Watch Now: THE GLADIATOR
Famous for neo-noirs such as King of New York (1990) and Bad Lieutenant (1992), as well as independent films like The Addiction (1995) and The Funeral (1996), American filmmaker Abel Ferrara has always known how to push the audience's buttons instead of simply fulfilling their expectations. In 1986, he made a vigilante film called The Gladiator, intending for it to be released in theaters, but Showtime Networks bought the movie and aired it on ABC Television instead. Ferrara’s action film follows mechanic Rick Benton whose brother dies at the hands of an assassin taking pleasure in running down motorists.
Determined to avenge his deceased sibling, Rick decides to take the law into his own hands by going after drunk drivers who roam the streets of Los Angeles at night. Armed with his customized pick-up truck, Rick becomes known as the Gladiator—and while he is busy seeking out the man who killed his brother, the police are in the midst of pursuing the enraged retaliator. Starring Ken Wahl, Nancy Allen and Brian Robbins, The Gladiator is an exciting film that subverts the male vigilante trope ever so slightly, by having the male protagonist avenge the death of another male character, as opposed to that of a woman.