When radio host Erica Bain (Jodie Foster) and her boyfriend take an evening stroll through New York’s Central Park only to end up mugged, bashed and - in the boyfriend’s case – killed, you could be forgiven for not knowing what’s next. When Erica is so scarred by the experience the only way she can feel safe is to buy a gun, things start to become a little clearer. And when she shoots a crazed gunman in a convenience store, there’s no doubt about it: you’re watching a good old-fashioned vigilante movie.
Director Neil Jordan ticks all the boxes in this gender-reversed Death Wish clone: crime rules the streets, rape-crazed gangs prowl the subways, and only one woman with a gun dares to put things right. The vigilante genre has lost some of its social relevance in these law-abiding times, but its taking-out-the-trash cliches still pack a punch and they’re well-handled here. Foster is the one who makes this straight-to-DVD material live, with a powerfully heartfelt performance that is often simply too good for the cheesy script she’s working with. And how does she get to be such a good shot?