The Exterminator

1980

Action / Crime / Drama / Thriller

1
IMDb Rating 5.7 10 5012

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
February 23, 2021 at 09:12 PM

Cast

Tom Everett as Hotel Clerk
Samantha Eggar as Dr. Megan Stewart
720p.BLU
938.56 MB
1280*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 42 min
P/S counting...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by lovecraft231 8 / 10

Grim but effective vigilante tale

I love Synapse films. Along with Blue Underground, these guys are pretty much Criterion for fans of horror and exploitation, with movies like "Thriller: A Cruel Picture", "Frankenhooker" and "Maniac Cop" under their belt. So it makes perfect sense that they would release the vigilante movie favorite "The Exterminator" on a Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack. This is a mixed bag for me, as I don't have a Blu-Ray player, but I do have a DVD player, so I can watch the movie but not judge the two discs. I can however, judge the movie.

John Eastland (Robert Ginty) is a Vietnam vet whose war buddy and long time best friend Michael Jefferson (Steve James.) When Michael is fatally wounded by thugs, Eastland decides that not only those responsible should pay: the pimps, pushers and filth of the streets must be exterminated. Thing is, this is bad for the mayor, whose got an election coming up, so it's up to Detective James Dalton (Christopher George) to stop the man known to the city of New York as "The Exterminator."

While there are flaws in this movie (the relationship between Dalton and a nurse played by Samantha Eggar feels unnecessary), this is a prime example of early 80's exploitation. While gore-hounds will be let down (only a gnarly decapitation in a Vietnam flashback), the violence here is vicious and unrelenting-in fact, largely skimping on splatter actually helps enhance the brutality on display-and boy is it a vicious little movie. Eastland is not a man who plays around, setting people ablaze, dropping them in meat-grinders, shooting them with mercury laced bullets-he means business. Also, exploitation fans will more than likely enjoy this, as this is the type of movie that shows you New York before it was cleaned up. This is a world of drug pushers, murderers, and more-the scum of the Earth, and The Exterminator has had enough of them.

It also helps that this is a well directed and mostly well acted movie. James Glickenhouse* films the whole thing in a matter of fact style-no flashy editing or tricks here, just the worst the city has to offer and ugly violence pushed into your face, which aids the already gritty tone of the movie. Meanwhile, Ginty (who most may remember from the MST3K movie "Warriors of the Lost World") has a kind of Charles Bronson like quality-not as good of an actor, but he doesn't really look like an action star. He just looks like a regular guy, and the actor thankfully manages to make Eastland human but not too sympathetic. If anything, he's a psychopath. George meanwhile, plays the guy who may be the most likable character. He doesn't want The Exterminator killing people, but he understands why he's doing it, and doesn't seem to care much for the corrupt political and police establishment around him.

For fans of revenge movies and exploitation, "The Exterminator" is something that must be seen. Is it a perfect movie? No, but it get's the job done without any added bulls#!t.

*Glickenhouse also wrote this movie, and directed the Christopher Walken action movie "McBain", Jackie Chan's ill-advised U.S. debut "The Protector" and the Peter Weller/Sam Elliot cop movie "Shakedown." He also produced "Basket Case 2", "Frankenhooker", "Maniac Cop" and the Joe Don Baker vehicle "Ring of Steel."

Reviewed by lost-in-limbo 6 / 10

It was fair… could have been better, though.

In New York John Eastland an Vietnam Veteran turns vigilante when his best friend/Vietnam buddy is attacked by a group of thugs and left paralysed. Since his buddy saved his life in Vietnam, he thought he should do him a favour. So John becomes a one-man show and goes out and gives some of his own justice to these lowlifes. After taking care of that gang, he sets his sights higher, by trying to bring down the city's seedy and dark underground. He calls himself the Exterminator, but police see him as nothing than a psychopathic killer, but the CIA and Government officials see him more as a threat because they believe he could undermine an entire government administration. The media and public, see him as a (anti) hero and these corrupt officials don't want that.

This is one of the many vigilante/exploitation films that flooded the screens within 70's and 80's period… thanks to "Death Wish", which were only meant to shock you with relentless violence and grit. Well, this supposedly DVD I watch claims to be the director's cut, but some sequences definitely feel like they were trimmed… unless that was the director's choice, but I doubt it because they felt odd and was mostly around the violence.

Anyway what we got here is a remotely entertaining low-budget vigilante piece, but really it's nothing we haven't seen before. If your expecting a whole lotta' graphic violence, you might be disappointed as it was rather tame in spots where it could have been grisly to watch. But saying that it does have a couple of shocking moments, but really not enough to make it stand out from the rest of its field. It was rather comic book style violence, with it being more nasty than bloody. What makes it a little tiresome is that a lot of time it skews away from our vigilante doing his work, in favour for a budding romance between a cop and doctor, it just didn't add anything, well not for me. It could have scrap that idea and delve more into the Exterminator's psyche, or please more gripping action. Yes action, the film just lacked something big… I was hoping for more. Especially when we are thrown right into the action when the film begins, but I was sorely disappointed and the exploitative nature was just uneven and what was the deal with the wrenching images. Sometimes the material tries too hard to be moving and have a softer side. It just didn't work for me. You just think, oh this going to be great, with some promising torture scenes and tussles, but honestly you feel short changed with the outcome of most, as there seems to be more of a focus on the aftermath. What didn't help was that some moments are actually unintentionally humorous. But on the other hand there are some nice ideas in the bunch, but it just could've been executed in a better fashion. The plot tries to cover some social discussions involving the Vietnam War, Cheap labour, street crime, media, child prostitution corrupt officials and plenty of wry humour mixed in. Although, there's nothing about these messages that are exceptional or haven't been handled better.

What blew me away was that director James Glickenhaus pulls you into the seedy and dirty streets of New York. He truly makes the raw environment an unpleasant experience to view, along with the scum who walk it. Camera work was potent with some well established shots, with plenty of close ups and fast moving shooting. Also the director loved his slow-mow! Soundtrack was very 70's. A sample of the decade indeed. But there are some odd song choices in certain parts of the film, but they were reasonably groovy and swinging in mood. Although, the editing was annoying at times, it was real choppy and because of that there's several incoherent sequences and stuff left up in the air. Just like the unthinkable ending (that took me by the blue), which is messily put together. Performances are fair, even if Robert Ginty is bland as the crusader and Christopher George makes the most of his character. Though, those people playing the CIA agents really hammed it up with inane dialogue and hilarious appearances.

Mediocre at best, with some heart pounding moments and clever touches, but I just thought it could've been far better. Maybe I was expecting too much? Nonetheless, it did its job by keeping me entertained for the odd 90 minutes or so. That's good enough for me.

Reviewed by Mr_Erich 6 / 10

"...That n*gger was my best friend, you m*therf*cker..."

James Glickenhaus certainly had a stone cold vision of what he wanted when he made this gritty film in the waning days of the Carter administration about a Vietnam vet who goes on a man hunt for the worst society has to offer.

What immediately becomes evident when seeing The Exterminator is that the violence and subject matter are completely uncompromising; disturbingly realistic at times, over the top and sadistic at others. But the story is well written and mature and I have a hard time throwing the 'exploitation' label at this film like some others do; it is definitely a few steps ahead of some tongue in cheek Cannon Films fodder. At the core of the story is a true friendship between two Vietnam buddies; a bachelor named John Eastland, and a family man named Michael Jefferson (who is black, which adds an interesting social dynamic to this older film and has significance in a couple of scenes). The two are law abiding working class guys living in crime infested 1980's New York City.

Once this solid premise is developed, the film more or less follows the typical vigilante- revenge formula, albeit in a really brutal, and at times, heart-breaking way. The thing that saves this movie from being just a Death Wish 1.5 is the inclusion of a parallel story about the upcoming 'elections' and the perceived soft-on-crime stance the current administration has promoted. The conservative views of the films writer-director really come into play with this subplot, as a couple of CIA operatives are intent on keeping a lid on any person that would show the ineffective nature of a more liberal justice system, especially just around election time.

The Exterminator is clearly a prototype for the style of action movies that came to dominate during the Reagan administration, in it's decidedly conservative stance and it's excessive use of R violence, but the slower pacing and cinematography, and bleak outlook at modern society tie this film more to the 1970's style. The music is haunting and low key and really adds to the dark feel of the film. A good surprise ending keeps the story from becoming too predictable, but leaves a lot of loose ends, perhaps not a bad thing. But avoid the trashy and simplistic sequel which has nothing to do with James Glickenhaus or his style.

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