Vigilante Force/Review

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< Vigilante Force

Elk Hills, California is awash in oil money, but the oilfield trash is running amok. The lure of fast money has drawn in a host of swindlers, hijackers, prostitutes, and gamblers. After a daylight attempted armed robbery, a car chase, and a deadly shootout the town leaders meet with Sheriff Lee to insist that he bring in outside help to help clean up their small community. Despite the Sheriff's reluctance, four men including the mayor convince him that Ben Arnold's (Jan-Michael Vincent) brother, Aaron (Kris Kristofferson) is the only man tough enough to handle the job.


Once Ben persuades Aaron to move back home as a strong arm against the ensuing anarchy, Aaron rounds up his Vietnam war buddies and commences to kick ass! It doesn't take long before Aaron has seized the opportunity to fill the void with his own roadhouse (replete with gambling, prostitutes, and drugs) and his "deputies" go into the protection business. Before long, Ben realizes that his brother has simply replaced the bad men rather than run them out. With little success, he attempts to give his brother a chance. After Aaron's plot to rob the oil company's payroll is discovered by Sheriff Lee, Aaron handles it by shooting him in cold blood and dumping him in a nearby creek. With the town's mayor completely oblivious to Aaron's criminal activity, Ben decides to take matters into his own hands and pushes his brother into an explosive final feud to settle their life-long rivalry.


Vigilante Force is a bit of a surprise. The production value is good, which also gives the film a slick "made for TV" feel. The characters and sets are reminiscent of an extended episode of Rockford Files with cameos by all your favorite characters from the Dukes of Hazard. Despite this aura, the film plays well. While most of the violence is implied, the context of the killings adds some surprising twists throughout. Many of the characters you think will survive to see the happy ending actually become fodder for Aaron's gun.


In addition, Vigilante Force hosts a young Victoria Principle and an uncredited appearance of an extremely young Loni Anderson as well as Bernadette Peters. Hey, it's only exploitation! The film also gains credibility from its producer, Gene Corman, who preceded his brother in the business--Roger Corman. In addition, the film is written and directed by George Armitage who directed 1972's Hit Man and Private Duty Nurses (1971).

In all, Vigilante Force delivers fights, gun battles, bar brawls, a cockfight, and school yard drug sales! If you keep your expectations low, this is a highly enjoyable film.

Reviewed by Texploited

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