What’s your New Year’s resolution? Mine is to get back at EVERYONE who has done me wrong! OK, maybe not, but doesn’t that sound good? I mean “revenge, like Sauvignon Blanc, is a dish best served ice cold.”
Or, as my friend Bill Shakespeare said: “If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge?”
OK, take a deep breath…then reflect on a more peaceful 2013, as we dive into the top ten revenge films!
Oldboy. I’ve written about this many times already – the consummate revenge story. A drunken businessman is held captive in a hotel room…for 15 years! One day, the door opens, and one man’s ballpeen hammer-fueled quest for answers begins! A tough tough classic movie!
The Toxic Avenger – The Japanese Cut!
You know the story: a nerd is tossed in nuclear waste and emerges as New Jersey’s first super hero! Thank you Lloyd Kaufman for making Troma America’s longest lasting independent studio! “Let’s make some ART!”. And just released, the never- seen japanese cut! Go get it, and the Tox Box too!
Ms. 45. 1981. OK, this is a tough one – be warned! As Amazon says: “A young, voluptuous New York City woman is intensely shy and unable to speak. Her naive beauty provokes the aggressive attention of all men. One evening while walking home, she is assaulted at gunpoint and brutally raped by two thugs. Her enormous fears, which had driven her inward before, now push her to an outward course of action. After killing one of her assailants, she cuts his body into pieces and disposes of the parts, one by one, at various spots in Manhattan. She carries her dead assailant’s .45 automatic, initially for protection, but ultimately for unrelenting revenge against all males. Men, keep your legs crossed for this frightfully erotic thriller that delves into the life of a nubile young maiden out for blood.” This is one of the last great grindhouse classics!
Hi, Bruce! Remember how his classic yellow jump suit got “homaged” by Quentin Tarantino?
In honor of his latest revenge classic, “Django Unchained”, here is Uma out for revenge!
Kill Bill 1 & 2 – Four years after taking a bullet in the head at her own wedding, The Bride (Uma Thurman) emerges from a coma and decides it’s time for payback … with a vengeance! Having been gunned down by her former boss (David Carradine) and his deadly squad of international assassins, it’s a kill-or-be-killed fight she didn’t start but is determined to finish! This film announced the triumphant return of Quentin Tarantino, who offered up Uma Thurman as a modern day killing machine – and in the service of revenge! I ate dinner atht erestaurant in Tokyo where one of the climactic battles was filmed, and they have Um’as iconic eyllow bodysuit, which was of course taken directly from Bruce Lee’s “Enter The Dragon!” Which is, by the way, ANOTHER great revenge flick!
Thriller. 1974. I’ve written about this grindhouse classic before. It was also known as “They Call Her One Eye”, for reasons you will soon see…
Growing up mute after a childhood sexual assault, a young girl (played by beautiful cult starlet Christina Lindberg) spends years working on a remote farm. After missing the bus one day, she is picked up by a suave young man who takes her out to dinner, drugs her and forces her into a life of drug addiction and prostitution. After trying to rebel against her captor, Christina has one of her eyes gouged out as punishment (in a scene rumored to have been filmed with an actual corpse). But revenge is coming…in fact, this was originally released in the US as “They Call Her One-Eye!” They definitely should call her out for revenge, as she hunts down everyone who wronged her. Grindhouse lives!
Hang ’em High. 1968. They riddled him with bullets. They strung him up. They left him to die. But they made two fatal mistakes: they hanged the wrong man…and they didn’t finish the job. In his first American-made western, Clint Eastwood indelibly carves his niche as the quintessential tough guy…cool-headed, iron-willed and unrelenting in his pursuit of revenge. As Clint says – as he is pointing a gun at a guy and pulling his bandana down to reveal an angry welt across his neck – “when you hang a man, make sure he’s dead!” Yes, indeed!
Ichi the Killer. 2003. Welcome to a world where violence is a virtue and depravity is a way of life. Welcome to the world of Takashi Miike, one of the most original, bold and over-the-top Directors currently working in Japa. “This is the underside of Shinjuku, and the home of Kakihara, a sadistic yakuza killer. He relentlessly tears apart the underworld searching for the man who killed his boss. The mastermind behind the plot is Jijii, an ex-cop bent on turning the gangsters of Japan against one another. His trump card is a physically powerful lunatic who is constantly on the verge of snapping. This madman is Ichi the Killer, and between him and Kakihara, the streets will run red with blood.”
Got that? Doesn’t matter, this movie is crazy, so do yourself a favor and dip into Miike here! If you are afraid, check out last year’s “13 Assassins” – ALSO by Miike, whcih is also a great revenge film! Either way, it is time to get your Miike on!
Dead Man’s Shoes. 2004. A little-seen but fantastic English thriller about a hotwired ex-soldier (co-scripter Paddy Considine) who returns to his sleepy Irish village to dole out merciless revenge upon the booze- and drug-sodden hoodlums who abused his mentally handicapped younger brother. Director Shane Meadows (Once Upon a Time in the Midlands) doesn’t shy away from delivering scenes of gripping suspense and violence, but the end result hews closer to an ambiguous meditation on the nature and effect of vengeance a la Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs than a Death Wish-style grindhouse effort. Speaking of Death Wish…
Death Wish. 1974. This is the “Godfather of Payback”…a controversial, 1974 drama that exploited urban paranoia and presents vigilantism as cathartic release. A mild-mannered New Yorker turns violent vigilante after a horrific crime strikes his family, and who runs afoul of the law while taking it into his own hands. Charles Bronson stars as the vengeance-seeking urban warrior who goes on a punk-killing spree after his wife and daughter are attacked by intruders. Watch for a very young Jeff Goldblum–in this, his second movie–as one of the assailants of Bronson’s loved ones.
There you go, let me know what you think!!!!
Categories: 70's Cinema, Books / Media, Extreme Asian Cinema, Film Noir, Foreign Films, Grindhouse, Horror films, Japanese Sexploitation Movies, Movies, Obscure Movies, Revenge Movies, Sexploitation Movies, Tokyo!, Troma Films