The revenge movie is a tough genre to nail. Most usually, these films feature protagonists you can root for and antagonists you yearn to meet grisly ends. Whether set in a historical period, a familiarly contemporary place or a dystopian future, what unites these films is a character’s need to avenge those closest to them. With the DVD and Blu-ray release of Out of the Furnace set for 2nd June 2014 from Lionsgate Home Entertainment, we count down the best examples of revenge movies.
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
Sergio Leone’s classic Spaghetti Western follows Charles Bronson’s Harmonica-playing gunman who pursues the villain of the piece, Frank (Henry Fonda, playing against type). Much of the film is spent wondering why ‘Harmonica’ wants to exact revenge upon Frank – however, this is revealed to the audience in a crucial flashback which explains how Frank was the one to blame, not only for the hanging of Harmonica’s older brother, but the reason he decided to play the instrument in the first place which provides the epic with its musical motif throughout.
Get Carter (1971)
This British crime thriller from director Mike Hodges stars Michael Caine in the iconic role of Jack Carter, a London gangster who travels home to investigate the events surrounding his brother’s seemingly accidental death. With vengeance on his mind, Carter discovers foul play at work, and becomes increasingly more violent in his interrogations.
Mad Max (1979)
This dystopian action classic stars Mel Gibson in the title role as an Australian policeman who sets out to avenge the death of his partner, wife and son, all murdered by a motorcycle gang in retaliation for the death of their leader. Directed by George Miller, Mad Mac depicts its revenge in a brutal manner, shooting Gibson to superstardom in the process. Two sequels followed, and another (Mad Max: Fury Road, starring Tom Hardy) is due out next year.
The Crow (1994)
A true cult gem, The Crow stars Brandon Lee (in what was his final role following his tragic on-set death) as Eric Draven, a man comes back to life after being brutally murdered in order to avenge his fiancée’s death, as well as his own. Fit with a costume and face make-up designed to make him look like a porcelain harlequin, Draven’s vengeances leads him into the murky underworld of Detroit.
Ridley Scott’s Oscar-winning epic stars Russell Crowe as Maximus Deciums Meridius. When the Emperor’s corrupted son Commodus (Joaquin Pheonix) murders his father to seize the throne, Maximus is reduced to slavery, and must rise through the ranks of the gladiatorial arena in order to avenge the death of his family.
Kill Bill Vol. 1/Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2003/2004)
A true revenge thrill ride, Quentin Tarantino’s pet project, focusing on Uma Thurman’s largely unnamed Bride (her real name is Beatrix Kiddo) focuses on the female protagonist, left for dead by The Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, a group of highly-trained killers led by David Carradine’s eponymous Bill. Under no pretence as to what the motives of our lead character is, Thurman’s Bride – unnamed in Volume 1 – speaks directly to camera, informing us of her plans to… well, kill Bill.
If anybody plans to successfully avenge their brother’s death, it is almost always going to be Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, who does just that in Faster, a 2010 crime thriller which co-stars Billy Bob Thornton and Maggie Grace. Coming up against opposition from an old-school cop and egocentric hit man, Driver meets extreme obstacles in his quest to avenge the death which occurred when they were double-crossed during a heist years previous.
I Saw the Devil (2010)
A serial killer targets the wrong person when the secret agent fiancée of the female victim goes to the most extreme lengths to catch and exact revenge upon the sadistic murderer. This cat-and-mouse thriller grows more horrifying with every scene, not afraid to spin the crime drama on its head and to make the villain the hunted.
Blue Ruin (2013)
A festival favourite currently wowing critics and audiences alike, Blue Ruin follows Macon Blair’s Dwight who returns to his childhood home to carry out an act of revenge. However, the amateur assassin that he is means he is forced into brutal fight whereby protecting his family becomes more difficult than he could have imagined. Jeremy Saulnier puts this unlikely character at the forefront of this genre film, spurred on by a traumatising event. The end result will take your breath away.
Out of the Furnace (2013)
In Out of the Furnace (directed by Crazy Heart’s Scott Cooper), Christian Bale plays Russell Baze, a steel mill worker who is forced into a position where protecting those closest to him spurs wildly into a case of avenging those closest to him; embroiling himself into a murky underworld led by Woody Harrelson’s sociopathic drug dealer Harlan DeGroat, Baze must embed himself into a group of people in such a way that revenge will hit them most hard.
Out of the Furnace is released on Blu-ray and DVD on 2nd June 2014 from Lionsgate Home Entertainment
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