The Exterminator (1980)

Director: James Glickenhaus
Starring: Robert Ginty, Christopher George, Samantha Eggar, Steve James. USA. 1h 39m

Sometimes a bit of vigilante justice is glorious to watch and you don’t need to be Charlie B or Van Michael to wake a city up. In Glickenhaus’s blood action thriller, a once kind and quiet man turns full on Rambo when his friend is attacked and crippled by a bunch of goons, but getting revenge on them just isn’t enough; he’s not going to give up until all the streets are clean.

John Eastman (Ginty) doesn’t look like the human terminator that he turns out to be, the retro Russell Crow is all about the good things in life, years after being exposed to the horrors of Nam he’s just the average Joe, until provoked and he brings Nam to NYC.

A one man army. A new kind of soldier in a new kind of war

The film isn’t a commentary of mindless violence, but when it gets gritty it really does swing an ugly and dangerous bat, there’s people being fed into meat grinders, and the trademark flamethrower crispy death scenes. It’s something that could have gotten real video nasty in the right hands. But exterminator it way more than just another exploitation film, and being one of the early voices to the damaging effects of the war without the moniker of PTSD being uttered, it spread a message which is still relevant today.

If you’re lying, I’ll be back.

– John Eastman

We have to assume that once the blood has been shed and the tables levelled that our hero bad guy killer is just going to go back to a peaceful life, but there’s a sequel and in my honest opinion there should have been a lot more.

TLDR:

Rating: 7/10

Related: Exterminator 2 (1984), Stone (1991), The Soldier (1982), Shakedown (1988), Defiance (1980), Deathwish (1974), Punisher (1989)

Lists: Best Friends Revenge

Trailer

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