Like most people, I ran across this film with the wrong expectations. In Germany, "Self Defense" was marketed under the name "New York 1991", possibly due to the fact that most Germans had no idea where Nova Scotia was in the first place, but certainly with the intention of buying into the near-future-thriller-fad of the time ("Escape from New York", "Class of 1984"). This is what I expected but this isn't what I got: So, it's the near future: the police-force in some big city is on strike and posses of self-appointed vigilantes roam the streets. Presumably as it would happen in our modern times, their first target is a gay club, where they off the patrons executioner style. One person is able to escape and finds refuge in a household consisting of handicapped residents and lovable weirdos, who become the next target of the vigilantes. The supposed "victims" must now kill or be killed.
Despite having been filmed on a shoestring budget, the film has more atmosphere than your average Hollywood thriller. That's partly due to the claustrophobic settings, decaying buildings and dark alleyways but mainly it's the chemistry between the actors that makes this film so enjoyable.
Special credit should go to Doug Lennox, who plays Cabe, the ice-cold leader of the vigilantes. His stern, chiselled features can give you the creeps, spelling out mayhem and doom for all crossing his path. Once seen, never forgotten – at least, when I saw him as bartender in "X-Men" ("are you gonna order something or will you stick with water?"), I found myself muttering, "hey, that's Cabe! Long time no see, you vicious b***rd").
The killing of various characters – be they good guys or bad guys – is generally rather harsh and imaginative. By imaginative, I don't mean "Saw"-imaginative or overly gory but rather often painfully realistic. Indeed, not only does the realistic approach makes us feel for the good guys even more but by showing destruction of human life in such cold, realistic fashion, doesn't glorify death, unlike your typical Sly n' Arnie actioners.
Highly recommendable for fans of hard action who have no need for big names or big explosions and a small classic in it's own right.
Crime / Drama / Thriller
Crime / Drama / Thriller
A bunch of selfrighteous bullies want to set som "new rules" in town while the police in Halifax (Nova Scotia, Canada) are on strike. They try to scare all the gays and lesbians in a bar, but by accident the owner of the establishment is killed, and the leader of the bullies then decides to execute all witnesses. One guy, though, escapes and takes refuge in an isolated block of flats. The young tenants in the house refuse to hand over the survivor, and the bullies then decide to get rid of all the residents in the house. This turns out to be not so easy, because the young people in the house barricade their apartments, set up traps and arm themselves in order to fight back, and this inevitably leads to more bloodshed and killings. —Ole Ryhl Olsson
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
August 09, 2021 at 02:59 PM