Vietnam… A fierce jungle inferno where countless American kids were forced to fight for ‘freedom’. A terrible, brutal and pointless war.
But also a ripe source of inspiration for movies both exploitative and more acceptable to mainstream tastes. Rolling Thunder is just such a story, a tale of one man’s descent into mad vengeance after returning from hell to find an America without a heart. In the late 70s and early 80s there was a spate of such films, as Hollywood and the Grindhouse producers saw a gap in the market for movies about angry ex-GIs with serious chips on murderous shoulders.
Think of The Exterminator, with it’s meat grinder revenge and ‘clean up the streets’ vigilantism or the truly shocking Z-grade horror of Combat Shock. In the mainstream, The Deer Hunter opened the door for less salubrious fare like Vigilante Force. Taxi Driver provides a slicker take on post-combat madness spirals but for the real, hook for hand, deal, nothing beats the incredible ROLLING THUNDER!