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Exterminator, The (BluRay / DVD Combo) 
Written by: on September 2nd, 2011


Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1980
Director: James Glickenhaus
Writer: James Glickenhaus
Cast: Robert Ginty, Steve James, Christopher George, Samantha Eggar

BluRay released: September 13th, 2011
Approximate running time: 102 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Rating: NR
Sound: DTS-HD Stereo English, DTS-HD Mono English
Subtitles: N/A
BluRay Release: Synapse Films
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.95


Synopsis: A Vietnam vet, becomes a vigilante after his friend is crippled by a gangs of street thugs.

The Exterminator was written and directed by James Glickenhaus, who’s other notable films include The Soldier and McBain. The cinematographer on The Exterminator was Robert M. Baldwin, who’s other notable credits include Let’s Scare Jessica to Death and Frankenhooker. The score for The Exterminator was composed by Joe Renzetti, who is most known for composing the score Dead and Buried.
 
Narrative wise, after a Vietnam Nam opening prolog sequence in which the protagonist narrowly escapes death at the hands of Viet Cong, who have just captured him and the platoon that he was with. The film shifts locations from the jungle terrain, to the mean streets of New York city. And while the war ended years before for the protagonist, a series of events transforms him into a vigilante, who wages his own urban warfare on degenerates scum that terrorize the streets of New York city.
 
Content wise, The Exterminator echoes many themes that had been explored in other films that had been released before it like Death Wish and to some lesser extent Apocalypse Now. Pacing wise things never get bogged down, as things move from carnage filled moment of vengeance to the next. In fact it is these vengeance sequences, which set this film apart from other similar themed films. The protagonists disposes of the scum of the Earth in wide variety of ways, a mafia boss is sent through a meat grinder and a pedophile pimp is tied down to a mattress and lit on fire. Also in a film that is filled with repulsive imagery, this film’s most disturbing moment involves a scene with the aforementioned pedophile pimp, who runs a place where perverts can have all their sodomizing young boy "Chickens" needs fulfilled.

And while it is these moments of degradation and carnage that propel this film’s plot forward. There are a handful of moments, most notably a evolving affair between a detective and doctor that severely hurt this film momentum. That is not to say that there are not more character driven moments that don’t work, case in point, the scenes with the protagonist and the family of crippled best friend, who is in a vegetative state since being beat down by a group of thugs.

Performance wise the majority of the cast are more than adequate in their respective roles. With the weight of this production being set on the shoulders of Robert Ginty (Coming Home) in the role of this film’s protagonist, a Vietnam Vet named John Eastland. He gives a stoic performance that lends itself perfectly to the story at hand. Without a doubt the most underwhelming performance in this film would have to be Christopher George (City of the Living Dead, Pieces). He just sleepwalks through his role as the detective that he is playing spends more time chasing tail, then trying to catch a vigilante that is exterminating the scum from the streets of New York.

The BluRay:

The Exterminator comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. Grain looks natural, colors and flesh tones look accurate, black levels look very good and though details look crisp throughout, there are a handful of shots that look soft. There are no problems with compression and DNR. In all, this is a exemplary transfer from Synapse Films.

This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD Stereo mix in English and a DTS-HD Mono mix in English. This release also marks the first home video release to contain this film original DTS-HD Stereo mix in English. Both audio mixes sounds clear and balanced throughout. And while range wise they are rather limited at times, there are a few moments in which they sound appropriately robust. There are no problems with distortion and background noise is never an issue.

Extras for this release include T.V. spots for the film (3 minutes 11 seconds – 4:3 full frame), a trailer for the film (1 minute 24 seconds – anamorphic widescreen) and a audio commentary with writer / director  James Glickenhaus and moderated by Temple Of Schlock’s Chris Poggiali. Though there are a handful moments where there a lull of silence, this is generally a solid audio track that contains a wealth of information about this production. Overall Synapse Films gives The Exterminator its best home video release to date.

Note: Also included with this combo release is a DVD copy that has all the contents that are included on the BluRay counterpart.

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