DVD Review: Vendetta

(Written for Filmoria)

“Get ready for hell in a cell” …because The Big Show is ready to rumble. And kill.

From the “Twisted” Soska Sisters, Vendetta is a violent action film set primarily in a prison, as a detective pushed beyond his limits seeks vengeance for the murder of his wife, committed by a criminal that he put away.

The Soska Sisters are known for films including See No Evil 2 (2014), American Mary (2012), The ABCs of Death 2 – segment “T is for Torture porn” (2014), and Dead Hooker in a Trunk (2009). From the titles of these films alone you can tell what genre that Vendetta falls under without any more information needed, and it doesn’t take long for the sisters to show you just how much they like violence and gore and twisted plots.

The crime of the detective’s wife being killed is one of the first things we see, as the film opens with WWE Superstar The Big Show‘s Victor Abbott brutally killing a woman.

Now, the use of brutal violence is not always a negative. Films like The Raid and Battle Royale have become classics because of their brutal premises, with their well-choreographed fight scenes showing skill and great direction. But that’s because of how well this violence is handled, and how the characters are developed around the scenes of them fighting to create an engaging plot.

But when a film opens with a gigantic man beating a woman to death with his fist, however, the mood and the tone that is being set is completely different. The violence used in Vendetta is often unnecessarily bleak, and unlike The Big Show’s fights in the WWE ring, there’s nothing entertaining about people beating each other to a pulp here.

To get revenge, Detective Mason Danvers (Dean Cain) deliberately gets arrested and sent to prison, which is where the rest of the film takes place. Here, Mason discovers a criminal enterprise, which leads him to… well, not a lot.

Ther are many films set solely in prison which are full of suspense, including the brilliant Shawshank Redemption and the more recent Starred Up. Both of these films are tense despite their confined settings, and have each been successful for their phenomenal performances as the characters take focus, but Vendetta doesn’t use its setting to the same advantage.

Instead, the plot is horribly thin as violence dominates over any attempt at story progression or character development. These characters have nothing to them apart from the desire to fight, so that’s all they do. And they literally get away with murder as even the prison guards join in by the end of it, as the story gets more ridiculous and unrealistic as it goes on.

Whilst you can comment that the acting isn’t necessarily bad, how could The Big Show not look convincing throwing his fists around? The filming and cinematography are half decent, too, but there’s just no substance behind it all.

The script is weak, which you can only too well expect with a film such as this, and there’s really nothing else worth seeing apart from The Big Show swapping his fighting ring for a prison ground. Personally, I’d stick to watching him wrestle, because there’s better drama in WWE than the Soska sisters provide here.

Vendetta is available on Digital HD and is set to be released on DVD on 31st August.

The DVD extras include three featurettes – “The Making of Vendetta”, “A Haunted Location”, and “A Big Transformation”.

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