In the early 1980s, crime was on the rise in Philadelphia, with the city’s residents living in fear of the rampant violence and corruption that plagued their streets. It was in this context that Lewis Teague’s “Fighting Back” was released, a gritty thriller that took a hard look at the city’s criminal underworld and the rise of vigilantism.
Tell me more about Fighting Back
“Fighting Back” was released in 1982, a time when crime thrillers were all the rage in Hollywood. The film was directed by Lewis Teague, who was known for his work in television, including episodes of “The Twilight Zone” and “Tales from the Crypt.”
Teague’s vision for “Fighting Back” was to create a realistic portrayal of urban decay and the rise of vigilantism, using the crumbling streets of Philadelphia as his backdrop. The film was shot on location in Philadelphia, with many of the city’s seedy, crime-ridden neighborhoods serving as the setting for the film’s gritty, raw aesthetic.
The cast, led by Tom Skerritt and Patti LuPone, was made up of primarily unknown actors, giving the film a raw, unpolished feel that added to its gritty realism.
How was Fighting Back received in the Summer of 1982?
Upon its release, “Fighting Back” received mixed reviews from critics, with some praising its gritty realism and others criticizing its graphic violence and bleak outlook. Despite this, the film developed a cult following, particularly among fans of the crime thriller genre.
In the years since its release, “Fighting Back” has gained a new appreciation, with many critics and fans recognizing its prescience in tackling issues like urban decay, police corruption, and the rise of vigilantism. The film’s portrayal of a city in crisis, with its crumbling buildings and rampant crime, is eerily reminiscent of the urban decay that plagues many cities today.
The film’s themes of vigilantism and police corruption are also particularly relevant in today’s society, with many people feeling frustrated with the justice system and taking matters into their own hands. “Fighting Back” offers a nuanced portrayal of these issues, raising questions about the morality of vigilantism and the consequences of taking the law into one’s own hands.
Talk to me about the Arrow Films Blu-ray Release
Recently, “Fighting Back” was released on Blu-ray by Arrow Films, giving modern audiences a chance to experience this intense thriller in high definition. The Blu-ray transfer is excellent, with the film’s gritty, raw aesthetic preserved in stunning detail. The sound quality is also impressive, with the film’s atmospheric score and sound effects coming alive in the surround sound mix.
The Blu-ray release includes a number of special features that offer a deep dive into the film’s production and impact. These include interviews with the cast and crew, a making-of documentary, and a booklet featuring essays on the film’s production and impact. The Blu-ray also includes a commentary track by film historian and critic Nick Pinkerton, offering a deeper analysis of the film’s themes and production.
The film gets really dark
One of the most striking aspects of “Fighting Back” is its portrayal of urban decay. The film’s use of location shooting in Philadelphia gives the film a raw, unpolished feel, with the city’s crumbling buildings and rampant crime serving as a bleak backdrop to the story. The film’s protagonist, played by Tom Skerritt, is also a key part of its appeal. Skerritt brings a sense of vulnerability and desperation to his portrayal of a man driven to vigilantism by the death of his wife.
His character’s struggle to come to terms with his actions and the consequences of his vigilantism adds a layer of depth to the film’s themes. The film’s climax, which features a tense showdown between Skerritt’s character and the film’s villain, is also noteworthy. The scene is shot with a sense of intensity and urgency, which I don’t typically see in films like this.
What can I expect on the Blu-ray?
The special features included in the Blu-ray release of “Fighting Back” by Arrow Films offer a comprehensive look at the film’s production and impact.
- Audio Commentary: The audio commentary track by film historian and critic Nick Pinkerton provides a detailed analysis of the film’s themes, production, and impact. Pinkerton offers insightful comments on the film’s cinematography, sound design, and performances, as well as its place within the crime thriller genre. The commentary track is well-paced and engaging, making it a valuable resource for fans of the film and of the genre.
- Interviews: The interviews with the cast and crew offer valuable insights into the film’s production and the experiences of the actors and crew. Tom Skerritt discusses his approach to playing the film’s protagonist, while Patti LuPone talks about her experience playing a strong, independent woman. Director Lewis Teague shares his thoughts on the film’s themes and how he approached bringing the story to life.
- Making-of Documentary: The making-of documentary, “Fighting Back: The Making of a Cult Classic,” takes a comprehensive look at the film’s production, from its inception to its release. The documentary features interviews with the cast and crew, as well as behind-the-scenes footage and archival materials. It provides a fascinating look at the challenges of shooting on location in Philadelphia and how the film’s raw, gritty aesthetic was achieved.
- Booklet: The booklet included in the Blu-ray release features essays on the film’s production and impact. The first essay, “Fighting Back: A Street-Level Thriller,” provides a detailed look at the film’s themes, its portrayal of urban decay, and its impact on the crime thriller genre. The second essay, “A City in Crisis: The Making of Fighting Back,” offers a behind-the-scenes look at the film’s production, including the challenges of shooting on location and the approach to casting and character development.
- Trailers and TV Spots: The release also includes a selection of trailers and TV spots, offering a look at how the film was marketed and promoted upon its release. The trailers and TV spots provide a fascinating glimpse into the film’s reception and how it was positioned within the crime thriller genre.
- Reversible sleeve: The reversible sleeve featuring original artwork and a newly commissioned illustration by Sean Phillips is a nice touch for collectors. The original artwork captures the film’s gritty, intense atmosphere, while the new illustration offers a fresh perspective on the film’s themes and characters.
- Limited Edition: The Blu-ray release is a limited edition, with only 3,000 copies available. It also includes a slipcase featuring the original theatrical poster art. The limited edition release makes the Blu-ray a valuable collector’s item for fans of the film and of the genre.
The special features included in the Blu-ray release of “Fighting Back” by Arrow Films offer a comprehensive look at the film’s production and impact. From the audio commentary and interviews to the making-of documentary and booklet, the release provides a valuable resource for anyone interested in exploring this gritty, intense thriller, and its place within the history of American cinema.
The limited edition release and reversible sleeve make it a must-have for collectors, while the trailers and TV spots offer a fascinating glimpse into the film’s reception and marketing. Overall, the Blu-ray release of “Fighting Back” is a must-have for fans of the film and of the crime thriller genre in general.