|Index||3 reviews in total|
Frank Challenge, state senate hopeful, is about to bring down the house
of his crooked mobster running-mate with a cache of highly
incriminating documents. His efforts are halted when he is beaten
nearly to death, and his wife and daughter simultaneously murdered in a
deliberately set house fire. The vigilante revenge tale which
transpires, while entirely formulaic, is briskly paced and imparts a
few strong moments.
As is case with the gamut of Earl Owensby drive-in fodder, CHALLENGE is both slight on original ideas and behind the proverbial eight-ball financially. It's quite watchable, regardless, with Owensby bringing surprising vitality to his otherwise unstimulating character.
Inconsequential testosterone fodder, but a worthy enough waste of ninety minutes. 4/10
(There are Spoilers) Running for the state senate as an independent,
with no strings attached, businessman Frank Challenge, Earl Owensby,is
rapidly closing in on the lead against incumbent Senator Newhouse and
looks like he's a sure winner in the upcoming senatorial elections.
Having in his possession a dossier of documents against not only
Newhouse but his behind the scenes mob controllers Challenge is going
to see the states Special Crime Commissioner Taylor ,Lauen Moore,and
hand over the important and explosive papers. These papers would all
but guarantee his election to the senate but at the same time also
destroy the mob by exposing it's hold on the states elected officials
from governor to dog catcher.
Dropping in at the local TV station to see his good friend newscaster William Reynolds, William Alspaugh, Challenge is talked into telling him want he has on the mob not knowing that Reynolds is in debt to it, big time, due to his compulsive gambling habit. Reynolds then uses the information that Challenge gives him, off the record, to get in touch with mob kingpin W.F Gutherie, William T. Hicks. Gutherie not only forgive Reylonds' debt to his bookies but also get's a bunch of his goons to do in both Challenge and his family his wife Betty and young daughter Bebe ,Katheryn Thompson & Tiffany Crawley, by burning down the Challenge home in their search for the other duplicate documents that he has hidden there.
Challenge savagely beaten, with his dossier on the mob stolen, as he was going to see Commissioner Taylor by Gutherie's goons miraculously survives. After finding out in his hospital room from Susan (Judith Hanson), the nurse looking after him, that his family perished in the mob set fire of his home Challenge completely gives up his run for the senate. Challenge begins a one man guerrilla war against the Gutherie mob that ends with Gutherie himself, after all his goons are taken care off, as Challenge's main target.
What "Challenge" lacks in money and experience it more then makes up with drive and ingenuity. Challenge goes after the Gutherie mob with a vengeance on the roads highways and in the air. There's an exciting and almost unbelievable air to air dog fight with one of Gutherie's hoods as Challenge, without the help of special effects, single-handedly puts it the plane & pilot out of business for good.
Having Gutherie check out of his fortress-like suite in the state capital, after he broke into it, Challenge has him on the run for his life. This results in Gutherie falling by the wayside, dead, with out Challenge even having to shoot or lay as much as a hand on the cowardly thug.
Owensby's first attempt in making motion pictures and it shows in his acting, that's as wooden at times as a cigar store Indian. The effort put into the movie by Owensby with a more or less cast of unknowns makes "Challenge" well worth seeing. If you can find "Challange" at your local video and DVD store take it out and give it a spin. It's far better then most like-wise crime/action films with far bigger budgets and well known, and multi-million dollar salaried, stars.
What a surprise find this is! Earl Owensby had to be a reasonable independent film producer along the line, and it's absolutely wise to explain the excellent production values in this intriguing action thriller, which was released under the title MANHUNTER (remember, it stars Owensby!) Please understand that this isn't the work of hundreds of thousands of crew members from a 007 picture. Since this was made in North Carolina, expect to hear some Southern accents from the cast members, and do realize that it was filmed on a very low budget. All of these details won't keep the movie from being less enjoyable, though. The smooth pace of the action is its strongest point, with a couple of big explosions and some nifty car chasing and plane flying along the way. Its central character, Frank Challenge, can be best compared to James Bond 007 or other secret agent, but he does not retain that kind of personality like in the other big action movies, rather he is an ordinary individual living in North Carolina doing his duty. Still, he delivers to the audience on what we demand: seriously well fed action-packed fun! Another nice touch in the film is its practical sense of humor, which goes well with the low budget acting and it's greatly appreciated for a solid indie outing. MANHUNTER proves why it doesn't take millions of dollars and strenuous workmanship to make a very good action-packed production, although it's still not the greatest gem in the world. H.B. Halicki did the same thing with his GONE IN 60 SECONDS by putting out brilliant ideas in the making of a solid indie cult classic. Earl Owensby should be satisfied of the credit he deserved in this one, plus his other past films. A must-see for action and independent film fanatics!
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