Dec 212020

Vigilante is an imperfect but satisfying enough revenge-thriller that greatly excels thanks to its two leads with Robert Forster and Fred Williamson shining bright in their respective storylines and their few scenes together.



— Limited Edition —

Genre(s): Suspense Thriller, Drama, Crime
Blue Underground | NR – 89 min. – $49.95 | December 15, 2020

Date Published: 12/21/2020 | Author: The Movieman

Directed by: William Lustig
Writer(s): Richard Vetere (written by)
Cast: Robert Forster, Fred Williamson, Richard Bright, Rutanya Alda, Willie Colon, Joe Spinell

Features: Audio Commentaries, Interviews, Promotional Material
Slip Cover: Yes
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: 4K, Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 2

Audio (4K/BD): English (Dolby Atmos), English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), English (DTS-HD MA 2.0), French (Dolby Digital 2.0), Italian (Dolby Digital 5.1), German (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Video (4K): 2160p/Widescreen 2.40
Video (BD): 1080p/Widescreen 2.40
Dynamic Range: HDR10, Dolby Vision
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Codecs: HEVC / H.265 (4K), MPEG-4 AVC (BD)
Region(s): A, B, C

Blue Underground provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.

Note: The screen captures in this review were taken from the included Blu-ray disc
and does not represent the quality of the 4K transfer.

THE MOVIE — 3¼/5

Plot Synopsis: New York City factory worker Eddie Marino (ROBERT FORSTER) is a solid citizen and regular guy, until the day a sadistic street gang brutally assaults his wife and murders his child. But when a corrupt judge sets the thugs free, Eddie goes berserk and vows revenge with the help of co-worker Nick (FRED WILLIAMSON) and his group of vigilantes. Now there’s a new breed of marauder loose on the city streets, enforcing their own kind of law. Their justice is swift. Their methods are violent.

Review: Vigilante is one of a string of vigilante revenge films that permeated the 1970s and 1980s in the wake of the success of 1974’s Death Wish starring Charles Bronson. It’s pretty much the gold standard in the genre so obviously why not have a movie simply called Vigilante? Although I have heard of the film in passing over the years, never had the chance to finally check It out.

While I won’t say it holds much of a candle to Death Wish, it’s still a solid flick in its own right thanks in large part to the two stars, Robert Forster and Fred Williamson. For his part, Williamson could’ve easily carried the film on his own, right from his opening monologue (“This is our Waterloo, baby! You want your city back? You gotta take it. Dig it? Take it!”) which is just bad ass and delivered the only way Williamson could. He has a thrilling street chase with a drug dealer which excels almost solely on Williamsons charisma when he finally catches up with the pusher and eventually down the product line to find the drug kingpin and distributing his brand of justice (well, simply a shotgun blast to the chest).

But it helps that the movie also features the late great Robert Forster who has his many wonderful moments including a car chase sequence that attempts to emulate the chase from The French Connection but doesn’t quite, for some reason, the same resonance in comparison (personally, I think the chase in Bullitt is the best chase of all-time).

Vigilante was co-produced and helmed by William Lustig, who is most recognized today as the director behind 1980’s Maniac, made this his follow-up feature. Direction wise, even with the guerilla-like filmmaking, this film was a marked improvement however Maniac is just out there to make it a more memorable venture. And speaking of Maniac, Joe Spinell, the actor who portrayed the titular character, has a small role: pitch perfect as a sleazy defense attorney, though there was plenty of drama behind-the-scenes with Spinell’s increasing usage of drugs and alcohol.



This two disc Limited Edition release comes with a lenticular slip cover and the discs are housed in a clear HD keep case. The inner sleeve is reversible. Inside is a nice essay booklet. Both the 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray discs have bonus features.

Audio Commentaries:

  • Co-Producer/Director William Lustig and Co-Producer Andrew Garroni
  • Co-Producer/Director William Lustig and Actors Robert Forster, Fred Williamson and Frank Pesce
  • Film Historians Troy Howarth and Nathaniel Thompson

This is an excellent array of participants. The first is much more on the production side with the pair recounting filming locales, working with the various cast and crew members. The second track gives the actor’s perspectives with Fred Williamson proving to be one bad ass. The third track is new to this Limited Edition release gives the historian perspective and if you’re a collector, you know Howarth and Thompson and these two work so well together, kind of wish they would come together for a podcast.

Blue Collar Death Wish (24:42) is a new retrospective featurette, a collection of interviews Co-Producer/Director William Lustic, Writer Richard Vetere, Actors Robert Forster, Rutanya Alda and Frank Pesce and Associate Producer/First A.D./Actor Randy Jurgensen.

Urban Western (25:08) — New interview with Composer Jay Chattaway discussing his career as well as his approach to scoring the film.

Promotional Material:

  • Theatrical Trailers (14:40) — Collection of trailers from U.S., International, Britain, Germany, Italy and France. Available to watch with a Play All option or individually.
  • 4 TV Spots (1:50)
  • Radio Spot (0:33)
  • Promotional Reel (3:17)
  • 2 Poster & Stills Galleries



Vigilante comes to 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray courtesy of Blue Underground where it’s presented in its original 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and has been given a new 2160p high-definition transfer and presumably the Blu-ray also got some restoration over the release from 2010. In any case, the 4K picture does look glorious, detail is incredibly well defined and colors absolutely brilliant, in keeping with the time period. I have to assume this movie has never looked better, including at the theater as this is free of artifacting, aliasing, dust marks, scratches or other flaws. I did do a quick comparison with the Blu-ray and although it is missing the fine grain and noise, it too is fantastic so I think this is a solid upgrade over the old Blu-ray.

AUDIO – 4½/5

Both discs comes with a heavy and strong Dolby Atmos track (along with DTS-HD MA 5.1 and 2.0 options) and this was surprisingly effective for a lower budget picture from the early 80s. Dialogue comes across with great clarity and I discerned no pops, hissing or white noise. The Atmos track is very well engaged here, ambient noises come across the rear channels quite nicely, but where this comes to life is with the LFE channel, some key bass kicks on for that extra measure of intensity for key scenes.


OVERALL – 4½/5

Vigilante is an imperfect but satisfying enough revenge-thriller that greatly excels thanks to its two leads with Robert Forster and Fred Williamson shining bright in their respective storylines and their few scenes together, though Williamson is so good, kind of wish the film completely revolved around his bad-ass character. This 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray combo pack released by Blue Underground showcases incredible video/audio transfers along with a good selection of bonus features.





Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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