VFW (2019) Reviews and overview

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VFW is a 2019 American action-thriller feature film about a group of war veterans facing off against a drug dealer and his gang.

Directed by Joe Begos (Bliss; The Mind’s Eye; Almost Human) from a screenplay co-written by Max Brallier and Matthew McArdle. Produced by Dallas Sonnier and Amanda Presmyk of Fangoria, alongside frequent Begos-collaborator Josh Ethier.

The movie stars Stephen Lang, Sierra McCormick, William Sadler and Martin Kove.

The excellent soundtrack score was composed by Steve Moore (Camera Obscura; Mayhem; Don’t Knock Twice; Cub; et al).

Fred (Stephen Lang) and his ex-military buddies must defend their local VFW post – and an innocent teen – against a deranged drug dealer and his gang. These Vietnam vets have been to hell and back, but this will be the longest night of their lives…

VFW doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but the stellar cast, over-the-top action, and visible admiration for veterans make it a prime piece of genre cinema.” The Aisle Seat

“Begos is making a low-budget picture and it shows, but his enthusiasm for the material is refreshing, delivering plenty of clashes between the tweaked and the seniors, keeping the feature soaked in mayhem for extended periods of time. There’s consideration for veteran affairs, touching on the forgotten and lost, but VFW is primarily out to raise hell, and it does well with frequent thrills, giving this unusual cast room to go wild.” Blu-ray.com

VFW delivers the goods—tough-guy dialogue, memorable characters, and so much splatter— and audiences will be giddy as adolescents as the gore literally explodes on screen. VFW is also briskly paced, thanks to Begos’ right-hand man and one-man-band Josh Either, who also appears in the film…” Consequence of Sound

“As a gory love letter to Assault on Precinct 13 and celebration of Fangoria’s renewed mission statement, VFW burns all the way down and leaves you feeling more than fine. You won’t find a better showcase of actors who still got it and would gladly put up their dukes at the suggestion they ever lost it.” Crooked Marquee

“Much of the film is predicated on you buying into the Mad Max lite plot. It doesn’t build the world well enough for that to happen though and instead gives you little to work with from a storytelling perspective. A poorly constructed film that never fully gets out of the gates.” Film Snob

“Dumber filmmakers couldn’t have stopped themselves, but Begos plays it a little smarter with VFW. Yes, the gore is absurdly over-the-top, but it’s otherwise played completely straight and the cast of veteran pros gives it much in the way of credibility and gravitas. Props to Begos for realizing that making them a joke would negatively impact the film.” Good Efficient Butchery

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“Director Joe Begos unleashes a marvellous mixture of poignant / hilarious character beats and hardcore old-school action. It turns on a dime from exploding heads and eyeball poking to moving speeches about veterans coming home just to be washed up and die. The cast of experienced exploitation / action stars (and Cheers!) have huge fun with tooling up montages and one-liners…” Horrorscreams Videovault

“Is it semi-low rent? Yes, but it knows what it is and Begos has some real flair behind the camera, with a nice sense of pace. The good guys are perfectly cast even if the bad guys are not, and anyone who’s a fan of these guys needs to check it out. My only complaint – where’s Lance Henriksen?” JoBlo

“A few moments fall flat, and the thinness of the concept shows through on occasion. But those rough patches are all relatively minor and VFW delivers exactly what it promises. This is a fast, filthy, violent slice of throwback exploitation with an all-timer cast of genre favorites.” The Last Thing I See

“The cast is incredible, especially Lang and Sadler, the action is fast, brutal and gory, and the music thumps and roars. It’s an all-out and unabashed love letter to action movies of the 1970s, 80s, and 90s sealed with a blood-soaked kiss. VFW is an air-punching experience and an absolute must-see.” Morbidly Beautiful

“Stephen Lang makes for a wonderfully gruff lead, while the rest of the gang all get their moments to shine as the horde of druggies descend on their run-down bar. This is what happens when you cast a group of actors who all understand the tone of the material.” Movies in Focus

Fast, violent and great fun, VFW is the perfect modern-day movie which replicates the Grindhouse experience.

VFW is trying hard to be an 80s throwback, and while it has the style in the bag, it struggles to develop much of an identity of its own. Engaging but imperfect, the grit and gore will pump you up even if the script is a bit of a letdown.” Scream magazine

“Unfortunately, VFW lacks much of its inspiration’s suspense and tension. There’s so much of a buildup of these guys there’s no doubt who will win […] If you don’t mind the predictability and just want to see more vintage tough guys kick-ass one last time, VFW is the film for you.” Voices from the Balcony

RLJE Films will release VFW on February 14th 2020.

Cast and characters:
Stephen Lang … Fred Parras
Sierra McCormick … Lizard
William Sadler … Walter Reed
Martin Kove … Lou Clayton
David Patrick Kelly … Doug McCarthy
George Wendt … Thomas Zabriski
Dora Madison … Gutter
Fred Williamson … Abe Hawkins
Tom Williamson … Shawn Mason
Travis Hammer … Boz
Graham Skipper … Roadie
Chloe Carabasi … Hyper
Josh Ethier … Tank
Linnea Wilson … Lucy
Preston Fassel … Hyper

Filming location:
Dallas, Texas

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