The early ’90s to early aughts were the heyday of director George Armitage, thanks to the critical huzzahs and decent box-office earnings generated by Miami Blues (’90) and Grosse Point Blank (’97).

Armitage began as an exploitation-level director in the ’70s. Alas, the reception to Vigilante Force (’76), a crude and schlocky drive-in flick that he wrote and directed and which subsequently tanked, earned poor George a 14-year stretch in movie jail. Then, as noted, he was out and fancy free during the ’90s.

But then Armitage wrote and directed The Big Bounce (’04), which did so poorly — $50 million to shoot, $6.8 million domestic box-office — that he was sent back to jail, and that time they threw away the key.

Vigilante Force “was the creation of writer and director George Armitage, who saw his career temporarily derailed when Vigilante Force flopped. It would take till 1990’s Miami Blues and then 1997’s Grosse Point Blank for him to get back on track, and by then it was too late for him to establish himself as anything but a cult curio with film buffs wondering what he might have achieved with more opportunities.” — from a review in the UK-based The Spinning Image.