What's that old Klingon proverb again? I believe it's "Revenge is a dish best served cold." The proverb is meant as an admonishment to revenge seekers to use intellect and rationality and not passion and emotion in seeking vengeance. It's also not a Klingon proverb (it dates back several hundred years). When it comes to cinematic vigilantes, revenge is usually best served with blood-drenched, bone-crunching fury. The subject of today's Cinematical Seven, vigilantes on/in film, has been written to coincide with the release of Michael Caine's turn as a retiree-turned-cold-blooded vigilante Harry Brown (out on DVD/Bu-Ray today for your viewing pleasure).

First, we'll start with one bright-line rule: masked avengers, costumed superheroes won't appear anywhere in this Cinematical Seven. So no Batman, no V (as in V for Vendetta), no Kick-Ass, or any other vigilante who wears a cape and cowl (or a mask and costume) will appear on this list. By refusing to hide their faces behind a mask, non-costumed vigilantes are closer to the real world and, consequently, farther away from the fantasy world of masked crime-fighters like Batman or his many imitators.

We also won't count the expansive cops-turned-vigilantes sub-genre that kicked off the 1970s with Don Siegel and Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry. Cops in this sub-genre willfully break the law, usually tossed away with a glancing, derogatory mention of "legal technicalities," supposedly in the service of a higher, natural law. They, of course, get to decide (moral) right and wrong and act accordingly to the detriment of evildoers in their path, but again, it's the righteous (self-righteous?) non-law enforcement vigilante who I find offers the most to think and write about.

[Insert the usual "Spoiler Alert" before the jump.]
categories Cinematical