Mel Gibson is to revenge movies what Jenna Jameson is to porn. The man has spent half of his career playing characters hell-bent on getting payback. To drive the point home, one of his movies is actually called Payback. In his latest film, Edge of Darkness, Gibson continues to indulge his sadistic revenge fetish. Based on the British T.V. series of the same name, the film follows a cop hunting down the men who killed his daughter. After all, for a revenge film to work the protagonist has to experience a great tragedy. And when it comes to tragedy, the loss of a child is at the top of the list. With that in mind, we thought we’d take a look at the greatest parental revenge films of all time.
Mad Max (1979)
Mel Gibson’s career was launched with the success of Mad Max. Set in a not-too-distant dystopian future, the film follows a cop obsessed with killing the thugs who ran down his wife and child. Gibson went on to make numerous other revenge films, but none of them lived up to Mad Max. In all fairness, The Passion of the Christ, which depicts a group of righteous Jews taking their revenge on an insolent young upstart, comes close.
Enjoy this uplifting clip of Mad Max avenging the death of his boy.
Death Wish 2 (1982)
Paul Kersey just can’t catch break. While living in New York, Jeff Goldblum and his gang of thugs killed Kersey’s wife and raped his daughter. After taking his revenge, Kersey promptly packed up his now-catatonic daughter and left the crime-ridden streets of New York behind. Unfortunately he decided to make a fresh start on the crime-ridden streets of Los Angeles. Before long, Laurence Fishburne and his gang of thugs raped his daughter until she threw herself out a window onto a cast-iron spike. Good times.
Kersey’s loss is your gain. Here’s the trailer from Death Wish 2.
In Ransom, Mel Gibson plays multimillionaire airline owner Tom Mullen. When Mullen’s son is kidnapped, he decides to put a bounty on the kidnapper’s head rather than pay the ransom. Wackiness ensues.
To be honest, the film wouldn’t be on the list if not for the following line…
Friday the 13th (1980)
When some horny camp counselors leave a young Jason Voorhees unattended, he wanders into the lake and drowns. His mother, Mrs. Voorhees, deals with the grief in the only way she knows how: waiting 20 years and murdering a bunch of unrelated teenagers. We all cope with loss in our own way.
Here’s the trailer from the original Friday the 13th…
If you want a former Special Forces Colonel to help you lead a coup in South America, it’s probably not a good idea to kidnap his only daughter. The villains from Commando learn this lesson the hard way.
Poor Sully. As you’ll see in this trailer, he was a funny guy.
Last House on the Left (1972)
When Estelle Collingwood realizes that the stranded travelers staying at her home are responsible for her daughter’s murder, she does what any good mother would do: she lures one of the murderers into oral sex and then bites off his penis. That’s only the beginning of the sweet revenge inflicted upon the group of psychopaths in Last House on the Left.
Unfortunately, this trailer contains no genital mutilation.
The Patriot (2000)
Truth be told, I hate this movie even more than I hate myself. But my editor has a crush on Jason Issaacs, so I had to include it.
In this film, Mel Gibson plays Benjamin Martin, a farmer in eighteenth-century South Carolina who doesn’t own slaves. That’s like finding a Kardashian girl who doesn’t need Valtrex. Gibson’s character is reluctant to joi the American Revolution, but he quickly changes his mind once the British show up and burn down is house, kill his son, lock his neighbors in a church and burn them alive, and then kill his other son. I’m surprised the film didn’t depict the British starting a “Ye Olde Concentration Camp.”
While the ridiculously over-the-top actions of the British pave the way for some blood-soaked parental retribution, a film depicting the torture of director Roland Emmerich in retaliation for all of his awful films would have been far more satisfying.
Here’s the Trailer… (SPOILER ALERT – This Movie Sucks – unless you’re my editor)
Finding Nemo (2003)
When his son is kidnapped by a sadistic Australian dentist, Marlin the fish will stop at nothing to get him back. Battling sharks, turtles and jellyfish, Marlin fights his way to Sydney with the hope of killing the S.O.B. who stole his boy.
Here’s the exciting trailer for Finding Nemo.
Rolling Thunder (1977)
When Major Charles Rane (William Devane) returns home from a Vietnamese prison camp he receives a hero’s welcome. But the joyous homecoming comes to a halt when Rane finds out his wife is engaged to another man and his son doesn’t remember him. Disheartened by this turn of events, Rane grows disillusioned. But luckily a group of outlaws rob Rane, cutting off his hand and killing his son in the process. Rane survives the attack and gains a new sense of purpose as he hunts down and brutally kills the men who murdered his boy. I love happy endings.
Here’s the trailer from Rolling Thunder.
Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004)
In Kill Bill Vol. 1, the Bride awakes from her coma and sets out to avenge the loss of her unborn daughter. She doesn’t find out that the child is actually alive until Vol. 2, but that information doesn’t change her bloody quest for revenge. From popped eyeballs to exploding hearts, the Bride pulls out all the tricks in her deadly arsenal in order to find her daughter and kill Bill.
Here’s the trailer…