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Vigilante (1983) Movie Review Summary

Actors: Robert Forster, Fred Williamson

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Vigilante (1983)


This is a movie about people trying to take the law into their own hands in order to feel safe again on the streets of New York that is invaded by various gangs and the specific problems that come with them. The protagonist, Eddie Marino, lives and works in New York City. He is married and has a son about 4-5 years old. One of his friends from work, Nick, is leading a small but effective movement comprising some of his coworkers and other concerned citizens. Their goal is to retake the streets from crime gangs and cut down the crime rate making people feel safe again in their own neighborhoods since the police is understaffed and outnumbered and thus rendered ineffective. They do this mostly by violent means bringing swift justice for people who have been wronged and failed by the law.
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When Rico, the leader of a Puerto Rican street gang attacks a gas station worker Vickie, Eddie Marino's wife intervenes and even slaps him in the face. Since the police happened to drive by the gang didn't have any other choice but to flee the scene. Not much later though they come by her house to show her who's boss. When Eddie comes home from work he finds the police and the ambulance present. His child was shot dead and his wife viciously stabbed and left for dead. Against the odds she lives but she has to remain in the hospital for a long period of time.

Nick tries to convince Eddie that he can help bring justice for this terrible crime and urges him to fight back hard. Eddie chooses to let the law handle it and goes to the District Attorney's office. The Puerto Rican crime boss, Rico, is arrested and brought to trial. His lawyer is very good though since this is not the first time he helped criminals stay out of jail and by some technicalities he manages to get only two years suspended. Outraged by the fact that Rico will not even go to jail for murdering his little kid and almost killing his wife Eddie makes a big scene attacking the judge that sends him to jail for 30 days.

Meanwhile Nick and his men keep cleaning up the streets. Particularly they want to get rid of the drugs that are sold everywhere, especially to teenagers. So they go up the food chain in order to catch the big boss. First they beat up good a street dealer that finally tells them his supplier is one Horace the pimp that drives a silver Cadillac who apparently runs more than one business. One night they chase him through the streets until they push his car out of the road and it crashes. They pull him out of the car and after some more “convincing”, although afraid for his life, he gives them the name of the true boss, Thomas Stokes, an Italian businessman who everybody thought was dirty but could not prove it. Nick takes it to the next level and on another night shoots Thomas and his driver dead.

After a pretty rough month in prison where he almost got raped, Eddie finally gets out with one thing in mind: justice for his son's murder. So the first thing he does is go to Nick and ask for his help. Nick and a couple other guys take him to Rico who is staying at his girlfriend's. They bust down the door and Eddie shoots Rico dead, but not before he learns that it was actually Prago, another one of his gang, that killed Eddie's son. Then he goes to the hospital to visit his wife but she is so upset that wants nothing to do with him. So he goes home and packs his things to move to another city which might be safer, even if Nick asks him to remain there and join their fight so they can make this city safer.

While driving away, at a crosswalk he runs by coincidence into Prago, his son's murderer. At first he doesn't recognize him but when he does, he gets out of the car and starts chasing him. After a long and furious chase he finally catches him, up on an industrial platform, grabs him and throws him down, killing him. As a final act of his revenge he sets up some explosive in the car of the judge that let Rico walk free and blows him up.
Best part of story, including ending: I liked the feeling of seeing a lot of bad guys getting what was coming to them after the horrible acts they pulled.

Best scene in story: It was very inspiring for me when Eddie almost got raped in the prison shower and his cell neighbor intervened and saved him. I think it shows there still are good guys, even in prison, especially since he had nothing to gain by protecting Eddie.

Opinion about the main character: What I liked the most about Eddie was the fact that he did not cower in fear but instead fought for his family and tried to move on with his life.

The review of this Movie prepared by Andreea Lupei a Level 5 American Goldfinch scholar

Script Analysis of Vigilante (1983)

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book Actual chase scenes or violence 50%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 30%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 20% Time/Era of Movie:    -   1980's-1999 Crime & Police Story?    -   Yes Crime story:    -   vigilante hunting down criminal(s) Criminal enemy is...    -   drug dealers

Main Character

Identity:    -   Male Profession/status:    -   blue collar worker Age:    -   40's-50's Nudity    -   Chest and Buttocks Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American) Unusual characteristics    -   Extremely cynical or arrogant

Setting

United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast Misc setting    -   building

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   gory visuals of deaths Sex/nudity in movie?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   kissing    -   seeing breasts    -   seeing nude female butt    -   seeing nude male butt Kind of violence:    -   hand to hand Unusual forms of death    -   dropped from large heights Any profanity?    -   Some foul language Lot of special effects?    -   Yes Kinds of F/X    -   exploding vehicles    -   exploding bombs

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