aka: Blood Bath at 1313 Fury Road, Getting Even, Held Hostage, Hostage, I Hate Your Guts, Straying Alive, The Hostage’s Bloody Revenge
Director: Robert A. Endelson
Starring: Robert Judd, Catherine Peppers, Lela Small, Yvonne Ross, Reggie Rock Bythewood
There is no greater violence than a father’s revenge for the rape of his daughter
Jessie Lee, Ling and Chino are three violent criminals who have managed to escape from prison. The deadly trio goes on a robbing and killing spree, which includes shooting down a store owner in front of his infant before they take a young black girl named Corrie Turner hostage and pressures her into bringing them back to the house where her family lives.
She has a very caring and religious family, with the father being a local priest. Their belief in God will be tested when the criminals enter their home and takes them hostage. They continue to brutally humiliate and racially abuse them for as long as they can until the family gets a chance to turn things around.
Fight For Your Life is the result of mixing The Last House on the Left with the blaxploitation genre. If you think Quentin Tarantino films has some racist dialogue, then you’ve never seen this one. I can’t even imagine this being allowed to play in theaters in 2013 and I can promise you that there would be no controversy surrounding Django Unleashed if people who was upset by that one got their eyes on this unknown exploitation classic.
I have to wonder what made screenwriter Straw Weisman create such a crazy script like this. It almost feels like he injected every racial insult he could in the dialogue, but also wasn’t just satisfied by creating a shocking story but also wanted to create realistic and diverse characters. This mixed with director Robert A. Endelson’s knowledge that shock sells was able to create this unique little film. I’m not gonna list all the atrocities that happen in this film, but ask yourself when is the last time you saw a film with a guy killing a child by smashing his head with a rock?
Aside from the solid direction by Endelson, the film also works because of the good performances by its cast. William Sanderson, more known for his work on Blade Runner and the television show Newhart, absolutely nails the role as Jessie Lee. He is so into his role as this sleazy, white trash racist criminal that it looks like he is having the time of his life and enjoying every trashy racial line he delivers towards the poor black family members. Hell, he even spits out racism towards his two criminal friends since Chino is latin and Ling is asian.
I also have to praise the black actors who played the Turner family. It couldn’t be easy to take part in a film like this, but they all seemed to be 100% professional and deliver great performances, the exception being the child actor Reggie Rock Bythewood as the ten year old Floyd although I want to add that it is of course never easy to be an actor as a kid and few are able to handle it any better than what he did on this film.
Fight For Your Life is an offensive piece of Grindhouse history. It is executed very solid with some great acting performances and it is definitely a movie you could never imagine being made today. Fans of Grindhouse films should already own this film, it is a true classic piece of exploitation cinema.