Exterminator 2 (1984)

Flammenwerfers werf flammen.

Ah, proto-Punisher characters getting revenge for the little guy against inner city multi-ethnic street gangs with delusions of grandeur. It’s a shame the fear of the dirty inner city is gone nowadays since so many of us live in our shining cityscapes with all our clean lines and windows…like a great rat king of humanity. Guys like the Exterminator come in to make sure the refuse gets taken out from time to time, and in this case he does it quite literally with a freaking flamethrower.

No, seriously, in this sequel to Exterminator, our hero John Eastland (played by Robert Ginty) gets a job working with an old army buddy running a garbage truck. He never actually picks up any garbage, but that’s beside the point, as he is more than busy dealing with the trash (There’s a great line in the movie Traxx about this: “Garbage you dump, trash you kill.”). What’s more important is that he makes enemies with Mario Van Peebles and his street gang, which gives us the opportunity to watch dudes get reduced to cinders.

And just how does the Exterminator incur the wrath of this evil gang of wannabe-Warriors? Why, his army buddy uses the dump truck to try and stop an armored car robbery the gang performs. What follows is a cycle of confusion, mistaken identity, and revenge, as the gang thinks Ginty and his dancing lady friend were driving the truck. They beat her so badly she becomes paralyzed, which puts a stop to her Broadway dreams and seriously hinders her relationship with our hero. Meanwhile the Exterminator ends up torching Van Peebles’ little brother, which leads to a whole lot of bad blood between the two. The end result? A warehouse battle in which Ginty drives an armored garbage truck complete with added machine guns and dumps gasoline on gang members so he can light them like tiki torches. Further hilarity ensues when the burning stunt men start running into each other. But then it’s off to the explosive finale as Robert Ginty and Mario Van Peebles face off in a fight to the death over drugs and revenge.

Unfortunately Exterminator 2 isn’t quite the nonstop action I want, as much of it focuses on Ginty getting a job, getting to know his girl, and joyriding in a garbage truck, which just makes for an awkward date. As a result, it’s not nearly as cool as I needed it to be, even though it is pretty much the vigilante equivalent of Don’t Go in the House, which is a slasher flick also involving a flamethrower that you should watch if only because it made the Video Nasty list.

Did I mention I happen to like flamethrowers?

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