(director/writer: George Gallo; screenwriter: written & story by Sam Bartlett; cinematographer: Anastas N. Michos; editor: Yvan Gauthier; music: Aldo Shllaku; cast: Morgan Freeman (Damon), Ruby Rose (Victoria), Patrick Muldoon (Agent Monroe), Julie Lott (Governor Ann Driscoll), Nick Vallelonga (Detective Stevens), Dylan Flashner (Detective Childs), Paul Sampson (B.J.), Ele Bardha (Max), Bill Luckett (Father Thomas), Joel Michaely (Rayo), Miles Doleac (Erik), Yvan Gauthier (Marcel), ChrisMullinax (Detective Kehoe), Juju Journey Brenner (Lily), Richard Salvatore (Sniper); Runtime: 96; MPAA Rating: R; producers:Nate Adams, David E. Ornston, Richard Salvatore; March On Productions/A Lionsgate release; 2021-in English, German, French)
“Vanquish tries to be John Wick effective, but it’s not in its DNA.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Writer-director George Gallo(“Double Take”/”The Poison Rose”) ventures again into action-thriller territory, as he once did as the screenwriter of fine films like Midnight Run, 29th Street and the Bad Boys. But this is a not so fine film–it’s murky, with shrill dialogue, poorly filmed action sequences and uninspired acting.
Gallo’s helped as screenwriter by the story author Sam Bartlett, who either brings him down more or just fails to be of help. It’s a bad film, whose only humor comes from unintentional laughs. Morgan gives a lousy uninspired performance in a low-level film he was probably well-compensated for selling his acting soul to take.
Damon (Morgan Freeman) is a wheelchair-bound honored retired cop, on a corrupt police force. He was wounded in action on police duty, and resides at an upscale ocean-side mansion (whose location is kept secret). The ludicrous plot has Damon blackmail his caretaker, Victoria (Ruby Rose), a former Russian drug courier whom he sponsored during her parole, and forces the assassin into raiding five drug-trafficking and prostitution sites one evening while on a motorcycle (one equipped with an audio hook-up enabling two-way communication between them and a body camera that allows him to see everything she’s doing). The crooked cop wants the money he’s owed by the mobsters for his help in running their illegal operation. To make sure she complies, Damon gets Victoria’s attention when he kidnaps her cute young daughter Lily (Juju Journey Brener), the one she cares most about in the world, who suffers from a life-threatening disease. The evil guy promises her safety only if mom cooperates.
When Victoria goes into action, the film goes mindlessly violent. Ruby Rose is made for the action scenes but flubs when she tries acting.
In any case, we know Damon is considered a hero cop because in the beginning and ending credits we see newspaper articles chronicling his heroic police career.
Vanquish tries to be John Wick effective, but it’s not in its DNA.
REVIEWED ON 4/25/2021 GRADE: C