SAVAGE SALVATION (2022) Reviews of thriller with Robert De Niro and John Malkovich – now with a clip

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‘Payback is dirty’
Savage Salvation is a 2022 American thriller film about a recovering opioid addict seeking revenge on those who sold the drugs that resulted in his fiance’s death. The UK title is Savage Justice

Directed and co-produced by producer Randall Emmett (who directed Midnight in the Switchgrass previously) from a screenplay co-written by Adam Taylor Barker and Chris Sivertson. Produced by George Furla, Petr Jákl, Nick Koskoff, Shaun Sanghani, Tim Sullivan and Chad A. Verdi Jr.

The movie stars Jack Huston, Robert De Niro, John Malkovich, Willa Fitzgerald, Dale Dickey, Winter Ave Zoli, Lindsay Pulsipher, Swen Temmel, Katalina Viteri, Tyler Jon Olson, Celeste Fianna, Tierney Smith and Quavo.

Plot synopsis:
Sheriff Church (Robert De Niro) and Detective Zeppelin strive to keep the peace in their rough town, where residents’ only two interests are the church or oxycodone.


Newly engaged Shelby John (Jack Huston) and Ruby Red want a fresh start. They decide to start a family and get clean, with the support of Peter, Ruby’s brother-in-law (John Malkovich). However, Shelby discovers his beloved Ruby dead on their porch before she could fulfil her final wish: to be baptised in the river and washed away from her past sins.

Filled with fiery rage, Shelby embarks on a vengeful killing spree to right all the wrong done to Ruby by every link in the drug dealing chain. Armed with nothing but adrenaline and a nail gun, Shelby picks off dealers and junkies one by one until he gets to the top. The Sheriff must race against the clock to put an end to his vigilante justice before his fight with the crime lord Coyote (Quavo) turns the entire town into a bloodbath…


” …this is an unarguably bad film. But it’s on the edge of being bad in a sort of delicious campy way, calling back to the kind of subpar, money-laundering financed pulp one used to find for sale as dusty DVDs or videos in corner shops. Like all great bad films, it features once A-list actors slumming it to pay off whatever debts they must have accrued in happier times…” 2 out of 5, The Guardian

” …another VOD geezer teaser from the Emmett-Furla/BondIt Media/seven other production company logos assembly line, though unlike most of them, this one is directed by Randall Emmett himself. While Emmett is clearly aspiring to more meaningful things than the usual dreck, the end result is still dreck…” Mark Tinta

Savage Salvation is a joyless, soulless exercise in tedium. Put together by a cast and crew that thankfully don’t even have (Bruce Willis’ tragic condition of) ‘Aphasia’ to excuse such a lackadaisical contempt for their audience (and/or cinema) It’s sluggish, malnourished and loaded with intrusive musical interludes and montages (that make Rocky IV look Pinter-esque positively by comparison).” Straight-to-DVD Heaven

“Malkovich is barely in the film but he does get to deliver an embarrassingly pretentious monologue near the end. De Niro has more screen time and a bit more to work with in terms of dialogue but is wasted […] Savage Salvation pretends to care about the opioid epidemic. But in the end, it simply exploits it for a few dismal action scenes and a message that, if we just believe in Jesus and kill the right people, the problem can be solved.” 1.5 out of 5, Voices from the Balcony

YouTube reviews:


“That’s enough” clip:

In the US, Savage Salvation was released by The Avenue theatrically in select locations and On-Demand (VOD) on December 2, 2022.

Working title:
Wash Me in the River

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