I watched FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE some years ago on a n-th generation videotape and despite the atrocious picture quality it made an enormous impression on me. Luckily there is now this definite UNCUT edition of this 1977 grindhouse classic available on a great looking DVD from Blue Underground, so I did not hestitate to upgrade.
A word of caution: FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE is not for easily offended viewers.
The plot has three vicious scumbag criminals - a racist hate-filled white sadist, an Asian American and a Latino - escape, when the prison truck transporting them is involved in a traffic accident. They shoot a prison guard, hijack a pimp's car and flee to the countryside. Needless to say that they commit some violent crimes along the way, until finally they take an African American family hostage. A nightmare of sadism, racist degradation, humilation and rape for the black family begins, and two white friends of the family (a young woman and a boy) visiting are brutally murdered by one of the home invaders. Finally police, led by a tough cop nicknamed "Rulebook" REILLY, siege the family's home. I don't want to give the end away, but the promotional tagline "They took it until they couldn't take any more!" already indicates that it's comeuppance time for the baddies...
Wow! What a sick and sleazy grindhouse movie! It is genuinely shocking, in no small part due to the powerhouse performance delivered by William SANDERSON as ultra-violent racist. He is extremely convincing in his role, calling his victims every name in the book and constantly shouting racist insults and comments (which I am not allowed to quote here). If there was an Academy Award for most abundant use of foul language in a movie, FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE would undoubtedly win it.
Needless to say it is very violent, particularly in the scene, where the small boy is beaten to death with a stone.
Watch at your own risk!
Some words on the DVD: print quality is great, and there are some nice extra features. There are three trailers (one aimed at a white audience highlighting the crime aspect, another aimed at black audiences with emphasis on the Afro-American family's revenge and a so-called teaser trailer, which strangely consists of a single still). Forget the teaser trailer. The other two are very good, but both give away too much. The trailers are basically a 3 minute version of the movie, so you better don't watch them before the main feature. There are also TV-spots, an audiocommentary (on which I can not comment, since I did not listen to it) and a very nice still gallery, consisting of poster artwork, a newspaper ad, videotape covers and lobby cards of mostly German origin, where FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE played theatres under the title of AUSBRUCH ZUR HÖLLE (= escape to hell).
A hugely recommended DVD!