Film Comment - 07/01/2009
"[O]ne of Eighties American independent cinema's most powerful and uncompromising triumphs....Giovinazzo's harrowing vision remains undiluted."
Frankie Dunlan is a depressed Vietnam veteran facing disturbing memories of his experiences during wartime. Now back at home in an urban combat zone, his nagging wife, mutant baby, and filthy slum-level apartment aren't helping matters. Driven to the brink of sanity, he decides to rid his neighborhood of its depravity by battling the lowlife with guns, guerilla warfare and the hand-to-hand combat he used in Southeast Asia. This grimy and disturbing Troma release, assembled by the hands of many members of the Giovinazzo family, comes off as a potent, skid row hybrid of ERASERHEAD and TAXI DRIVER.
Frankie Dunlan returns from Vietnam to find hislife a festering sewer of poverty, hopelessnessand violence. His wife is pregnant and hungry,his one year old son is sick and horribly deformedfrom exposure to Agent Orange, to make mattersworse, they're all being evicted from their run-down hell hole apartment.Frankie roams the streets looking for work but he'saccosted by a street gang and beaten up, hisfamily is threatened unless he pays back a debtlong overdue. His childhood friend is a strungout junkie, aborted fetuses litter the alleys,underage prostitutes work the streets; the entiresociety has flushed itself down the toilet. YetFrankie doesn't give up hope; maybe there's a jobat the unemployment office, maybe his father willhelp; not a chance! At the end of the day Frankie goes home where hiswife confronts him with the facts. She can't take itanymore and wants out. That's when Frankie hasan inspiration, a way out of the horror. In a tender,warm hearted, feel-good story of justice andredemption, Frankie finally makes his peace.