Picks and Pans Review: Defiance
With The Warriors, Walk Proud and Boulevard Nights, 1979 may be remembered as the year of the gang movie. It was a deservedly short-lived trend that this turkey won't revive. Jan-Michael Vincent stars as an out-of-work merchant seaman who walks tall on New York's rough-and-tumble Lower East Side. His ship won't come in with this role, but he does lend a certain laconic strength as he is reluctantly drawn into a showdown with the Souls, a gang led by the splendidly sinister Rudy Ramos. Unlike The Warriors et al, where hoods just whacked one another, the Souls prefer terrorizing helpless citizens, raiding church bingo games and beating up Art Carney, who is slumming in a supporting role. Director John (Rolling Thunder) Flynn lacks a light touch, the dialogue seems awkward, the love scenes are dreadful and the climactic battle is shot confusingly in half-light. Justifiably defiant moviegoers will be long gone, however, by that point. (PG)
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