Saturday, May 28, 2011

May 28 - Vigilante Cop

The cover of my VHS copy of Vigilante Cop

Vigilante Cop (1991)

Director: Mel Damski
Format: VHS (VM Distribution)

Vigilante Cop. It's a promising title, but one that comes with expectations of something a bit grittier and more action-packed than the TV movie that is attached to it. The more appropriate title is the one it had when it originally showed on TV - Shoot First: A Cop's Vengeance.

Farrell Tucker (Dale Midkiff, PET SEMETARY) and Stephen Smith (Alex McArthur, the DESPERADO series of TV movies) are two rookie police officer buddies patrolling the mean streets of San Antonio, Texas. Smith is idealistic to a fault, but soon finds that life on patrol isn't as black and white as he thought it would be.

When a street thug escapes justice on a technicality, he starts taking matters into his own hands as his world unravels. Now the titular vigilante cop, Smith kills off those who escape justice while becoming paranoid and alienating those close to him, leading to a climactic showdown with his best buddy (foreshadowed in an opening scene).

Let's be clear. This isn't an action movie. There are a few shootings and one explosion, but in essence it's about the breakdown in the relationship between the two friends. And remember, it's a TV movie so don't expect any nudity or gore.

The supporting cast is solid. Terry O'Quinn (THE STEPFATHER) is a police sergeant who first suspects a vigilante is at work, Dan Bell (one of Wayne's and Garth's stoner buddies in WAYNE'S WORLD) is a street criminal, Jeremy Davies (RAVENOUS) is briefly on screen as a punk, Bruce McGill (ANIMAL HOUSE, MACGYVER) is a crooked cop and Loryn Locklin (Christopher Lambert's wife in FORTRESS) is a diner waitress who falls in love with and marries Smith.

Fans of TV movie melodrama might find Vigilante Cop worth watching (if they can get their hands on it - it hasn't been released on DVD), but otherwise it's safe to give this one a miss.

Previews on my VHS tape: The Fatal Image, Captive, Immortal Sins.

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