Vigilante (1983) – Headhunter Smashers

Vigilante (1983) - Poster DVD cover artwork headhunters gang memeber

In good old depressing 80’s action revenge style you know what to expect from this here movie. Like Death Wish, you know what’s coming but unlike Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson) having to go it alone on his one man bad guy mashing mission our Vigilante hero Eddie Marion (Robert Forster) gets a little help from the neighbourhood fixers.

Tagline – If the law won’t get them… we will!

Vigilante (1983) - fred williamson & Robert Forster jail timeVigilante (1983) - Richard Bright Joseph Carberry

Cigar chomping Nick (Fred Williamson) and two of his work buddies Burke (Richard Bright) and Ramon (Joseph Carberry) like nothing more than rolling out their 1979 Ford Econoline and grabbing a few perpetrators off the streets and dish the law out to them via baseball bat and fists. Leaving an inept police force behind, this gang of street cleaners enlist the help of the neighbours to report any lawlessness.

Vigilante (1983) - fred williamson talk motivation

Nick – “because you know the punks and scum are out there on the streets when the sun goes down, and our own government can’t protect its own people, then I say this, you got a moral obligation, the right of self-preservation. Now, you can run, you can hide, or you can start to live like human beings again. This is our Waterloo, baby! You want your city back? You gotta take it. Dig it? Take it!”

The main vicious gang on the block of this slum area of New York is the murderous Headhunters, lead by Frederico “Rico” Melendez (Willie Colon) and his second in command, the depraved Prago (Don Blakely).

Vigilante (1983) - headhunters car gang membersVigilante (1983) - headhunter leader rico willie colon

Can the friends clean up the streets and can Eddie somehow get some closure to his nightmare and seek the revenge he needs?

Tagline – If the law won’t get them… we will!

Vigilante (1983) - fred williamson fighting kicking gang

All in all this is a well made movie and has all the right elements for a real classic but doesn’t quite pull it off, it’s ace though. Massive plus points go to the cameo of Woody Strode as the old prisoner Rake who keeps a helping fist or two out for Eddie during a classic prison fixture, the “don’t” drop the soap moment.

Vigilante (1983) - Woody Strode & Robert Forster jail time

The car chase through the city slums and streets might not be no French Connection but it’s frilling and amazing looking at New York in the early 80’s. A tasty selection of cars are used too, which include a Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu and a Datsun 280z 2+2.

Vigilante (1983) - car chase through slums new york city

The soundtrack score composed by Jay Chattaway goes from the mega cheesy melancholy to Nuyorican salsa to pure analogue synthesizer bass madness, especially awesome is when it hits at the beginning of when Nick drops down in a kung-fu move and starts to chase a gang member through a derelict outdoor swimming pool.

Vigilante (1983) - fred williamson kungfu fighting graff

Fun Fact – Bad Rico is played by Willie Colon a famous is a famous salsa latin jazz trombonist who played with the Fania All-Stars and still plays on many big named performing acts. His music features a few times through-out the background of the film. Pretty much whenever Rico turns up a Willie Colon tune gets played.

You gotta check out this excellent bad ass trailer….. Keep it cool and watch movies.. Mikey Wolfman.

Vigilante (1983) IMDB


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