Vigilante Force

“[It reminds us that] there was a time when action cinema didn’t need a hundred million dollars to grab your attention. All that was required was a lot of action, brutality, gun battles and excessive amounts of things blowing up for no reason at all.” — Cool Ass Cinema

Dirty Harry and Walking Tall collectively spurred a golden wave of Seventies vigilante revenge tales — with one of the most outrageous and whip-crack entertaining of them all being this genre treasure from George Armitage (Miami Blues, Grosse Pointe Blank), starring Kris Kristofferson as a devious smalltown lawmaker/breaker. This over-the-top excursion has more than its fair share of completely awesome stuntmen fodder, with the opening several minutes alone containing enough insanely cartoonish rowdiness for any other film’s total running time. Kristofferson, who normally is called upon to play the charmer in a much more subdued fashion, looks like he’s having a ball as one of the era’s most oblique anti-heroes, in a wicked casting move that recalls Henry Fonda’s turn in Leone’s Once Upon A Time In The West. Co-starring the always wonderful Bernadette Peters, this movie couldn’t get any more funner — or rarer in a theatrical setting, as we present Vigilante Force from an archival print!
Dir. George Armitage, 1976, 16mm, 89 min. (Print courtesy of the Academy Film Archive)

Watch the Cinefamily’s original trailer for “Vigilante Force”!
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