20 December 2016 | lost-in-limbo
Fighting for one's turf
This is one of those type of films that flooded the market in the early-to-mid-eighties, which had an army veteran taking on some local thugs terrorising his neighbourhood, after he witnesses a murder in a diner. Sadly there's nothing new here. The same old set-up, but feebly done and not all that involving. Interesting cast works in its favour, but the support players Pam Grier (who had the most resourceful character) and James Keach (at the opposite end of the spectrum) can only do so much. Charles Durning is in the lead. Solid choice; but in saying that, there are too many implausible moments, which makes him stick out like a sore thumb. Not his portrayal, but what it psychically asked from him. I'll tell you he looks much leaner in that movie poster. Just wait around for the barnstorming climax... I found myself chuckling more so often than feeling anything truly threatening and tension induced. Like the phone booth scene. Everything moves at snail's pace and that includes some of Dunning's actions when coming up against these professional gangland killers. While the script might have social commentary evident and be familiarly dramatic, it just wasn't brought across all that convincingly and felt ham-fisted.