The Defenders: Payback (TV Movie 1997) Poster

(1997 TV Movie)

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Theo Robertson8 July 2004
Warning: Spoilers
I remember seeing another of these DEFENDERS TVMs about a year ago and not thinking muchh of it down to a lack of credibility . PAYBACK is slightly different in tone but again it`s not very enjoyable and suffers from the same type of problems many other TVMs suffer from


Michael Lane shoots the man who molested his daughter seven years before and the story centres around his trial . However there does seem to be some slight confusion as to what this TVM is trying to say . Is the defendant the good guy or the bad guy ? In a movie like DEATH WISH or THE EXTERMINATOR the audience sympathies lie with the man who blows away lots and lots of criminals . We`re not allowed to question wether executing someone who hasn`t commited a crime against the avenging vigilante deserved it or not because the criminal volunteered to become a criminal and therefore brought their fate upon themselves . These vigilante thrillers scream that it`s okay to kill guilty people but that it`s wrong to rob , rape or kill innocent people a view if we were to be honest most people would agree with . PAYBACK is different because it`s revealed that the man who raped and sodomised an eight year child was once a victim of child abuse himself and after being jailed for seven years is rehabilitated . This has a somewhat liberal subtext as we`re always being told by the bleeding heart liberal lobby that rehabilitation is the only way to deal with sex offenders so in many ways PAY BACK has a liberal agenda . However we`re shown the distress and family destruction of what the actions of this paedophile has done to the Lanes and in another scene which ironically features the paedophile`s wife it`s pointed out that revenge is never enough no matter what punishment is inflicted legal or otherwise .

Of course some people may claim that PAYBACK is trying to be subjective , but the sub text is confused more than anything . It would have perhaps worked better if the script had cut out all the mawkish stuff like Michael Lane`s abused daughter running from the court . I would have actually preferred a different angle to the story like maybe how the authorities are fairly useless at protecting innocent members of society from sexual predators . I don`t know how things are in America but over here in Britain convicted sex offenders seem to have more rights than the victims they abused hence our admiration for people who take the law into their own hands
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Pretty Much a TV movie with a polemic subject
rmgaspar7 July 1999
This movie is just about what TV movies are: supposed to get your attention but without breath to become solid or original entertainment. The plot is about two lawyers who defend a guy involved in a interesting and polemic (even if it's a cliche) case. The accused's daughter was raped, the raper served only 4 years and, feeling it was not enough, the father murders the raper when the later returns to live in the same neighbourhood after prison. So, is he morally guilty ? In the cast, should be mentioned that lovely and talented teen actress Rachael Leigh Cook is the girl raped. She's the best thing among other veterans.
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