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Vigilante 4K UHD Review

“Vigilante” deserves more attention.

Directed by William Lustig (best known for the “Maniac Cop” series), 1983’s “Vigilante” is a New York City set crime drama/revenge thriller that takes place during the era when crime was on the rise in the city. The story revolves around an everyman family man (Eddie) who works at a factory. Unbeknownst to Eddie, three of his co-workers have formed a vigilante group that takes the law into their own hands and goes after criminals. Eddie winds up joining forces with them when his son is murdered by a gang known as the Headhunters.

Despite clearly being one of the many films influenced by “Death Wish,” “Vigilante” has more to offer aside from being violent grindhouse entertainment. Generic though the title may be, filmmaker William Lustig and writer Richard Vetere created a topical story about a time and a place. In the case of this story, early 80’s NY which was suffering from crime. Through this film, the story explores the broken legal and law system, corruption, street gangs, vigilante justice, victims of crime, and defending yourself. This is not a movie that includes violence for the sake of violence. It has something to say and it doesn’t pull any punches in doing so. This is a very gritty and dark movie where even the heroes are deeply flawed. Sure, other films have covered similar ground, but Lustig and cinematographer James Lemmo create a tight and intense entry in the genre.

“Vigilante” is very much Robert Forester and Fred Williamson’s movie. Although it would have been nice to learn more about Williamson’s character Nick (specifically his past), the NFL star turned actor still shines in the role of a man who wants to help his community by any means necessary. The late great underrated character actor Robert Forster is also superb as the everyman whose life falls apart. It may sound odd, but he does some tremendous car acting in this movie with the car chase sequence and the heartbreaking drive up to his home where atrocities have just taken place. Both of these scenes are arguably the highlights.


Presentation: 2.40:1 2160p. How does it look? Blue Underground went all out for this release. The film has been scanned in 4K and the result is a pristine print of the movie.

Audio Track: Dolby Atmos. How does it sound? “Vigilante” gets the highest quality track and the result is as good as anyone could hope.

* Blu-ray copy
* A booklet with credits and an essay by Michael Gingold.
* Poster and still galleries
* Theatrical trailers, TV spots, a promo reel, and a radio spot.
* “Urban Western”- A 25 minute interview with film composer Jay Chattaway.
* “Blue Collar Death Wish”- A new 25 minute featurette on the film and its themes with cast and crew interviews.
* A whopping 3 commentary tracks. One by William Lustig and Andrew Garroni, one by William Lustig, Robert Forster, Fred Williamson and Frank Pesce and the third by film historians Troy Howarth and Nathaniel Thompson. The track with Lustig, Forster, Pesce and Williamson is the most interesting as you get the perspective of the director and the actors.

March 28, 2021 - Posted by | 4K UHD Review | , , , , ,

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