Eternal Vigilance

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John Eastland (Robert Ginty) and Michael Jefferson (Steve James) are best friends who survived a harrowing tour of duty in Vietnam, and now live quiet, happy lives working at a New York brewery…until they catch a street gang (the Ghetto Ghouls) stealing beer. Together they made short work of the ghouls, but later the Ghouls catch Michael alone and beat him to within an inch of his life. Eastland uses his military skills to seek revenge on the Ghouls…that alone would make a good action picture…but that’s only the beginning. Eastland becomes the Exterminator, a vigilante who takes on not only street criminals but mobsters…and a Senator with a seriously disturbing predilection. Eastland dispatches the bastards with a brutal ingenuity usually reserved for slasher movies…but he’s not a psycho, at least not in the conventional sense…he has compassion for innocents and victims…but no mercy for the merciless. There was no shortage of vigilante films in the 70’s and 80’s (Dirty Harry, Death Wish etc.) but The Exterminator really stands out, not just for its unflinching, vicious brilliance, but for its heart and its realism…you really feel Eastland’s terror, sorrow and rage…it’s an indelible experience. Oh, and heads up, jazz fans: Stan Getz plays Battery Park in it. That’s the beauty of B-movies…you never know who’ll show up…

 

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