Plot: Ike Slayton (Brad Davis) is the sheriff of a small town in New Mexico, not to mention a newly married man. His wife happens to be the local prosecutor, so the union has more justice than most. But wedded bliss soon comes to an end, when a prison break unleashes a horde of dangerous criminals. One of the prisoners, a deranged killer and rapist, leads a band of convicts that kidnaps Ike’s wife and some other townsfolk. In time, the National Guard arrives to sort out the situation, which leads to an intense stand off of sorts. Now Ike has to navigate this mess in order to save his wife and his town.
Entertainment Value: This 1991 epic boasts one of the more unusual casts around. An esemble that includes Brad Davis, Yaphet Kotto, James Tolkan, Lou Ferrigno, Jan-Michael Vincent, Lyle Alzado, George Kennedy, Ken Foree, and more. Imagine a low budget 90s version of The Expendables, only with C level stars. Some of these guys have only small roles, but even so, this is about as eclectic a cast as you’ll see. Jan Michael-Vincent is hilarious in Hangfire, with some memorable lines and a tough guy performance that adds immense entertainment value.
The plot is of course not remarkable, but it does what it needs to do, which is set up the action scenes. Hangfire has a good amount of violence and gunfights, though not as many fisticuffs as I’d hoped. With a cast like this one, I really hoped for more interesting one on one confrontations. Even so, the action scenes are entertaining and given the film’s low budget, that is a minor miracle. Suffice it to say a wide scope of violence is on showcase, much as you’d expect. This is not a slick action movie, but the low rent special effects are hilarious. Not one for those only after scares or rampant gore, but for fans of 80s style action movies (I know this was 1991), Hangfire is actually pretty solid entertainment.
Overall Insanity: 3/10