US, 1985, 93 minutes, Colour.
Betsy Russell, Rory Calhoun, Robert F.Lyons, Susan Tyrell, Ossie Davis.
Directed by Robert Vincent O'Neill.
Avenging Angel is a sequel to the unexpectedly popular vigilante film Angel. The first film was about a high school girl who survives by prostitution on Hollywood Boulevard. She is protected by a policeman who helps her in her violent confrontation with a psychotic killer. what made the film interesting was that, while it resembled a television episode of a police series, it had verve, took itself fairly seriously but not too seriously. It also had a range of offbeat characters including Susan Tyrell as a rather foulmouthed but lovable lesbian artist, Rory Calhoun as an old stuntman wandering the streets of Los Angeles in cowboy gear and Dick Shawn as a transvestite.
The idea of the sequel works fairly well. It is much less grim than the original. The targets are Mafia type criminals. However, Angel has grown up and is studying to be a lawyer. While she doesn't go back onto the street, she can assume the disguise to get information (and rescue a 13 year old Midwestern girl from a fate worse than death). Susan Tyrell and Rory Calhoun are back and enter with vigour into all
1. An entertaining sequel? In itself? Connections with the original? Action thriller? Offbeat style?
2. The background of Hollywood and Los Angeles - clean dirty? The vice world and the film's panorama, the streets, the police, the criminals? The blend of action, comedy, stunt work? The strong use of music for atmosphere, for particular sequences?
3. The title and its meaning, tone, justice, vengeance, the role of the police?
4. The tone: serious, funny, sentimental, observation of '80s life in Los Angeles? Its stances? Vigilante? Collaboration with the police? The role of citizens in citizens' arrests?
5. The basic situation: Andrews and his protection of Molly, interested in her career? The track event? The law students and their mock trial? Andrews and his police work, his death?
6. The situation: the detective trying to protect the policewoman disguised as the prostitute, the family sequence. audiences thinking the girl was a prostitute and discovering she was a policewoman? The violent murders? Andrews' death? Johnny Glitter as a witness?
7. The sketch of the killers, their ride in the car, their professionalism, heavy weapons. the murders? The Gerrard family? The real estate questions, the exercise of power, father and son and the dynasty, the hold over the thugs? Gerrard's prejudice? The affluent background, classical music? Playing with peoples' lives? The final confrontation and defeat?
8. Angel and her study, the prospects for her life, the law? The news of Andrews' death? Finding Yo-yo? His taking her to Solly? The comic rescue of Kit Carson from the sanatorium? The violent rescue of Glitter from the refuge? Her decision to go on the streets again for information, dressing up? Her being arrested with the girls? The antagonism with Baylor, her being set up to expose him as criminal? Her being chased on the parking lot? The final confrontation with Gerrard? Her vigilante action? Getting the street people to help her? The discussions with the officer? Combining forces with the police? Moral stances?
9. Angela as a character, student, ex-street girl, her study, the law and her ability to quote it to Baylor, her study in the library?
10. Her friendship with Kit Carson? Rory Calhoun's characterising Kit? Age, part senility, part nostalgia? The traditions of the western films? His hospitalisation, the comedy of the rescue? His legends? His ability at shooting? The rescue of Johnny Glitter? Friendship with Solly, love for the baby? His homely style? Failing and succeeding in the confrontation with Gerrard?
11. Solly and her eccentricities, painting and art, the hearse from the pet cemetery and using it for the rescue, the baby and her care for it, the transvestites babysitting? Her joining in the action? Her effectiveness in the final confrontation? Eccentric comic character?
12. Johnny Glitter and his street style, happiness and glitter? The reality of the deaths? Comedy about the driving of the hearse, his being wounded? Participation in the dangers? Yoyo and his entertainment on the streets? Helping Angel? The assembling of the eccentric group of street people, their mannerisms, entertainment style ? and watching to identify the killers?
13. The sketch of the police, Ossie Davis as the officer, the crooked policeman, the set-up?
14. The derelicts and the refuge, the eccentric characters. the hookers, the young girl and her being rescued from the killer, her being sent home to her sister by Angel?
15. A film highlighting American crime in the streets, the rise of vigilante groups? Its social concern? Popular style - but grimmer than television series? Message?