Vigilante (1983)

directed by William Lustig
starring Robert Forster, Fred Williamson and Willie Colon

This revenge flick from the early 80’s was directed by William Lustig (MANIAC and MANIAC COP) and stars Robert Forster (MEDIUM COOL and JACKIE BROWN) as Eddie Marino, a normal everyday guy and factory worker who gets pushed to the edge after his wife is stabbed and child murdered by a gang of sadistic thugs led by Chico played by Salsa legend, Willie Colon. Fred “The Hammer” Williamson (HELL UP IN HARLEM) plays Eddie’s buddy in the film who leads a group of vigilantes who have had enough of thugs and pimps running the streets and have lost faith in the corrupt system. Fred Williamson has never been better in the role of Nick who vows to take back the streets, chasing down punks and giving them beatdowns. The film was shot in different parts of New York City and my favorite scene is Fred Williamson chasing some low-life drug dealer into an abandoned pool in Brooklyn (McCarren Pool Park in Williamsburg). It’s also interesting to see old NYC landmarks like the Twin Towers in the background.

After Forster’s character, Eddie, loses his cool in a courtroom scene after a judge sets the killer of his child free, Eddie gets thrown in the slammer for thirty days. The gritty prison scenes were all shot at Rikers Island, New York City’s infamous prison complex. Woody Strobe (SPARTACUS) plays a fellow inmate and is in a memorable scene in which he saves Eddie from being a victim of an attack in the shower. Yo, don’t drop the soap! I can only imagine the audiences in the theaters in Times Square in the 80’s totally going crazy when Woody saves the day like John Wayne and knocks out two thugs half his age. A total kick ass scene!

When Eddie gets out of prison, the action picks up as he goes berserk and proceeds on a bloody and brutal rampage, seeking revenge on the suckers responsible for turning his life upside down. The DVD is available on Blue Underground and features an audio commentary with director William Lustig and stars Robert Forster, Fred Williamson and Frank Pesce. If you like revenge movies like DEATH WISH and you enjoy blaxploitation movies and spaghetti westerns, then this exploitation classic is for you.

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