As a kid, when you're backed into a corner, there's no greater power you can evoke than the systematic ass-kicking of a foe by your hairy-knuckled, beer-swilling Dad. Besides, even if you were bluffing, deep down you know your Pop would react similarly to the Dads in these picks.
• Death Wish (1974)-- When thugs, or as Charles Bronson calls them, "freaks" (including a young Jeff Goldblum) attack and sexually assault a mild-mannered architect's (Bronson) wife and daughter, he takes justice by the balls and squeezes hard. Vigilante justice never tasted better than in this, the first course of a veritable buffet of hard-boiled revenge stories.
• Hardcore (1979) George C. Scott stars as a Midwestern furniture mogul whose daughter bites off more than she can chew and becomes entangled in a web of (gasp!) hardcore pornography. Scott handles this as any father would; he flies to California and pummels the crap out of every freak that has even heard of his daughter.
• A Time to Kill (1996)--This is, annoyingly, one of those mid-'90s John Grisham courtroom drama thingies. Samuel Jackson plays Carl Lee Hailey, whose daughter is brutally attacked by redneck hillbillies. Things really get interesting as Jackson blasts his way to satisfaction and, subsequently, jail. Southern fried politics and strained race relations ensue as Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock, and Kevin Spacey try to act their way out of this jambalaya of moral questions.
• Wasabi (2001)--From the furious French team who brought us The Professional, writer Luc Besson and badass actor Jean Reno team up once again for action in this surprisingly cute (!?) comedy/thriller. Detective Hubert (Reno) gets mysteriously called back to the land of the rising sun after a 19-year absence. Back in Japan, he meets his long lost 19-year-old daughter and her long lost off-shore account, which he must protect from the (gasp!) Yakuza. LANCE CHESS