|FIGHTING BACK (DEATH VENGEANCE) (director: Lewis Teague; screenwriters: David Zelag/Thomas Hedley, Jr.; cinematographer: Franco Di Giacomo; editors: Nicholas Smith/John J. Fitzstephens; music: Piero Piccioni; cast: Tom Skerritt (John D'Angelo), Patti LuPone (Lisa D'Angelo), Michael Sarrazin (Vince Morelli), Yaphet Kotto (Ivanhoe Washington), David Rasche (Michael Taylor), Pat Cooper (Harry Janelli); Runtime: 98; MPAA Rating: R; producers: D. Constantine Conte/David Permut; Paramount; 1982)|
|"Ambitious but heavily flawed
by Dennis Schwartz
directs this ambitious but heavily flawed urban
thriller. Writers David Zelag and Thomas
Hedley, Jr keep its conversation about urban
vigilantism provocative but unfulfilling.
plays an Italian-American deli owner in South Philly.
When his best friend friend is shot, his mother's
finger amputated by thugs and wife (Patti LuPone)
miscarriages, the beleaguered Tom organizes
a vigilante group to bring law and order to the
street and get revenge. This elevates Tom into a
media celebrity. Yaphet Kotto plays the
black leader worried about a racial war starting.
pic uses the cop played by Michael
Sarrazin as its moral
tries to have it both ways in its commentary on
vigilantes. It tells of the vigilante's unruly and
illegal acts to get justice, while at the same time
pointing out vigilantes can be a positive experience
if justice is served. The muddled film never really
has something worthwhile to say about the perennial
hot button issues it opines about-- urban crime,
vigilantes and America's racial divide.
REVIEWED ON 7/11/2015 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ