In the 1980s Sybil Danning gained a small cult following playing tough women, whether wearing sandals and carrying a sword, in uniform with a gun, or flying spaceships in some sci-fi future. Here she stars as Ruger, an ex-cop turned bounty hunter, out to avenge her partner, killed by crime-lord Cavanaugh (Wings Hauser). Heard the story before? Yes, and you've seen this film before too, at least a dozen times. There are no surprises here and no attempt at anything original. That's the downside.
On the other hand, it's pretty well made. The plot is slight but hangs together, sets, dialog and direction are OK, and some of the acting is surprisingly good. Hauser has made a lot of films and it's easy to see why. As a demented Chris Walken style bad guy, he's both nasty and charismatic. The various cops and heavies and the main female victim do fine in support, and then there's Danning. She wrote and produced this film, and rarely can a star have created a role for her/himself with so little dialog. Even when spoken to, she simply doesn't reply. She broods silently, stalks about with a big gun in her hand, and, when she fires it, rarely misses. Not the world's greatest actor, Danning knows her strengths and brings this off better than most tough-guy actors could. But if this character does anything else at all (eat maybe? sleep? make love?) we never find out about it.
Female action heroes are common enough nowadays (though not so much back in the 80s) but in movies like Kill Bill and The Long Kiss Goodnight, they're always given some point of vulnerability. Here there is none. Ruger is a hard and competent winner, which is great it's just a shame she was given no other life or personality at all.
There's no particular reason to go looking for this film, but if you like tough women or mindless action entertainment, you should enjoy it. It's fun and much better than the low rating suggests.
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