The Danger That One Man Can Do
We talk alot in Grindhouse films about a genre called "bad ass films" this the subgenre, normally connected to revenge films, movies like Jaws and Orca and the like are placed, but bad ass films aren't always exactly about revenge, its also the subgenre were you find alot of movies by actors like Steve McQueen, Richard Roundtree, Charles Bronson, and even Chuck Norris to some extent, and though these films, normally about some one man army going to take revenge on a person or a group of people, who done them wrong in the past were a staple of the drive in movies and grindhouse theaters from the early days all the way to the end in the mid 1980s when most of the theaters and drive ins were crushed by the rise of the multiplex, the greatest example, and possible the greatest of the whole subgenre was made years later, filmed in 1992, ironically starting production only days before the LA Riots broke out, and being brought to theaters in 1993, came a film thats not often talked about these days, but to those who remember it, see it as a classic with no equal. I am talking ofcourse about what most see as the greatest role of Micheal Douglas' career, the film Falling Down.
A Patrolmen drives up to William's car, and after talking to the man behind him in traffic, attempts to move it out of the way, Prentergast who is several cars behind at this point walks up and after flashing his badge to the rather rude patrolman helps move the car off the highway so cars can get by, he notices William's custom plates "D-Fens" and finds it odd, before going back to his car after helping move traffic through gridlock. William starts to walk toward his former home in Venice from this point, he walks through a highly dangerous gang area, and sits on an old cement sewer junction on a hill the city just left there, and is now covered in graffiti, he fixes a hole in his shoe with an old newspaper he's taken out of his briefcase and drinks his soda, as he does this, two gang members circle him, and after threatening him, he tries to talk his way out of an incident, instead of just letting him go, they demand he give them his briefcase, he tells them they really shouldn't push him, but one pulls a knife on him, and as he goes to get the briefcase, he instead gets his stolen baseball bat, and beats the hell out of the two of them. breaking one of them's arm as he runs off William yells "Im going the fuck home! clear a path!" as he throws the baseball bat at him, William then picks up the knife that was pulled on him and puts it in his pocket continuing his journey as if nothing had happened. William calls his exwife again, and this time speaks to her, as she explains he's not welcome there, he tries to explain to her that he's coming home, that he's coming home to see his daughter, his exwife again states he's not welcome there, but he doesn't listen, he tells her he's coming home.
Next is the most remembered scene in this entire film, William walks into Whammy Burger, which is clearly ment to be McDonald's, and orders some breakfast, he's told they are no longer serving breakfast, they stopped at 11:30am, William looks at his watch, its 11:33am. He becomes angry, and after a talk with the manager who was rather rude and condescending, William reaches into his gym bag and pulls out a Tech 9 machine gun and starts to yell about how stupid of a rule that is and how all he wants is some breakfast, the packed restaurant screams in panic and the staff freeze in place, as he rants about how he hates that manor of business, he accidentally pulls the trigger on the gun, shooting several rounds into the ceiling, to which they all yell in terror, and he panics saying it was an accident. William then changes his mind and stays instead he'll have a burger, to which he opens it and discovers not a nice juicy looking patty thats on the picture over the counter, but a small flattened sloppily put together burger that looks kind of uneatable. He then yells "See, this is what I'm talking about" and contiues on with his ranting, walking around the eating area asking people how they like the food, one woman vomits and he jokes "I guess she didn't like the special sauce rick.." to the manager. He then pays for his food and leaves.
At this point Prentergast is completely sure there is a pattern to all this random violence, and he gets his former partner Torres to give him the details on the fast food incident, which she does, must to the disapproval of her new partner, who seems to do nothing but annoy her. He starts to map out the locations, and notices they're all kind of in a line can he can track the path. William again calls his exwife, this time to tell her again he's coming to see his daughter, she tells him the police are there, when he asks to speak to one, she hangs up the phone, telling him she's bluffing. As William walks out of the phone booth he's verbally assaulted by a man claiming he was taking to long and that others wanted to use the phone, calling him rude and many things, William takes out the tech 9 again and shoots the phone booth till its nothing but a pile of shattered glass and bullet filled metal, he then says to the man "I think its out of order". William then walks past a bank where a black man is outside protesting that they aren't giving him a loan even after 7 years of being a customer because he's not "economically viable", as this happens, William buys his daughter a snowglobe, he then watches the police take the protester away, as he drives by William he says "don't forget me." William nods his head as if to say he won't.
Once the call comes in about the phone booth, Prentergast is completely sure there is a pattern and before Torres can tell him where the phone booth is, he guesses the general area, which is correct, he then tells Torres they're going to start at the first point and look for what could be happening. They drive to the market, Prentergast recognizes the billboard he saw on the highway that morning, he then remembers the car, and the plates, they look them up and get William's name and address, they go and talk to his mother, and then discover the bleak homelife that William has, and his mentally unstable mother is shocked when they call his employer and discover he'd been fired a month before hand. Back at the station Prentergast and Torres get the call about the shop owner, Torres says "I was just over there.. the owner is a real prick.." she's then told he's dead, realizing she might have been killed, then adding the golf course and the people nextdoor to the course, they discover where William's path is taking them, to his old home in Venice, right on the peer. As they're going to leave, Torres' new partner gets a party set up for Prentergast with a cake and stripper, after he says they need to go, Torres' partner makes a crack about Prentergast's wife, Prentergast punches him in the face knocking him cold, they then leave to head to Venice. As they do this, William crosses a construction area and after getting the foreman to admit there is nothing wrong with the street and its just to waist budget money, he blows up a water main with the rocket launcher he took from the pawn shop owner.
William calls his exwife one last time, telling her he is right around the corner, to which his wife grabs her daughter and runs out of the house, they run out the back door and out of the yard as William runs in the front door. William sits in the house for awhile, watching old videos of them, he notices his anger in some of them and realizes that he's caused al of this pain and destruction, and there is no coming back from this. He then realizes that his exwife and daughter are hiding on the peer, he rushes out to find them, and once he does, he pulls out a gun and everyone leaves. As William tries to pleed his case to his exwife, of how he just wanted to see his family, Prentergast shows up, and after a big monologue and stand off, Prentergast shots William dead when he reaches to pull out what turns out to be a watergun. "I woulda got you.." William says as his body falls into the sea.
From there the movie ends, and you're left to ponder just how out of the realm of possibility is this movie, which I find to be chilling really, the fact its possible gives it a kind of Last House On The Left kind of feel to it, where you know its possible that it could happen anywhere to anyone with a temper. Its blunt, its violent, and its completely insane and if you haven't seen Falling Down, you really need too. Its a true classic. Keep in mind also, there is a TON in this movie I didn't mention in my review, as to add to the surprise factor of it, its a truly deep film and you gotta look through it afew times before you truly get it all. Also, fun note, William Foster is the visual basis for both the character of Hank Hill on King Of The Hill, and Noah Bennet on Heroes, two things I always found kinda neat.
Sorry some of the images aren't working, you'd be amazed at for such a well spoke of movie around the internet, there is almost no pictures of it anywhere...