Parole Violators (1994)

Parole Violators (1994)- * * *1\2

Directed by: Patrick G. Donahue

Starring: Sean Donahue, Pamela Bosley, Harvier Mims, Joe Edwards, and Lindsey Rhodeos

"It looks like you got into a fight with a pizza."- Tracy

Miles Long (Donahue) is a guy who really cares about his community. A former police officer, he now hosts his own TV show where he chases down PAROLE VIOLATORS, films them personally with his video camera, and, if need be, beats them up. He inexplicably wears a black ninja mask while taping even though he is the host of the show and everyone knows who he is. His night of filming usually ends with him duct-taping the baddies to a pole and writing the words “parole violator” on the bare chests of said baddies with a black marker. The area police are familiar with this local pole and check it regularly for the latest prey of Long, known in the community as “Video Cop.” Video Cop is in a relationship with policewoman Tracy Dodd (Bosley), and when her daughter Susan (Rhodeos) is kidnapped by some thugs that Long had put in prison in his former life as a regular cop, his raging hatred for parole violators kicks into full gear. Teaming up with Tracy, the pair go on a mission of rescue/revenge, and all the local baddies should know that their comeuppance is going to be MILES LONG!

Parole Violators is a wildly fun and entertaining gem in the vein of Samurai Cop (1991), Miami Connection (1987), or Geteven (1993). But would you expect anything less from the great and hugely underrated filmmaker Patrick G. Donahue? This wonderful man gave us the great Kill Squad (1982), as well as Savage Instinct (1991), also starring his son Sean, as this movie does. Both he and this movie as a whole are very Ron Marchini-esque.

Miles Long is a scrappy Martial Artist who just wants to play horseshoes in the park while wearing his large purple windbreaker. Instead, evildoers are kidnapping girls all around him and he is forced to snap into action. He can take a lot of damage, as he is constantly being punched, kicked, thrown off multiple cliffs and run over by multiple cars. But nothing will stop him on his mission. His serious-minded mullet is all business and you better not get in his way. Naturally there is the time-honored barfight - featuring a bouncer whose name is…Bouncer (Harvier Mims) – and an awesome Final Warehouse Fight. There’s also a goon whose name is Goon (Edwards). There are many, many scenes of Martial Arts fights and shooting. Choreographing and staging them were clearly a labor of love and it’s downright charming to watch.

The thing is, TV shows like Cops and America’s Most Wanted were hot at the time. The Donahue family (including actor Mike) just postulates what might happen if the host went from filming and talking about bad guys, to actually fighting them himself, mano-a-mano. It’s a great idea and it’s executed in a fantastically entertaining way. This movie was even ahead of its time in many respects – it predates current shows like Live P.D. by many years, and Miles Long is like a cross between Dexter and Louis Bloom, the main character of the fine film Nightcrawler (2014), as portrayed by Jake Gyllenhaal.

Most of the cast were one-timers who weren’t in any other movies. But if you’re going to be in one movie only, make it a winner, and they clearly did that with this diamond in the rough. Unfortunately, this got little to no distribution on VHS. It desperately needs to find a bigger audience, so here’s hoping a company like Vinegar Syndrome grants it a Blu-Ray release sometime in the future. For that winning combination of silly/awesome that is so addictive, seek out PAROLE VIOLATORS!

Comeuppance Review by: Ty and Brett


Deadly Breed (1989)

Deadly Breed (1989)- * * *

Directed by: Charles T. Kanganis

Starring: Blake Bahner, Addison Randall, Robert Gallo, Michele Berger, Rhonda Gray, Joe Verroca, and William Smith

Jake Walker (Bahner) is a parole officer with a heart of gold. Even though he works with the ex-cons of L.A.’s mean streets, he gives his parolees money out of his own pocket and gets them jobs working on cars with his Uncle Tony (Gallo). (Doesn’t everyone have an Uncle Tony?) He loves his job so much, it’s even causing marital problems between him and his wife Lana (Berger). Jake’s job suddenly becomes even more complicated when Kilpatrick (Randall) enters his life. Kilpatrick is a slightly creepy cop by day, and leader of a KKK-like white supremacist group by night. When Jake starts to notice that his beloved parolees are dropping like flies, he tries to figure out why. He enlists the help of fellow officers Vinnie (Verroca) and Alex (Gray) to get to the bottom of things. But he may have to go all the way to the top instead – perhaps to Captain (Smith) (That’s all he’s credited as). Has the KKK infiltrated the LAPD? And will Jake Walker be able to come face to face with – and put a stop to – this DEADLY BREED?

Deadly Breed is a quality PM outing from the golden year of 1989. Not only does it feature Blake Bahner at his absolute best, it also has Addison Randall at his absolute best. For those two reasons alone it is worth seeing. All the PM mainstays are behind the camera as well, and if you know and love PM movies (as we do) you will be comforted by this and recognize the familiar style. While most of the action is saved for the climax, the performances (especially Bahner and Randall), the interesting idea (psycho cult leader in the LAPD becomes obsessed with a humble parole officer), and the good pace by director Kanganis all add up to solid entertainment.

The great William Smith puts in a sit-down role (technically he stands up once), but it’s an excellent one. He truly was the B-movie Jack Palance and the man has charisma. You’ve got to love his “I gargle with razorblades” voice. We were certainly happy he was here to anchor things. The sidekick, Vinnie, looks like a more weathered Jason Bateman, and Alex, the female officer tasked with getting closer to Kilpatrick, resembles Karen Sheperd. Rhonda Gray, who played Alex, had a great year in 1989 (didn’t we all?) – that same year she was in the fantastic Shotgun (1989).

You know Kilpatrick is evil because he plays the piano intensely and shirtlessly. When he gives his pep speech to his fellow skinheads, the audience is struck by two things. One, how ahead of its time this movie is, and two, connected to that, how the makers of American History X (1998) MUST have seen this movie and gotten inspiration from it. That always happens – major movies borrow or steal ideas from B-movies, and the lowly B-movies never get the credit or accolades they deserve. Well, hopefully now, because of websites like ours and others, that can be rectified, and video store-era gems like Deadly Breed can finally have their time in the sun.

It’s a joy to watch Blake Bahner as Jake – who really does put in an engaging performance here – transition from the office-bound PO with silly ties to his black-leather-jacketed revenge outfit. His turn as “action parole officer” is a far better role than his prior Brad Spyder movies, though you would never think so because Brad Spyder is such a cool name. Guess you can’t judge an action star by the name…at least not this time, anyway.

In the end, Deadly Breed is a fine example of what PM can do – an enjoyable movie made with a low budget, but with a lot of heart. We recommend it. 

Comeuppance Review by: Ty and Brett