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  Vendetta Fist Meet Face
Year: 2015
Director: Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska
Stars: Dean Cain, Paul Wight, Michael Eklund, Benjamin Hollingsworth, Adrian Holmes, Matthew McCaull, Kyra Zagorsky, Aleks Paunovic, Jonathan Walker, Dee Jay Jackson, Juan Riedinger, Leo Rano, David Allan Pearson, Garfield Wilson, William Stewart, Uros Certic
Genre: Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Mason Danvers (Dean Cain) was a cop who had spent a long time tracking down criminal Victor Abbott (Paul Wight), and cornered him with his police partner in a deserted factory, shooting him in the leg to slow him down. It worked, and Abbott was taken into custody along with his brother, though he menacingly told Danvers "I'll see you soon!", but it would be three months of incarceration before Abbott was released when the prosecution's main witness refused to testify. It was then the lawman's life went to Hell, as the villain visited his house and beat his pregnant wife to death, so now Danvers must weigh his options, and an act of vengeance is his choice...

The twin directors Jen Soska and Sylvia Soska ended their two-movie contract with the World Wrestling Entertainment bunch with this disappointing effort that displayed none of the personality of their previous movies. As they had made their names in cultdom as horror film creators, there was little of that variety for them to get their teeth into, and the screenplay by Jeremy Shady quickly settled into a repetitive cycle of violence, which at least saw those scenes wake up the sisters and encourage them to deliver a more enthusiastic reading of the moment than the other sequences which contained not much else but dry, intense conversation.

Not what you would want from them if you had appreciated their shockers, even if you were a gorehound, as there was a lack of invention in the more kinetic parts where you knew Danvers had to survive till the end or else there would be no story, yet you had trouble staying interested up until that point. It was not as if the script relied on clich├ęs, it was more there was a method of writing a prison action movie going back to Brute Force, even The Big House, that everyone here was evidently reluctant to alter, leaving a deeply formulaic experience that was purely notable for the bloodshed, yet could not be mistaken for a horror anyway, not even a Gothic gaol piece.

That's not to say it was deathly boring, things did happen in it, but it was not exactly exciting either. Cain was still riding on his former life as one of the most mediocre Supermans (Supermen?) when the nineties television series shot him to fame but did more for his Lois Lane screen partner Teri Hatcher than the man with the title role. This had parlayed into a career essaying low wattage action heroes largely in straight to DVD (or streaming, latterly) flicks which this was more or less one, and here it appeared he had not kept up his strict keep fit regime as not only did he never take his shirt off at any time, but he seemed out of shape for a man who supposedly could take on a man mountain like professional wrestler Wight, who patently had gotten into shape despite being a bulky guy in the first place.

The plot had a contrivance to put Danvers and Abbott in the same prison, on the same block no less, which whitewashed how farfetched that was with a conspiracy where the warden, Snyder (Michael Eklund), has deliberately ensured these two will have ample opportunity to have at each other should the chance arise. In the meantime, Danvers picked off Abbott's henchmen one by one, purely after they had come after him in the first place, mind you, either using his fists or improvises weapons like a sharpened pen, offering the Soskas a try at raising the adrenaline levels with their flair for violence in the movies. Nevertheless, Vendetta never took off as a thriller, it plodded when it should have been far more fleet of foot, and the self-seriousness weighed the tone down to the point of being listless, or developing that sensation in the viewer, unless they had never seen a prison action movie before and this was all truly new to them. Fair enough, try something different, Soskas, but choose something that plays to your strengths, not this. Music by The Newton Brothers.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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