Fighting Back

1982

Action / Crime / Drama / Thriller

5
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 20% · 5 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 47% · 50 ratings
IMDb Rating 6.0/10 10 776 776

Director

Top cast

Pat Cooper as Harry Janelli
Tom Skerritt as John D'Angelo
Patti LuPone as Lisa D'Angelo
David Rasche as Michael Taylor
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU 720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
882.55 MB
1280*692
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 36 min
Seeds 3
1.6 GB
1920*1038
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 36 min
Seeds 7
882.82 MB
1280*694
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 36 min
Seeds 1
1.6 GB
1920*1040
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 36 min
Seeds 3

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by goods116 5 / 10

5.8 rating about right...wanted to like this more, but movie is aimless

I love these 1970s and early 80s gritty movies, and in this regard, the film delivers. The large old American cars, the street scenery, the police, etc. all has that feel that you don't get in today's movie. But overall, the film fails to deliver. By the middle of the movie I was starting to get bored waiting for something more interesting to happen. Much of the movie is also unrealistic. The police seem virtually non-existent, which is not genuine (even if the point is that a neighborhood watch is needed). The rivalry with the pimp also made no sense, there were a series of meetings which just did not flow with the plot. Overall, you are unlikely to be very satisfied with this film, although it is reasonably watchable. This is why the rating is in the 5-6 range and the film remains obscure. The few reviewers who gave it an 8 to 10 rating are waaaaaaay over-rating the movie and do not know what a true 9 or 10 movie is (in my view, only 4-6 movies a year can really be called a 9 or 10).

Reviewed by IonicBreezeMachine 5 / 10

It may only exists due to De Laurentis' Seller's Remorse over the Death Wish rights, but I far prefer this to the actual Death Wish II

In a crime ridden area of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Italian-American delicatessen owner John D'Angelo (Tom Skerritt) is a family man with an expectant wife, Lisa (Patti LuPone), and young son Danny (Jonathan Adam Sherman). Following an incident where a pimp attacks them causing Lisa to suffer a miscarriage and another incident where John's mother Vera (Gina DeAngelis) is mugged in a drugstore, John organizes other citizens of his area to form a neighborhood watch called The People's Neighborhood Patrol (PNP) which takes direct action on criminals in the areas through citizen's arrests. While John attains respect and prestige in the community because of his actions, he is also looked upon unfavorably by elements of City Hall and prominent members of the black community such as Ivanhoe Washington (Yaphet Kotto) who runs a group similar to John's.

During the Dino De Laurentis' sale of the rights to the Brian Garfield novel Death Wish and its characters to Cannon Films, De Laurentis briefly discussed with director Michael Winner the prospect of him directing the Death Wish sequel under him instead of Golan and Globus, when Winter refused De Laurentis proceeded with the sale of the rights but also produced his own vigilante film as a direct clone of Death Wish. The end result was Fighting Back which was released about three months after Death Wish II, and despite coming from Paramount, a larger studio than Cannon, and sporting the writers of films such as Straw Dogs and Monte Walsh, Fighting Back didn't even manage to recoup its $9 million budget in the United States with Death Wish II bringing in three times its gross. The moviehas fallen into obscurity in the years since and critical reception was rather tepid upon initial release (though somewhat better than Death Wish II if not by much). Despite the movie being made purely out of Dino De Laurentis regretting selling the Death Wish rights, Fighting Back is less ugly and reprehensible than Death Wish II.

Like every other vigilante movie that followed on from Death Wish the movie hits all the marks to a "t". Everyman suffers a wrong or wrongs that motivates him to take justice into his own hands? Check. Police are inept giving excuses like "we don't have the manpower" but become mobilized as an antagonistic force against our protagonist? Check. Man on the Street/News reports paying lip service to a "debate" about pros and cons of vigilantism? Kind of. The one point in Fighting Back's favor is that it does at least seem aware of the inherent racism of the wish fulfillment aspect of vigilante stories and Yaphet Kotto's Ivanhoe Washington does serve as something of a counterpoint to John's Anthony Imperiale-esque antics so at least it is addressing some of the beneath the surface problems that give rise to urban blight rather than boiling it down to "good guy with gun takes down bad guys with guns". I also commend the film for not including any of the lurid sexual violence Death Wish II used such as the prolonged rape scene where I character who vocally believed in "the system" is violently stripped nude and assaulted as the camera lingered on every part of her anatomy. Fighting Back largely avoids the more lurid traps of this genre so I also have to commend it on that point. Aside from that though, it's just another vigilante movie. Despite the movie trying to add some semblance of credibility by showing stock footage of the Reagan and Pope John Paul II assignation attempts or Yaphet Kotto being a foil to Skerritt's John D'Angelo the way the movie ends does feel like it celebrates John's actions down to the over the top happy scene at the now cleaned up park where children are having a snowball fight.

There's nothing all that much to Fighting Back other than to say "it's not hateful like Death Wish II". It still celebrates vigilantism and makes excuses for it and it follows most of the major points established by Death Wish even if it doesn't go into as much gory detail with it. It's violent stupid wish fulfillment, but at least it's somewhat aware of it and does have some amusing moments that aren't drowned in excessive sadism.

Reviewed by lost-in-limbo 7 / 10

"Remember this business is all about favours."

Oh here we go again, another low-budget vigilante feature of someone trying to make a difference. Actually I enjoy these types of features, no matter how well-worn or rancid they can be. However "Fighting Back" was a surprisingly effective if mildly realistic piece (up until a point), while not always fulfilling it did provoke some harsh and lasting set-pieces with a barnstorming performance by Tom Skerritt. It kind of crosses paths with films such as; "Death Wish" (1974), "Boardwalk" (1979) and "Vigilante" (1983). While scathingly violent and exploitative, its messages are obvious (especially the use of Yaphet Kotto's pointless character) and ambitiously put across with a multi-facet bunch of central characters that are thoroughly illustrated and this helps make the situations deliver on the impact. There's a lot more food for thought here, but it kind of over does towards the end.

After an incident involving a pimp and his elderly mother ending up injured in a hold up, John D'Angelo finally has had enough of the crime suffocating his community. With the support of friends and neighbours he organises the People's Neighbourhood Patrol to protect their lifestyles. Dressed up in uniforms (caps, bubble vests and wooden bats) and their own patrol car ("Ghostbusters" anyone?). The only way to do it is to fight fire with fire, but still staying in the boundaries of the law. This gets on the nerves of the local police, upsets worried politicians and only aggravates the street gangs, especially the pimp he crossed paths with.

What starts off basic, than moves away into political territory and the problems that face the D'Angelo character (things getting out of hand). Where soon he becomes self-obsessed and pinned-down with his campaign, where judgements are clouded, hot-headed confrontations erupt and his wife's (Patti LuPone) well-being for her family is discarded. Skerritt's character is not particularly sympathetic either, as from what he's doing he becomes news --- popularity sky rockets --- a people's hero --- why not run for office. So he does. Michael Sarrazin is excellent in the role as D'Angelo's friend, who just happens to be a cop. Sarrazin's character is much more agreeable in his motives.

Director Lewis Teague ("Alligator (1980)", "Cujo (1983)") does a respectably stark and gritty job capturing the urban decay and crime-riddled environment. There's a tit for tat structure to the group doing their rounds, but the constant beatings are excitingly gripping ""Nobody laughs at my momma!". There's one sequence where a fast food outlet owner just happens to have a battle axe(!?) stored away, when D'Angelo comes a knocking. The pacing is rapid and some scenes are highly charged, although the ending (D'Angelo and the Pimp) does feel so anti-climatic.

"Fighting Back" has its feet in both camps; exploitative but also contemplative.

Read more IMDb reviews

1 Comment

Be the first to leave a comment