A mean trashy exploitation picture about three convicts who escape from jail and hole up at the house of a black minister. There's a few nasty scene's where the ministers family are being ...
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An artist slowly goes insane while struggling to pay his bills, work on his paintings, and care for his two female roommates, which leads him taking to the streets of New York after dark and randomly killing derelicts with a power drill.
A mean trashy exploitation picture about three convicts who escape from jail and hole up at the house of a black minister. There's a few nasty scene's where the ministers family are being repeatedly terrorised by the thugs. In the end the minister turns the tables on the 3 convicts and gives them their just desserts. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
The film was rejected for a UK cinema certificate in 1981 by the BBFC and later ended up on the DPP 72 list of official video nasties. See more »
The first time we see the Turner family's pet dog on the couch, a wire is seen and a hand to the left of the screen is clearly moving up and down. The wire is attached to the dogs tail and is being used to wag its tail, suggesting the dog is being friendly. See more »
Jessie Lee Kane:
[to Ted Turner]
Repeat after me..."Yes sir massah Kane sir, all of us black-ass coons is hungry!"
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The promotional gallery of posters, lobby cards, and stills on Blue Underground's DVD release of "Fight for Your Life" give one the impression that it's merely the umpteenth addition to the pile of exploitative revengers inspired by Wes Craven's landmark "Last House on the Left"; even the trailers (a 'white' and 'black' version) depict the money shots in what promises to be another parade of cruelty for cruelty's sake, accompanied by '70s soul music.
Yet when I got around to watching the movie itself, I was more than a little impressed by the frequency with which it ran contrary to my low expectations, to the point where I really did feel like applauding and cheering on the heroes. "Fight for Your Life" is more politically ambitious than the LHotL imitators it is commonly lumped in with, transposing the race roles of slave times (the 'master' is a moneyed man who cracks a mean whip; the 'slaves' are quietly obedient out of fear of abuse) into the late-1970s, after the Civil Rights movement, where blacks are only starting to find their place in an overwhelmingly white society. Robert Judd plays a pacifist minister whose family is taken hostage by a trio of thugs (led by the fantastically scummy Willaim Sanderson, whose dialog is a catalog of racial epithets) who get a perverse entertainment out of the torture, rape, and humiliation of their hostages. Of course the tables are turned in the third reel, but the film goes about it in a cleverly justified way. By making the criminals so unredeemable (and thankfully avoiding the clichéd comic relief some films gravitate toward), we are on the edge of our seats, waiting for their comeuppance; but "Fight for Your Life" also engenders multi-layered characters grappling with their own moral conflicts that makes the resulting graphic violence resonate on a deeper level.
The film contains some genuinely moving, even heartbreaking moments that would not carry such an impact if we didn't relate so strongly to the victims: the quiet aftermath of a rape (the details of which are not explicitly rendered); humiliation that unexpectedly turns to uplift (when Judd's character is forced to sing on a pedestal at gunpoint); the by-the-book police lieutenant who eavesdrops on the family's revenge, only to allow it to continue out of sympathy.
Though my review thus far might turn off those seeking a hard-edged revenge thriller, let it be known that "Fight for Your Life" is not a sentimental piece--quite the contrary, it is just as lurid and seedy as the best (worst) of the genre; the violence is vivid and unsettling, made all the more so by the reality of the characters and their situation. Though low-budget productions tend to be hampered by exaggerated acting and unconvincing effects by default, the whole cast is convincing in selling the premise, and reminding us that even genre pics can reach for high concepts and succeed.
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