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Exterminator/Exterminator 2, The
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by Jack Sommersby

"Strikes Out Twice"
1 stars

About as enthralling as a visit to your local proctologist.

Both The Exterminator and the ill-advised sequel are reprehensible motion pictures, and not because they're derivatively exploitive but because they're so sloppily written and abysmally directed they make any Edward D. Wood production come off as artistically superior. The original, which takes place in New York City, stars Robert Ginty as a Vietnam veteran who takes it upon himself to avenge his ex-military comrade after he's left paralyzed from the neck down after a brutal attack for his having broken up an attempted robbery at his warehouse job beforehand; donning a welder's helmet, bulletproof kevlar vest underneath his Army jacket, and wielding a flamethrower systematically does in the street punks responsible. The newspapers get wind of it, and nickname him the Exterminator much like Charles Bronsons's Big Apple middle-class architect was nicknamed the Vigilante by the press in 1973's Death Wish; but where that effective film boasted a muscular vernacular and a superb lead performance, The Exterminator is stuck with writer-director James Glickenhaus's clunky execution (the juxtaposition of shots is amateurish) and Ginty's uncommunicative portrait (he's alienating in his recessive demeanor that never "connects" with the audience). Excepting some adeptness on the part of the reliable B-movie favorite Christopher George as the investigating detective, the entire enterprise is a complete and total lost cause. Fairing only marginally better is Exterminator 2, which once again finds Ginty's John Eastland up to his old ways when his beautiful and talented dancer girlfriend is attacked and left partially paralyzed in her legs by a gang headed by Mario Van Peebles's ruthless X (he has a red "X" mark tattooed on his chest, along with The Road Warrior-like costuming like football shoulder pads) and is looking to take over the drug trade in all five boroughs. Laughably pious about his African-American race and supposed subsequent entitlement to fight for "what should be ours" he's initially interesting but soon gives way to standard-villain cliches and becomes just your average one-dimensional antagonist. The only thing in the movie's favor is some occasional stylish cinematography, but the director, Mark Buntzman, hasn't any narrative ability to speak of nor much of a compositional sense, and the protracted conclusion has all the immediacy of a drunken snail. When it comes to enjoyable entertainment, The Exterminator and its son are bottom-basement in the extreme.

Decent Blu-Ray transfers to be had for their few fans.

link directly to this review at https://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=33853&reviewer=327
originally posted: 10/27/20 10:10:42
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USA
  19-Jan-1980 (R)

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