19 September, 2007

Killer Films

Slate:

"Why the new vigilante movies are a lot like the old vigilante movies."

"Revenge: Where would the movies be without it? The hero's quest for personal justice has fueled plenty of high drama and even more lowbrow cinema. This is especially true of 1970s vigilante films. In these movies, an individual at odds with "the system" does what that system cannot: take revenge on specific criminals or crime in general for the wrongs done to him (occasionally her), his family, his community. This means mustering rage and weaponry, from socks stuffed with quarters to .32 revolvers to grenade launchers (and that's just in the Death Wish series).

In recent years, a similar body of films has emerged. This trend includes modern day B-movies (
A Man Apart, Four Brothers), comic-book adaptations (The Punisher, Batman Begins), remakes (Man on Fire, Walking Tall), and even Oscar-bait (Munich). Reaching a brutal climax in the last few weeks with the releases of Death Sentence and The Brave One, this cycle proves that vengeance is back with, well, a vengeance, and that the two eras parallel each other like twin dark alleys in the American imagination."

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