VENDETTA (2022) Reviews of Bruce Willis, Theo Rossi action crime thriller

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Vendetta is a 2022 American vigilante crime thriller about a father seeking revenge for his daughter’s death who gets caught in a gang war.

Written and directed by Jared Cohn (Swim; Shark SeasonFast and Fierce: Death RaceAlien PredatorHalloween Pussy Trap Kill! Kill!Devil’s DomainHold Your Breath). Produced by Amar Balaggan, Corey Large, Ross Mrazek and Benjamin Rappaport.

The Bar None Productions movie stars Bruce Willis (American SiegeApexMidnight in the SwitchgrassOut of DeathHard KillCosmic SinBreachDie Hard franchise)Clive Standen, Theo Rossi (Escape the Field; Army of the Dead; Body Cam; Ghosts of War), Thomas Jane, Jackie Moore and Mike Tyson.

When his daughter is brutally murdered and legal justice looks unlikely, William Duncan (Clive Standen) takes the law into his own hands, setting out on a quest for retribution.

After killing the street thug who was directly responsible for her death, he finds himself in the middle of a war with the thug’s brother, Rory Fetter (Theo Rossi), and his gang, who are equally hell-bent on getting even for their fallen member.

What ensues is a tense back-and-forth game of one man’s thirst for vengeance over another’s. William comes to find that the quest for revenge always has the same ending…

Our view:
Clive Standen delivers a nuanced performance as William Duncan the patently naive father who takes revenge for his daughter’s murder without making sure he’s obviously the killer. A further really dumb decision actually adds credence to his character because he’s not depicted as an unstoppable Charles Bronson-type of vigilante, just a grieving father out for revenge. That said, his swift recovery from a nearly fatal gunshot wound stretches credibility as painfully; as does his convenient hooking up with a genial sweary gun-seller named Dante (Thomas Jane) who just happens to have an arsenal of weapons for sale. Oh, and a grudge against the Fetter family to boot!

Theo Rossi grimaces and smirks his way through a scumbag role he’s clearly relishing (and, of course, he’s a terrible shot just like all villains) while, in a change from many recent movies, Bruce Willis actually gets a chance to deliver a reasonable performance as the crime boss where he even has a few memorable one-liners. Their scenes together are amusingly enjoyable.

Written and directed by the incredibly prolific Jared Cohn, Vendetta is formulaic yet undoubtedly his best entry among many previous misses. Although somewhat predictable, except for a curious grey area involving Detective Chen (Kurt Yue), this is wholly entertaining onscreen visceral violence much in the same way that Nobody (2020) with Bob Odenkirk is. And it emphasises that Standen’s character feels nothing even after taking his retribution. There is no vindication in his revenge.

Aside from the plot contrivances, the only real downsides are weak sounding gunshots on the soundtrack and real-life reprobate Mike Tyson’s bad acting in an unwelcome cameo.
Adrian J Smith, MOVIES and MANIA

Other reviews:
Overall, Vendetta may not be anything new but I do enjoy revenge movies and Theo Rossi makes for one of the most hateful villains of the year; it clearly doesn’t have a huge budget but it gets the job done and I was emotionally engaged with the story.” 3/5 stars. The Action Elite

Vendetta checks off all the right boxes, but it often seems like it is doing it because it has to not because it wants to […] Thankfully, there are some great villains that make it easy to root for the good guys.” AIPT

Vendetta works through an increase of violence in William’s life, bottoming him out to turn him into a killing machine, and a few fights, shootouts, and a car chase are offered to create the illusion of something lively happening (cruddy shaky-cam cinematography from Brandon Cox is wholly unnecessary). Standen makes some effort to bring emotional force to his part, but he’s not backed by quality direction…” 1.5/5

Vendetta is a revenge-fueled action adventure with a compelling tale that is guaranteed to appeal to action movie enthusiasts everywhere.” 3.5/5 stars. Horror Facts

” …it is zeitgeisty, probably more than Cohn intended or realized, because it taps into deep, widely-held anxieties and frustrations. For what it’s worth, Vendetta is Cohn’s best film (we’ve reviewed) since The Horde…” J.B. Spins

“Theo Rossi plays a fantastically unhinged Rory Fetter, making him so reprehensible that you can’t help but root for William to get his final revenge. Speaking of final, this is reportedly Bruce Willis’ final film role and it’s thankfully one of his best direct to market movies.” 4/5 Nerdly

Vendetta isn’t a game-changer, as its plot and look are largely familiar, but it boasts some strong violent displays, antagonists, and side characters, acting across the board, and at least one uncommon moment of legitimate shock.” 3.5/5 stars. Voices from the Balcony

In the US, Vendetta was released by Vertical Entertainment via Redbox on May 17, 2022.

Cast and characters:
Bruce Willis … Donnie Fetter
Thomas Jane … Dante
Clive Standen … William Duncan
Theo Rossi … Rory Fetter
Jackie Moore … Luna
Mike Tyson … Roach
Derek Russo … Zachary Penton
Maddie Nichols … Kat Duncan
Kurt Yue … Detective Chen
Lauren Buglioli … Jen Duncan
Eric Buarque
Caia Coley … Nurse Pam
Maury Morgan … Alice Hawltin
Dustin Lewis … Doctor
Demetrius Stear … Mick
Jesse O’Neill … Trae
Randy Gonzalez … Delgado
Darryl Dillard … Police Officer
Patrick Lamont Jr. … Henley
Nathan Hesse … Donut Cop
Tamil Periasamy … Clerk
Cindy L. Jefferson … Judge
Cabot Basden … Danny Fetter

Filming locations:
Eatonton, Georgia

Technical details:
1 hour 36 minutes
Aspect ratio: 16:9


MOVIES and MANIA rating:

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