A trip to the bank can be a testing experience at the best of times, having to deal with that smarmy bitch behind the counter when you've forgotten your security number and all that, but middle-aged photographer Franco Nero really gets his Armani knickers in a twist when he finds himself on the wrong end of a Doc Marten during an armed robbery in Vigilante 2! Getting twatted during a bank robbery is really no reason to go completely nuts - I mean it happens to me ever time I turn out - but when the pigs seem more interested in drinking Cappuchino than catching the crooks, Nero knocks his wife about a bit - young enough, needless to say, to be his daughter, befriends a young hoodlum by blackmailing him and goes about catching the bastards by himself!
Now, one could be forgiven for thinking that Vigilante 2 is a "proper" vigilante film - that is, a movie about some dude just going out onto the streets with a formidable arsenal of weapons (guns, flamethrowers, throwing stars, pliers etc) and indiscriminately blowing the shit out of muggers, rapists, drug-dealers, '82-style punk rockers and those smelly bastards asking for cigs in the bus station. But it's not. Instead, Nero has just three villains on his hit-list, which is hardly enough to jam-pack a movie with wall to wall action. Ignoring arms dealers, an entire illegal gambling operation and a gang of Bay-City-Rollers-gone-bad, he spends most of the film making phone calls, taking pictures and driving around looking for crooks from whom he can run away from! Sure, the final moments of the movie are pretty exciting, and pretty damn brutal too, but what about the rest of it?
Vigilante 2 is cheekily packaged to look like the sequel to.... well, the sequel to Vigilante actually, made eight years later starring blaxploitation god Fred Williamson - this even has the same logo on the video box! I mean, what was the last Italian blaxploitation flick you ever saw? Afro-pophagus The Bro'? Don't think so, buddy!
Not only that, but the sleeve is covered in images of shotguns and balaclavas, and the synopsis is even more deceiving. Check this out: "Both barrels, buckshot ripping through their murderous bodies...", "The only way to stop the lousy bastards robbing, killing and maiming!" and "He is going to blast every last one of them apart." What kind of movie do you think that's gonna be? It ain't fucking Bambi, that's for sure!
Don't get me wrong, this is a reasonably good film but I really expected more. In fact, perhaps this has tainted my view of what perhaps would be very enjoyable to those who want something deep and even meaningful from a movie. But Italians have a reputaion for ripping off American exploitation genres, such as Westerns, zombies and Last House.. clones, and somehow making them much more enjoyable. Italian vigilante flicks sound wonderful, and now I feel so disappointed I want to grab my own weapon right now and start shooting in all directions, without a care for whoever cops my ammunition! Take my advice Franco, next time you're pissed off with the rising tide of crime try writing a letter to the local paper instead.
That soft-rock-power-ballad soundtrack doesn't exactly do it any favours, either.
aka Il Cittadino Si Ribella, The Anonymous Avenger, Street Law, The Citizen Rebels, Ein Mann Schlagt Zuruck