“Suffers tremendously from flawed plot and poor execution.”
Dean Cain stars as an ex-cop seeking vengeance for his wife’s death in Vendetta, an action film directed by sisters Jen and Sylvia Soska. The film has quite an interesting prologue. Two police cops, Mason Danvers (Cain) and Joel Gainer (Ben Hollingsworth) receive information about two criminals. Immediately, the fighting duo follows the bad guys into an abandoned building where a brief gunfight ensues. They apprehend the two thugs and while being taken away, Victor Abbott (Paul “Big Show” Wight) threatens Danvers of taking his revenge. What follows afterwards is a mind-blowing and energy-draining sequence of illogical and irrational events.
The case is taken to court but due to the disappearance of the witness, the two criminals are acquitted. When Mason calls his wife on the phone, a different voice answers. Enlisting Joel’s help, Mason instantly goes home only to see his wife dead and bloodied in the hands of Victor. Victor is sent to prison, and extracting his own revenge, Mason murders the former’s brother. Incidentally, Mason is delivered to the same prison as Victor’s. Now, it is Mason’s lonely crusade not only against Victor but to his hordes of gangsters as well. But soon, Mason will learn that Victor is only a pawn in the game and that the head of the snake is only lurking in the shadows.
Vendetta suffers from a number of things. For one, it has a very flawed plot with plenty of incoherent and illogical ideas. It does not make sense why Victor lets himself get caught red-handed in the beginning. He could have easily killed Mason’s wife and run off. To fight him off, Mason follows him into the prison without any solid plans. He simply has to find him and what he wants to do to him afterwards is not exactly clear, as if his presence is enough to torment the big bad guy. Mason just relies heavily on sheer luck and other’s damned folly. While in prison, Mason’s war against Victor costs so many deaths of inmates and yet, such violence does not cause any stir or investigations. And why would the criminal head keep Victor living when he had already eliminated many key members in the organization? And why is the prison that corrupted anyway? Gang wars just happen right under the guards’ noses and they seem so unconcerned about them.
The film also has lame and amateurish executions. The script is badly written and events are highly predictable. Everything is repetitive and running in circles, with Mason constantly trying to outsmart Victor and Warden Snyder (Michael Eklund). The actions are imprecise that punches and kicks hardly land, and yet, Mason manages to throw off his attackers with those clumsy blows. There is no well-rehearsed choreography and the fighting scene towards the end is chaotic beyond measure. Yes, prison riots are supposed to be in chaos but watching random people randomly pushing and kicking others in random directions is sore to the eyes.
The cast is just as poor as the other elements. Cain has expressive emotions but his actions do not match them. He looks so heavy that he seems to struggle throwing punches and kicks. Well, his bulk must be up for the much colossal Wight. But Wight is not convincing either. Other than his large physique, he is not genuinely menacing. When he screams at Mason in the prison grounds, it sounds weird. Eklund is the greatest disaster among them all. He is a funny-looking villain while he desperately tries to sound dangerous and intimidating.
Vendetta has a good start but gradually plunges into a chasm of unthinkable mediocrity. It is a decent movie with humble intentions but everything in it is working against it.