The Executioner, Part II (1984)

You may be asking why I started with “Part II” of this saga. Well, that’s because there is no saga. The Executioner, Part II is the only Executioner movie; there is no Part I. Yeah, it’s gonna be one of those kinds of movie reviews.

Los Angeles, 1980s. Crime runs rampant in the streets. The politicians and police chief are corrupt. Organized crime floods the streets with drugs and prostitution, and it all ties back in an intricate web to the Tattoo Man, a criminal overlord with a tendency towards sadism with his prostitutes. With the city tied up in knots, it’s up to one man to take it upon himself to take down crime in sweet vigilante style. And it’s up to one detective to totally fail bringing him in and one German immigrant journalist who barely speaks English to help…I guess? Also, it’s up to the detective’s daughter to get into a life of drug addiction and become a prostitute. And it’s up to street punks to pour milk on people while jumping around and hollering. That’s right, they’re not shouting, they’re hollering and whooping, because that’s believable. And it’s up to one criminal to dress in a nice vest while he rips off mechanic shops, because that’s how we like our criminals. And it’s up to everyone to do karate, badly. And it’s up to me to wonder why I managed to actually sit through this whole thing.

Yeah, we’re in the dregs of the vigilante genre here, folks. The trailer makes reference to the likes of Death Wish, Dirty Harry, and even The Exterminator, and when you’re stuck referencing The Exterminator, you’re in trouble. To say this movie commits film making sins is to seriously undercut just how bad it is, and to make it worse, the streaming version is a VHS rip. I don’t mean just bad camera work and lighting, though both abound. I mean this film literally skips at one point in the streaming release. Meanwhile, we have the same stock explosion footage used three different times. We have sudden cuts that make no sense, dialog that sounds like someone has never actually heard human speech, and dubbing delivery which sounds less like a conversation and more like two rocks talking at each other with all the emotion of a wet paper bag. This isn’t even addressing the stock music soundtrack we get to thrill to during our terrible fight scenes.

But most importantly, we have a “hero” Vietnam vet who goes on PTSD-fueled binges about the war which result in him beating people up and shoving grenades down their pants. He runs around, dreaming of being attacked by charlie, while cutting people with broken pieces of glass. The Executioner isn’t a good guy, he’s a down-on-his-luck mechanic with serious mental health problems. Also, the moves that he and the detective pull out are of the “I saw a Bruce Lee movie once and now show off my kung fu in parking lots” variety. Yeah, that’s right, The Executioner, Part II features the kind of action that would impress guys who have mullets and drive aging Camaros. God, I’ve known too many of those guys over the years…

There are highlights, of course. This movie isn’t a total loss, though it does make Terror in Beverly Hills look good by comparison. First, shoving grenades down people’s pants? Awesome. Second, one guy gets stabbed by a katana and pinned to a couch, and then he tries to walk around and drags the couch with him. The Executioner even bests him by knocking him out and then pushing the couch over. Classic. And then there’s…oh, no, that’s pretty much it. Wait, I got one more. The Executioner throws a guy in a dumpster, then jumps in with him and proceeds to bash his head in with a busted toaster. Though there were no great lines afterwards, like “You got toasted” or anything. That would have made the whole movie worth it.

Ok, maybe not really.

Look, LA sucked in the ’80s is what I’m getting here, but what can I say about a movie that appears to have cost around twenty bucks to make?

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