22 May 2015 | Michael_Elliott
They Certainly Don't Make 'Em Like This Anymore
Fight for Your Life (1977)
*** (out of 4)
Downright insane exploitation film has three convicts (a white, Asian and a Hispanic) breaking free from a van carrying them to prison where they're about to serve life sentences. They end up at the house of a black preacher and his family who they take hostage and abuse.
FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE is the type of exploitation film that certainly wouldn't be made today and when you really think about it it's actually hard to believe that anyone would have produced this even in 1977. This film has a rather notorious reputation and this is one rare case where the film actually lives up to the hype. Many people have called this another cash-in on Wes Craven's THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT and while there are a few minor connections there's no question that this thing takes on a life of its own.
This is without question one of the most racist movies that you're ever going to see. The white leader Kane (William Sanderson) is quite evil from start to finish but he gets a sadistic kick out of picking on the black family and making them feel less than human. There are countless racist names being thrown at the family but some of the harshest things to watch in the film isn't the violence but instead it's the father (Robert Judd) being humiliated in front of his family. Being forced to dance and call Kane "master" are just a few of the racist scenes that play out in front of your eyes. In all honesty, I'm really surprised that they were able to find actors willing to put up with this.
The performance are pretty much split down the line but none of them are horrible enough to take you out of the picture. Sanderson easily steals the picture as the racist nut who is constantly shouting and humiliating people at every move. There's not a single second where you feel like you're not watching a real wacko and this certainly helps sell the movie. Judd is also good in the movie and manages to present a very stern performance. Lela Small has some unintentional hilarious moments as the grandma in the wheelchair who is constantly getting fed up with the comments.
Is FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE a good movie? I guess that will depend on your definition of what a good movie is. It's certainly not an Oscar-caliber picture but it wasn't meant to be. If you're looking for something trashy, downright dirty and sleazy then the film certainly succeeds at that. FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE is one bizarre exploitation film that manages to entertain and shock.