Ministry of Vengeance
The motif is allied to Fritz Lang’s arabesques in the genre, such as Cloak and Dagger. Here the odd thing is a matter of alliances however tenuous between terrorists and CIA, exercising the professional patience of a Vietnam veteran long ago turned man of the cloth.
The events of Hangfire take place between a wedding and a honeymoon. The film begins, like Arthur Lubin’s Impact, with a definition of its title taken from a dictionary.
Sheriff Slayton (Brad Davis) is marrying Maria Montoya (Kim Delaney). Meanwhile, an aggressive tanker-truck driver crashes and burns, sending toxic gas toward a prison. During its evacuation, there is an escape. Kuttner (Lee de Broux) and his gang install themselves in the town.
Lt. Col. Johnson (Jan-Michael Vincent) of the Texas National Guard helicopters in. The sheriff, a veteran of “covert infiltrations,” goes in. Kuttner is a brutal rapist and murderer whose particular penchant is foreshadowed in Bretaigne Windust’s The Enforcer. Sheriff Slayton’s military tactics are an adaptation of Sergeant York stated as such.
The colonel is a bluff character who takes no prisoners. He’s played by Vincent as Gen. Dreedle in Catch-22. This is particularly brilliant because he’s no match for Orson Welles in stature and girth, and simply ignores the fact.