forster) is a factory worker in New York City. He has a wife named Vickie (Rutanya Alda) and an eight-year-old son named Scott. Eddie's friend and co-worker, Nick (Fred Williamson), and two other co-workers, Burke and Ramon, have formed a secret vigilante group because Nick and the group are fed up with the crime in their neighbourhood. Nick and his group are also tired of the police, because the police always fail to protect people. Nick's "group" has support of various residents of the neighbourhood who indirectly help them. In one example, a local thug stalks and chases a young woman to a rooftop of an apartment building where the thug robs and then kills her. An old lady who witnesses the thug says nothing to the police, but points out the thug to Nick and his group the next day. Nick and his friends forcibly grab the thug off the streets and place him in their van and drive away. The thug is later found dead in a vacant lot with all of his arms and legs broken and his head bashed in.One evening, Eddie returns home from work only to discover that Vickie has been stabbed, and Scott has been shot dead in a home invasion which was in retaliation for Vicki aiding a gas station attendant who was being assaulted earlier. Frederico "Rico" Melendez (Willie Colón), the leader of a Puerto Rican street gang, is arrested for the crime. Assistant District Attorney Mary Fletcher (Carol Lynley) seeks a lengthy jail sentence, since New York does not have the death penalty. Nick tries to convince Eddie to join the vigilante group, but Eddie turns Nick down, preferring to let the courts handle Rico. Nick's lack of faith in the system is proven correct when Rico is set free after his right-hand man, Prago (Don Blakely), bribes both Judge Sinclair (Vincent Beck) and Eisenburg (Joe Spinell), Rico's attorney. Enraged, Eddie attacks the judge and is sentenced to 30 days in jail. With Eddie in jail, the vigilante group tracks down the source of the drugs in their neighbourhood. After roughing up a small-time drug dealer (Frank Pesce) and torturing his supplier, they are led to a high-ranking member of the New York mayor's office. Meanwhile, in prison, Eddie befriends an inmate named Rake (Woody Strode) who saves him from being gang raped in the showers. As soon as Eddie is released from jail, he joins the vigilante group so he can track down and kill Rico, Prago, and Judge Sinclair... Dave Kehr of The New York Times wrote that "Vigilante" was "directed with classical, self-effacing skill". Kehr identified influence from New York street realism and stated that the film was only possible in the period between the collapses of the Motion Picture Production Code and grindhouse theaters. Randy Fox of the Nashville Scene called it "a grindhouse classic". Rodney Perkins of Twitch Film called it derivative of Death Wish but memorable for its cast and nihilistic tone. Chris Claro of DVD Verdict called it an incoherent ripoff of Death Wish that is still entertaining. The film was very popular overseas such as Scandinavia, Germany and in particular, England where it was the number one video rental for six months. The only place according to director William Lustig that the film "didn't do anything" was in Japan. This is just a nasty B-Movie revenge thriller in the wake of "Death Wish" (1974) and "The Exterminator" (1980). "Vigilante" is a true child of shoddy 80´s movies in my opinion. The acting is wobbly, the editing is superwobbly, the storyline a bit too simple and the dramatisation isn´t all that exciting and pretty wobbly as well. However, I did like the gritty NYC locations and the vibe in the film. But, that´s not enough to satisfy.

  • Jun 20, 2015

    the excessive violence makes this one go

    the excessive violence makes this one go

  • Phil H Super Reviewer
    Feb 18, 2015

    First and foremost I am still shocked this is an 80's movie, I genuinely thought this was a trashy 70's flick at first. OK in all honesty I kinda thought it was a blaxploitation movie because Fred Williamson was in it and the whole thing looks so grungy and cheap. Just look at the movie poster...it looks like an old videogame advert. Kinda like a third rate advertisement for a Double Dragon clone or any other scrolling beat em up involving punks on the streets when the sun goes down. This is your standard revenge thriller, the type of movie that most probably influenced the likes of Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez and led to the various slick revenge action thrillers today ('The Equalizer' and 'John Wick'). Eddie Marino (Forster) is a happily married man with a young son in New York. In a brief encounter with a violent gang, Marino's wife slaps a Che Guevara looking gang member across the face. Later that day the gang turns up at her door, breaks in, trashes the place, kills the young boy and stabs her badly. Unfortunately for Marino the law is corrupt, the system doesn't work and the gang member gets off, you know what happens next. This movie could only have been made in this era really, New York in the late 70's and early 80's was a dirty crime ridden place. You only have to look at the cities suburbs/locations whilst watching the film to see how different it was. Its quite interesting actually, seeing all these beat up cars running around, street trash, dilapidated buildings and stores on every corner, movies like 'Taxi Driver' and 'Serpico' back this up, its not movie magic. Noo Yawk was a hard dangerous place and the law enforcement was known to be...dodgy, this movie uses all of that to good effect. Yeah sure it seems a bit tame in places these days, the street gang looks ridiculous in their punk attire. God knows what some of them are wearing, the main bad guy seems to have some kind of native American thing going on with a headband and feathers...I think it was. All the other guys are decked out in typical biker duds and covered in shiny studs, badges and spikes. Most of them are black dudes and Latinos (Mexicans?) with big thick sideburns or tashes (naturally), and they have one blonde female in their ranks, basically your stereotypical street gang from the 80's. The violence is actually quite shocking and graphic, some stuff you see and some is implied yet still pretty horrific. The only sequence where you do see a lot of blood was the street gang shooting up a police car in a hail of silenced gunfire. The scene where Nick (Williamson) shoots an armed (baddie) female inside one gang members abode is pretty shocking to be honest, I knew he was gonna do it but the way she is flung back into the bath tub was quite unexpected to say the least. The most shocking scene by far is of course the murder of Marino's young son, you don't see it but you know exactly what happens. Again this did surprise me greatly as I did not expect it at tall, didn't think the punk would be so evil! The rest of the fisticuffs is pretty tame and quite amusing at times, especially seeing Forster naked in prison trying to fight off two other horny inmates. Yep that's right, Forster's character winds up in jail for thirty days because he tried to assault the judge after the gang member got let off the charges. The police, judges and lawyers are all dirty in this movie. If it wasn't for action man Woody Strode then Forster's character would have been the meat in an inmate sandwich. Actually most of the prison scenes are slightly amusing really, its all so cliched as I'm sure you can guess and seeing old man Strode beat up this gigantic inmate is both awesome and hilarious. The one thing I don't get is these vigilantes that clean the streets of scum and eventually end up killing off some people including a corrupt member of the mayor's office, don't get caught. How on earth they manage to get away with killing these people is beyond me, I realise the theme of the movie is corruption with everyone looking out for themselves but it seems unrealistic. On the other hand we never actually find out what happens to every character so who knows. We don't even see what happens to the whole gang as only the two leaders are dealt with so... Nothing overly special these days but obviously back in the day this was pretty hardcore stuff. Its still entertaining, clearly a tad similar to a certain Bronson movie and its fun to see Williamson swing into action with his kung-fu. This most definitely still packs a punch.

    First and foremost I am still shocked this is an 80's movie, I genuinely thought this was a trashy 70's flick at first. OK in all honesty I kinda thought it was a blaxploitation movie because Fred Williamson was in it and the whole thing looks so grungy and cheap. Just look at the movie poster...it looks like an old videogame advert. Kinda like a third rate advertisement for a Double Dragon clone or any other scrolling beat em up involving punks on the streets when the sun goes down. This is your standard revenge thriller, the type of movie that most probably influenced the likes of Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez and led to the various slick revenge action thrillers today ('The Equalizer' and 'John Wick'). Eddie Marino (Forster) is a happily married man with a young son in New York. In a brief encounter with a violent gang, Marino's wife slaps a Che Guevara looking gang member across the face. Later that day the gang turns up at her door, breaks in, trashes the place, kills the young boy and stabs her badly. Unfortunately for Marino the law is corrupt, the system doesn't work and the gang member gets off, you know what happens next. This movie could only have been made in this era really, New York in the late 70's and early 80's was a dirty crime ridden place. You only have to look at the cities suburbs/locations whilst watching the film to see how different it was. Its quite interesting actually, seeing all these beat up cars running around, street trash, dilapidated buildings and stores on every corner, movies like 'Taxi Driver' and 'Serpico' back this up, its not movie magic. Noo Yawk was a hard dangerous place and the law enforcement was known to be...dodgy, this movie uses all of that to good effect. Yeah sure it seems a bit tame in places these days, the street gang looks ridiculous in their punk attire. God knows what some of them are wearing, the main bad guy seems to have some kind of native American thing going on with a headband and feathers...I think it was. All the other guys are decked out in typical biker duds and covered in shiny studs, badges and spikes. Most of them are black dudes and Latinos (Mexicans?) with big thick sideburns or tashes (naturally), and they have one blonde female in their ranks, basically your stereotypical street gang from the 80's. The violence is actually quite shocking and graphic, some stuff you see and some is implied yet still pretty horrific. The only sequence where you do see a lot of blood was the street gang shooting up a police car in a hail of silenced gunfire. The scene where Nick (Williamson) shoots an armed (baddie) female inside one gang members abode is pretty shocking to be honest, I knew he was gonna do it but the way she is flung back into the bath tub was quite unexpected to say the least. The most shocking scene by far is of course the murder of Marino's young son, you don't see it but you know exactly what happens. Again this did surprise me greatly as I did not expect it at tall, didn't think the punk would be so evil! The rest of the fisticuffs is pretty tame and quite amusing at times, especially seeing Forster naked in prison trying to fight off two other horny inmates. Yep that's right, Forster's character winds up in jail for thirty days because he tried to assault the judge after the gang member got let off the charges. The police, judges and lawyers are all dirty in this movie. If it wasn't for action man Woody Strode then Forster's character would have been the meat in an inmate sandwich. Actually most of the prison scenes are slightly amusing really, its all so cliched as I'm sure you can guess and seeing old man Strode beat up this gigantic inmate is both awesome and hilarious. The one thing I don't get is these vigilantes that clean the streets of scum and eventually end up killing off some people including a corrupt member of the mayor's office, don't get caught. How on earth they manage to get away with killing these people is beyond me, I realise the theme of the movie is corruption with everyone looking out for themselves but it seems unrealistic. On the other hand we never actually find out what happens to every character so who knows. We don't even see what happens to the whole gang as only the two leaders are dealt with so... Nothing overly special these days but obviously back in the day this was pretty hardcore stuff. Its still entertaining, clearly a tad similar to a certain Bronson movie and its fun to see Williamson swing into action with his kung-fu. This most definitely still packs a punch.

  • Feb 14, 2015

    I bought this film back in the days of laser discs and I remember listening to the commentary track and was most fascinated with director William Lustig's encyclopedic knowledge of American and European exploitation films. It made sense that he ended up currating many of these films through his associations with various video distributers like Elite, Roan Group and now Blue Underground, where he's relasing grindhouse classics as if they were part of the Criterion Collection. But I digress. In "Vigilante" Lustig takes his love of exploitation, particularly Italian exploitation films like those by Fernando Di Lio, and made a vigilante film of his own. Robert Forster's family is brutally killed by street trash and when a corrupt lawyer, played by the great Joe Spinell, gets the killer of his son off scot free, Forster flies into a rage in court and is sent to prison. There are some typical exploitation flick prison fights and sexual assaults, though prisoner Woody Strode helps Forster out before he is assaulted in a shower. Once released, Forster hooks up with Fred Williamson who runs a group of citizens who comb the streets dealing out vigilante justice to street slime like, Frank Pesce. The vilence in the film is mean and nasty in a way that you don't get in mainstream films, which is what makes exploitations flicks so fun to watch. There films don't follow the usual "rules" of Hollywood pictures and aren't afraid to go somewhere that most films fear to treat. I've always felt that is why exploitation films are so enjoyable. Anything is possible in these films and you really don't know what to expect, which in the best exploitation films creates real suspense and doesn't always lead audiences to a predictable and inevitable conclusion. The underrated film composer Jay Chattaway provides the film with a solid score. While this revenge film isn't the most original, it has a great cast, the villains are sneeringly despicable (making their violent demise all the more enjoyable), the action is exciting (particularly some of the car chases) and the grimy, gritty pre-Giuliani New York before he was cleaned up is a whole lot of fun if you're a fan of these sorts of films.

    I bought this film back in the days of laser discs and I remember listening to the commentary track and was most fascinated with director William Lustig's encyclopedic knowledge of American and European exploitation films. It made sense that he ended up currating many of these films through his associations with various video distributers like Elite, Roan Group and now Blue Underground, where he's relasing grindhouse classics as if they were part of the Criterion Collection. But I digress. In "Vigilante" Lustig takes his love of exploitation, particularly Italian exploitation films like those by Fernando Di Lio, and made a vigilante film of his own. Robert Forster's family is brutally killed by street trash and when a corrupt lawyer, played by the great Joe Spinell, gets the killer of his son off scot free, Forster flies into a rage in court and is sent to prison. There are some typical exploitation flick prison fights and sexual assaults, though prisoner Woody Strode helps Forster out before he is assaulted in a shower. Once released, Forster hooks up with Fred Williamson who runs a group of citizens who comb the streets dealing out vigilante justice to street slime like, Frank Pesce. The vilence in the film is mean and nasty in a way that you don't get in mainstream films, which is what makes exploitations flicks so fun to watch. There films don't follow the usual "rules" of Hollywood pictures and aren't afraid to go somewhere that most films fear to treat. I've always felt that is why exploitation films are so enjoyable. Anything is possible in these films and you really don't know what to expect, which in the best exploitation films creates real suspense and doesn't always lead audiences to a predictable and inevitable conclusion. The underrated film composer Jay Chattaway provides the film with a solid score. While this revenge film isn't the most original, it has a great cast, the villains are sneeringly despicable (making their violent demise all the more enjoyable), the action is exciting (particularly some of the car chases) and the grimy, gritty pre-Giuliani New York before he was cleaned up is a whole lot of fun if you're a fan of these sorts of films.

  • Jan 25, 2015

    A badass grindhouse thriller.

    A badass grindhouse thriller.