Posted: 04/02/2006




by Del Harvey

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When a young American aid volunteer, Ricky Colenso, is brutally murdered in the former Yugoslavia, his grandfather, Canadian billionaire Steven Edmond, is bent on revenge. Embarking on his personal quest to find Ricky’s murderer leads Edmond to Cal Dexter, ex-Vietnam Special Forces and the one man who can bring the killer to justice. But soon this personal tragedy explodes into a terrifying drama on the centre stage of world terrorism.

Frederick Forsythe’s works are highly revered for their strong characters, excitement and intrigue. Books such as The Day of the Jackal are considered classics of the genre; a benchmark by which others are measured.

Now TNT brings an original movie adaptation of another Forsythe novel, Avenger, to the screen. Although not as well known, Avenger is, in many ways, more contemporary than many of the author’s other works. It speaks to the involvement by big nations in the inner workings of foreign nations, and the somewhat cavalier attitude we Americans have of entering into other countries at will and exerting our influence or exacting a personal vendetta. It is the latter which is the central focus of Avenger.

Sam Elliott, flinty masculine type that he is, portrays the titular Avenger, although he is never called that by any of the cast. That codeword is used in advertisements placed in flying magazines. For example, anyone seeking an old Avenger aircraft simply places a cryptic ad in this magazine, to which he subscribes, and he will contact them immediately. Dexter is a simple attorney in Washington D.C. Or so it seems to most. He is also ex-Special Forces, one of those “tunnel rats” from the Vietnam War era. Dexter’s personal need for revenge is driven by the loss of his daughter at the hands of a black marketer who coerced her into believing he loved her. Taking vengeance upon this man was not enough, so he offers himself for hire to whomever needs his services. As the quest takes Dexter around the globe, CIA agent Frank McBride (Timothy Hutton) must stop him before his mission of vengeance throws the world into chaos.

Justice finds a new definition in TNT’s AVENGER, an international thriller based on the bestselling novel by legendary author Frederick Forsyth (The Day of the Jackal, The Fist of God). Emmy nominee Sam Elliott (Mask, We Were Soldiers, TNT’s Conagher) stars in the taut drama about a former Special Forces operative who hires himself out to those seeking justice for the violent murders of loved ones. Oscar winner Timothy Hutton (Ordinary People, Kinsey) and Oscar nominee James Cromwell (Babe, TNT’s Salem’s Lot) co-star. The two-hour TNT Original will premiere Sunday, April 9, at 8 p.m. (ET/PT).

Executive produced by Wolfgang Petersen and starring Sam Elliott, Timothy Hutton, and James Cromwell, Avenger premieres Sunday, April 9, 8:00PM ET.

Click here for the TNT official website: Avenger

Del Harvey is a film critic and screenwriter in Chicago.

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