When Major Charles Rane (William Devane) returns home to San Antonio, Texas, he is given a true hero’s welcome. He and his friend, John Vohden (Tommy Lee Jones) have endured 8 years of physical and mental torture in a POW camp.
However, the adjustment isn’t going to be easy. His wife has fallen in love with another man, and his son, whom he adores, no longer remembers him. In Rane’s own mind, he is a walking dead man – he died the day he was taken prisoner.
However, what Rane doesn’t know is that his experiences as a POW are nothing compared to the ordeal he is about to face.
The unthinkable happens and Rane, subdued and more distant than when he returned, is forced to plan out his own justice, with the help of his friend Vohden. But there is no sense of pleasure in his task; only the ice cold determination of a man who has suffered too much and refuses to be stopped.
John Flynn (March 14, 1932 – April 4, 2007) was an American film director and screenwriter known for making efficient, no-nonsense crime-thrillers The Outfit and Rolling Thunder.
Flynn was raised in Hermosa Beach, California and served in the Coast Guard, It was during this stint that he studied journalism with Roots author Alex Haley. Flynn received a degree in journalism from UCLA.
He began his cinematic career as an apprentice to director Robert Wise on Odds Against Tomorrow and worked as the script supervisor on West Side Story. From there, Flynn worked as a second unit director on Kid Galahad and The Great Escape. He made his debut as a director with The Sergeant starring Rod Steiger.
Flynn’s substantial commercial success was with The Outfit starring Robert Duvall. The filmmaker achieved a dedicated cult following with the gritty revenge thriller, Rolling Thunder starring William Devane and Tommy Lee Jones.
In 1994, he directed the cult classic Brainscan… read more
B-movie heaven. An unjustly neglected revenge classic with a simple but compelling plot that sets up William Deveane and Tommy Lee Jones in low key, no nonsense performances, leading up to a bloodbath reminiscent of "The wild bunch". As gritty and heartbreaking as almost anything written by Paul Schrader.
Another angry Vietnam vet film from writer Paul Schrader, and while it was released after Taxi Driver, my guess is that this one was written first. Like that film, this one straddles the line between art and exploitation, this time leaning more toward exploitation. Entertaining and well acted.. It is also a very good looking film, with cinematography by the dependable Jordan Cronenwelth. 3.5
Also: Elizabeth Taylor, accidental feminist? And John Malkovich revisits Les liaisons dangereuses.