Avenging Force (1986)


Introduction

Avenging Force is a 1986 American action film directed by Sam Firstenberg.

The screenplay was written by James Booth, who co-starred in the film. It was originally intended as a sequel to the 1985 film Invasion U.S.A., which starred Chuck Norris in the role of Matt Hunter.

Outline

In the swamps of the Louisiana bayou, two men are hunted and killed by four costumed, well-armed adversaries.

Retired Secret Service agent, Captain Matt Hunter (Dudikoff), has retired to his family’s cattle ranch in Louisiana and Texas, with his sister Sarah (Gereighty) and grandfather. They drive to New Orleans, meeting Matt’s old military comrade and local politician Larry Richards (James), who is now running for US Senate. At dinner, Larry hesitantly mentions threats made against his life during the election cycle, which he dismisses as harmless. Later that day, Larry, Matt and their families ride in Larry’s float in the Mardi Gras parade. Disguised as revellers, assassins open fire on Larry’s float, accidentally killing his eldest son. Matt and Larry take down the attackers, but Matt loses the last assassin in charge in the crowd.

Matt calls in a favor to his old boss, Admiral Brown (Booth), and learns the perpetrators are members of an organization known only to US intelligence as the Pentangle. Taking the name of the five-pointed star, the Pentangle is a far right-wing group promoting extreme views on gun rights, immigration, and security and whose leadership is suspected of operating a hunting club targeting people. The Secret Service suspects the cult is composed of businessmen and authority figures with connections to Washington, run by five members, each represented by a point on the star; however they lack further knowledge and ask Matt to infiltrate the organization to gain further intel. Matt declines, citing his family, and instead sends his and Larry’s family to hide out at his ranch. Meanwhile, Matt and Larry intentionally foil a second trap set by the Pentangle, eliminating several more assassins in a dockyard confrontation.

Prof. Elliott Glastenbury (John P. Ryan) is the head of Glastenbury Industries and the leader of his cult, the Pentangle. Having rallied his cult’s support by eschewing his far right-wing views, he takes personal interest in Matt after reviewing surveillance of the botched Richards hit, Pentangle’s first failure; the members Wade Delaney (Bill Wallace), Jeb Wallace (Karl Johnson), and Charles Lavall (Alaimo) contemplate asking Matt to join. Learning that the families are hiding out at Matt’s ranch, Glastenbury orders Delaney, Wallace, and Lavall to attack the ranch, killing the Secret Service agents and Matt’s grandfather while setting the ranch ablaze. Matt, Sarah, and Larry’s wife all escape, while Larry goes back to rescue his youngest son, but is shot in the process. As Matt saves them both, Larry asks Matt to protect his son and dies. Meanwhile, Pentangle finds Sarah and Larry’s wife hiding outside, taking Sarah hostage and executing Larry’s wife. Matt attempts to escape via the roof with Larry’s son but is shot in the leg, falling to the ground. Pentangle gives Matt two weeks to agree to be hunted, or they will kill Sarah. Before leaving, they execute Larry’s youngest son in front of an injured Matt.

Two weeks later, Matt shows up to a Cajun bayou party, where the Pentangle members are guests. Matt finds Sarah about to be auctioned off by the brothel as a sex slave. He rescues her but attracts the Pentangle’s attention while doing so, escaping into the swamps on foot. The Pentangle hunts him throughout the night; one by one, Matt eliminates Lavall, Wallace, and Delaney until only Glastenbury remains. Ambushed by Glastenbury, Matt stabs him, allowing both men time to escape, with Matt taking Sarah to Admiral Brown for treatment and protection.

Matt then confronts Glastenbury at his mansion. Declining his offer to join the Pentangle, the two duel amidst Glastenbury’s collection of antique weaponry. Glastenbury appears to have the upper hand, but Matt impales him on one of his own statues, killing him. Matt goes to the hospital to see Sarah, where Admiral Brown congratulates him on a job well done. Matt confronts him that only the Secret Service knew that the families were hiding out on Matt’s ranch; therefore, someone in the Service is connected to the Pentangle (strongly implying that the Admiral is the unnamed, fifth member of the Pentangle’s membership.) Matt vows to continue fighting the Pentangle and leaves.

Cast

  • Michael Dudikoff as Captain Matt Hunter.
  • Steve James as Larry Richards.
  • James Booth as Admiral Brown.
  • Bill Wallace as Wade Delaney.
  • John P. Ryan as Prof. Elliott Glastenbury.
  • Karl Johnson as Cmdr. Jeb Wallace.
  • Marc Alaimo Charles Lavall.
  • Allison Gereighty as Sarah Hunter.

Release

The film had a mostly negative reception from critics.

Home Media

The film has been released on DVD in the UK and was released in the United States on DVD and Blu-ray on 09 December 2014 by Kino Lorber. The Film will be released on Blu Ray internationally by 88 Films on 24 August 2020, with a Limited Slipcase & 4 Art Cards.

Trivia

  • The film had a negative critical reception but it have cult success on home video and since then, it was considered a cult film.
  • Originally written as a sequel to Invasion U.S.A. (1985) with Chuck Norris returning in the role of Matt Hunter.
    • When he was uninterested, the role was rewritten to be younger and given to rising Cannon star Michael Dudikoff instead.
    • Despite sharing the same main character name, the finished film was no longer intended to be a sequel or prequel to the earlier film, but its own stand-alone movie.
  • This movie was released in Israel as “The American Ninja 2”, which caused “American Ninja 2” to be released as “American Ninja 3”, and so on.
    • In fact, in Israel there are six movies in the “American Ninja” series.
  • Despite some positive reviews, cash-strapped Cannon Films could only release the film in 500 or so cinemas, severely limiting its box-office potential.

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): Sam Firstenberg.
  • Producer(s): Yoram Globus and Menahem Golan.
  • Writer(s): James Booth.
  • Music: George S. Clinton.
  • Cinematography: Gideon Porath.
  • Editor(s): Michael J. Duthie.
  • Production: Cannon Films and Golan-Globus Productions.
  • Distributor(s): Cannon Film Distributors.
  • Release Date: 12 September 1986.
  • Running Time: 103 minutes.
  • Rating: R.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

YouTube Link

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