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Movie Review

Release Date: 05/17/22
(In Cinemas / VOD / REDBOX)
Genre: Action/Thriller

Studio: Redbox Entertainment


"In Vendetta, after his teenage daughter is killed during a random gang initiation, ex-Marine William Duncan (Clive Standen) is left devastated and vengeful when her killer is acquitted and set free. Taking matters into his own hands, he exacts revenge on the gang member, unknowingly sparking a war with the man's violent brother (Theo Rossi) and father (Bruce Willis)."


Twenty years ago, if you would have told me that Bruce Willis was appearing as an antagonistic crime boss in a revenge thriller, I would’ve been excited. Today, that does just about as much for me as a free sample at Costco. Now, that’s not a swipe at Willis, but rather a swipe at the genre itself. 


Revenge thrillers have become as common and generic as micro budget horror films. While horror films at least switch up scenarios and the supernatural threats its characters face, revenge thrillers only ever swap around the old A-list actors that star in them.


Once again, that’s not a swipe at Bruce Willis. Work is work. And if it’s any consolation, it’s as if he’s the only one putting in any effort in his latest, Redbox’s Vendetta.


Just by the title alone, you can probably tell that Vendetta is a by-the-books revenge film. I mean, vendetta is literally another word for revenge. But trust me, the title is only a taste of what’s to come.


The film revolves around a seemingly simple family man, played by Clive Standen, whose life is turned upside down when his innocent daughter is murdered at the hands of the local mob.


Admittedly the film does slightly deviate from the genre’s formula after this. Surprisingly, we don’t get to see the father spend the remaining runtime trying to catch the killer. Instead, the killer is caught immediately after the shooting and is put on trial. After learning that the killer is most likely only going to be imprisoned for a few years, the father lies and tells the judge that the cops arrested the wrong man. This allows the man to be put back on the street. And that is where the father takes matters into his own hands. However, that thirst for justice only sets off another chain reaction of violent events.


Despite its minor detour, the film quickly slips back into mundanity. I wish I was exaggerating, but one of the biggest indications of the film’s lack of originality is the fact that our main character has a “secret set of skills”. A former marine, he retired in favor of a normal life. Sound familiar? 


You may not be able to guess how some events will unfold, but a majority of the film’s beats are very predictable. In fact, the only two things I didn’t entirely expect were how dumb the film’s antagonists are and that random Mike Tyson cameo. In regards to the latter, I’m still confused, but it’s nowhere near as confusing seeing several of the film’s bad guys commit murder in public and in broad daylight. What’s even more baffling is how each time one of these incidents happen outdoors there are never any witnesses.


That summarizes the film’s second biggest flaw. Far too often, it favors convenience over logic. But it’s so nonsensical at times that I’m sure even the most casual moviegoer will get frustrated.


As I said before, Bruce Willis is the film’s only bright spot. And that’s not an easy sentence to write, especially with co-stars like Thomas Jane and Theo Rossi in this. Jane, who has seemingly made a habit of appearing in these VOD genre films, used to be a fun actor to watch. Here, he’s reduced to a stereotypical tough guy that helps Standen’s character punish Willis’ crew. Theo Rossi, who also appears as the son of Willis’ character, also seems to be phoning it in here. Now, there are some really interesting interactions with Willis throughout the film, but by the end the energy - like him - just fizzles out. 


It's not that Vendetta is bad, but it’s also the furthest from good. If you’re in the mood for a mindlessly entertaining action film, Vendetta is probably not for you. If you’re looking for a decent- by-the-books revenge thriller, Vendetta probably also isn’t for you. Truth be told, I don’t know who this movie was made for, but it exists. While I’d love to say that there’s an audience for it, that's like saying there’s an audience for Paid Programming. While I’m sure some people will find this film, and watch it, and like it, personally I wouldn’t even show it to my worst enemy.

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