Saturday, 10 October 2015



Despite what some might think, I am not an intellectual. I mean, I'm not an entirely uncultured baboon who needs everything slowly spoonfed in capital letters and bright colours. I'll always go for Woody Allen over Michael Bay for an evening's civilised entertainment, and on occasion I'll regard three hours of miserable black and white Russian science fiction as a challenge rather than a bit of fun. But sometimes you don't want art, you don't want subtlety, allegory or subtitles. Sometimes you just want ninety minutes of freakishly ugly blokes beating the living daylights out of each other.

Despite being directed by the Soska Sisters (Jen and Sylvia), Vendetta is a blokes' movie. The only woman in the film is killed off early and the rest of the running time is devoted to the grieving husband's insane quest for revenge, which involves getting sent to the same prison as her killer and then taking his criminal empire to pieces, one tattooed sociopath at a time. It's like The Shawshank Redemption remade as a Jean-Claude Van Damme vehicle.

Vendetta (nothing to do with the Danny Dyer film of the same name) isn't subtle and it isn't much more than an efficient showcase for maniacs lamping one another. But I didn't go in expecting existential angst or the Meaning Of Existence: I went it expecting guys getting punched in the head. For your rental fee, then, you get Dean Cain muscled up as the husband, the seven-foot wrestler Paul Wight (aka The Big Show) as the bad guy, and several crunchingly excessive fight sequences which in the real world would surely have resulted in fractured skulls and smashed ribs all round. And as a full-on Friday night thudfest it's rather fun, if a little wearing, and the low budget doesn't give it much room for panache and style.

Thirty years ago it would have been a Cannon film, and would have probably had Chuck Norris in it. It would also, probably, have been a better film: like the Soskas' slasher sequel See No Evil 2 this doesn't have the personal touch of American Mary. but it's an efficient enough exploitation movie that I rather enjoyed. But then I'm a clueless idiot.


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