On one level, a case could perhaps be made that Vigilante Force is an answer to the earlier Walking Tall -- but to do so would mean arguing that Vigilante's creators really have anything on their minds other than blowing up cars, generating loud noises and creating general mayhem. Certainly, there's nothing deeper going on in George Armitage's screenplay, which doesn't delve very deeply into the issues it raises. For fans of movies in which action is all that matters, Vigilante delivers; it's not a big budget extravaganza, but it has plenty of stunts and explosions and fighting and yelling. All of it is mindless, but at least the screenplay follows the niceties of going from point A to point B to point C in a logical manner. Armitage's direction is very good, as long as it's concentrating on the action; the "between" scenes tend to be a bit strained, but they're not really of any importance anyway. Jan-Michael Vincent doesn't bring anything new to the role of the "good" brother, but he looks good. (The same can be said of Victoria Principal as the "good" girl.) Kris Kristofferson, however, does surprisingly well as the "bad" brother, and Bernadette Peters does wonders with a very poorly written part. Those who really want to can look at Vigilante as something larger, such as a reflection of post-Watergate American values -- but they're fooling themselves if they think it's about anything other than baseball bats and cars.
by Craig Butler review