I Am Vengeance (2018)

Posted in Reviews by - January 01, 2020
I Am Vengeance (2018)

Former WWE hard-man Stu Bennett steps into more heroic territory with this UK indie, even if he still kicks down doors, shoots people at point blank range and gauges out a few eyeballs. The good guy image is not an easy fit for someone so huge with a face like a rugby player who delivers all his lines with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. Writer-director Ross Boyask plays this to his advantage; the dialogue is kept light, sprinkled with decent one-liners, leaving Bennett to concentrate mostly on smashing up the bad guys. As vigilante John Gold, he stomps through the made-up town of Devotion on a quest for revenge following the death of his old army buddy and his elderly parents (the father is played by the great Keith Allen, providing exposition in a series of flashbacks). His buddy was off’ed by a group of rogue soldiers who left their last tour of Afghanistan with a block of heroin, and have since turned the neglected country¬†town into a haven of drugs and crime. Martial arts star Gary Daniels does a neat turn as the villain – a distorted version of a sergeant major complete with camo-gear and moustache – and his cronies are suitably scummy. Bryan Larkin probably has the most fun, channeling his inner Begbie as a raging psychopath and Daniels’ chief heavy. The other supporting characters don’t quite land so well, particularly Sandra (Anna Shaffer), a ditzy junkie who is positioned both as comic relief and the film’s emotional heart, but she’s not quite rounded enough to assume either position convincingly. John Gold’s girlfriend, Rose (Sapphire Elia), is also left wanting. The comic elements stop the film from being too earnest, which is a relief, but given its themes of abandoned servicemen and social deprivation, perhaps more should have been done to highlight the hopelessness inherent in the story. So it’s a fun, taut 90 minutes of violence, but a little too manicured.

AKA: Vengeance (UK title).

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Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a laptop in London, UK.

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