Drifter Chance Wayne returns to his hometown after many years of trying to make it in the movies. Arriving with him is a faded film star he picked up along the way, Alexandra Del Lago. ... See full summary »
Robert Culp (they call his character "doctor"...I think he's a vet or something) and family move to an affluent, low-tax, zero-law-enforcement suburb. Lantern-jawed Culp and his dog are nearly killed when some local idiot neighbor kids get drunk and "go cruising" through his front yard at 60mph. He presses charges, which arouses the kids' ire, and suddenly him and his family are the victims of a violent and disturbing prank campaign.
Marilyn Manson, er, Marlyn Mason rather, plays his fretful, boiled-celery wife, who urges him not to use violence against his sneering nemeses, and who really just wants to move somewhere with decent public services. But The System is getting Culp nowhere, and he's not about to leave his house because of some punk kids and their crazy rock and roll music. And we all know what movie people do when The System fails...(but this is based on a true story, which makes it even better).
It should be noted that while the villainous hooligans do have convenient '70s funk-o-matic "teenage" theme music that warns us when they're up to no good, this film actually ends up treating the age brackets even-handedly (really!). It doesn't make a big generational thing out of it. Kudos for that.
Anyway, if you like dogs (or at least believe in protecting their civil rights, like me), and you like justice, and you like fire, and you like justice for dogs by way of fire, and you think people who skitter nervously out of troubled communities are "too damn soft," then this flick's ethos is up your alley. No, it's not really "good," at least not in any widely recognized sense of the word. There's nothing subtle or understated or clever about it, it's just sort of a feature-length PSA for vigilantism. It does, however, capture the feeling of some memorable scenes in other, beloved works. Remember in Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns when Batman leads the Mutants on horseback to reclaim Gotham City? Remember that scene in A Christmas Story where the kid pounds the bully's face in? Remember how cool that was? Or do you just really hate being looked at funny by your neighbors? Yeah, mon.
Unfortunately, this was a 1973 made-for-TV movie that I just happened to catch at 4am on my local WB affiliate, and it's probably not destined for DVD release. But after being inspired by this film, do you think I'm gonna just sit here and take it!?!
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