Director Mike P. Nelson’s “The Retirement of Joe Corduroy” is a fantastic throwback to the revenge films of the seventies, mixing “Death Wish” with a dash of “Taxi Driver” for good measure. I didn’t think Director Nelson could really offer anything new for a plot about a middle aged avenger, but lo and behold I gazed in awe in the final minutes of the film that were immensely trippy in the grand tradition of the seventies.
Filled with a grindhouse flavor, “The Retirement of Joe Corduroy” garners a genuine host of complex and interesting characters, as well as a unique sense of narrative that doesn’t over explain everything for the audience. It has a limited time to convey why Joe Corduroy is walking the streets gunning down thugs, and director Nelson handles it with subtlety and finesse. We learn of Corduroy’s past through flashbacks, as he thinks back to his only really close relative, his nephew Spencer. A dentist on the verge of retirement, Corduroy spends his free time with his nephew Spencer, and is facing the fact that he’s soon going to be shipping off to the military.
Corduroy gives him a mauser gun for his birthday, to which both men share their fondness for the military and fire arms one night. Sadly, Spencer is mugged in an alley and beaten near death in an effort to perform a good deed for a bar patron. Now comatose, his uncle begins stalking the streets with his mauser, luring thugs and criminals and shooting them down mercilessly. Rich Reeder gives an excellent performance as the embittered and lonely Joe Corduroy, whose life is filled with alienation, save for his nephew who bonds with him over common interests involving weaponry and the war. Joe seeks not only to find the man who hurt his nephew, but to hurt every person looking to hurt innocent people.
There are some wonderfully staged gun fights in the film with excellent special effects, and a dynamic sense of energy behind every quest from Joe to strike down criminals of all kinds. “The Retirement of Joe Corduroy” really could have used twenty more minutes, only because Director Nelson’s script is just so damn good. I wanted so much more of this premise and from Mr. Reeder’s character. There’s a lot of creativity and dynamic action behind this film, and for fans of films like “Death Wish,” “Ms. 45,” or “Taxi Driver,” Mike P. Nelson’s thriller will really satisfy its intended audience. When you gaze at the final five minutes of the film in all its seventies trippiness, you’ll definitely be asking when we’ll see another film from Director Mike P. Nelson. I can’t wait to see what he has to offer movie fans next.