Eight years ago, Tiger Sharp (Michael Sopkiw) was imprisoned for the murder of a violent criminal, and being a cop he was arrested for going too far even though the man he killed had murdered his wife. To make matters worse, there was a politician associate of the dead man who provided him with an alibi, so Tiger was trapped - but now he's out, and illegally receiving a high-tech rifle with which to exact his revenge. However, once he has the politician in his sights, he cannot bring himself to pull the trigger, and he lets him get away, thinking that perhaps it is time to put violence behind him at last...
Well, it wouldn't be much of an action movie if that were the case, and not just any action movie but an Italian action movie, which meant things going boom and bullets flying without much rhyme or reason other than the sake of something happening to prevent the audience from getting bored. Although Blastfighter (it was stuck with this title after its original plans to be a sci-fi epic fell through) begins as a police thriller, it doesn't stay that way and soon Tiger is out in the American backwoods hoping for a life of peace and quiet. Except the locals have other ideas, being the sort of rednecks who are borderline insane about outsiders.
That in spite of Tiger having been brought up in the region, but as this was Italian exploitation we were dealing with, it had to be, shall we say, drawing its influences from other sources, in this case Deliverance. Director Lamberto Bava even went as far as casting the banjo playing boy Billy Redden from that movie for a cameo, now grown up but still with the banjo, only here Bava had his mind on another hit of more recent vintage. That was First Blood, so before long Tiger was turning survivalist and arming himself against an army of good ol' boys who are determined to shoot him dead, apparently for the heinous crime of not being from around here. A complication enters the mix when his daughter Connie (Valentina Forte) shows up looking for reconciliation.
She's also there to be placed in peril thanks to the preponderance of outright psychopaths in the area, although who is that hoving into view but our old friend George Eastman? He plays an old pal of Tiger's who is more involved with the maniacs (but of course), though operates as an attempt at a voice of reason when events grow more dangerous. This means a campaign of intimidation against Tiger, such as when he saved a faun from hunters (does this mean they were ripping off Bambi, too?) and left it in his car when he went off to the store to buy milk for it, then returned to find it with its throat cut. He can stand up for himself, of course, and beats up the nasties immediately after, which as you can imagine does not endear him any further to them.
Which leads us to the main course, not venison but humble pie for the rednecks who after cutting the brakes in Tiger's car while he tries to drive Connie back to civilisation are then the target of his wrath. But even then they're trying to hunt him down through the forests, as the survivalist clichés come into play, though they don't usually involve cars and trucks which explode when they recieve a light tap on the bumper - car lovers would see Blastfighter as some kind of horror movie as vehicles are demolished with wild abandon. Anyway, after the baddies shoot Connie's two friends and try to rape her, not necessarily in that order, Tiger leaps into the fray and rescues her, cue for some father/daughter bonding as finally he can admit that he loves her and so forth. Pity, that, in light of what happens next, but all the way through you'll be wondering why he doesn't simply get out his megagun, or at least do so earlier than the last ten minutes. When he does, naturally all hell breaks loose, which if you've lasted this far will be what you wanted to see all along. Music by Guido and Maurizio De Angelis.
Italian director/producer and son of legendary horror auteur Mario Bava. Began working as an assistant to his father on productions such as Planet of the Vampires and Baron Blood, and co-wrote Mario's final film Shock. Made his directing debut in 1980 with the effective chiller Macabre, which were followed by exploitation favourites A Blade in the Dark, Blastfighter, Delirium and two gore-laden Demons movies, both produced by Dario Argento. Bava's subsequent work has largely been for Italian TV, his last theatrical film being 1991's duff Body Puzzle.