Vengeance is Mine, All Others Pay Cash is one of the more clever titles of the year. It almost makes sense that the theme of the film would be something as wacky as erectile dysfunction. Set in the 1980s, the film follows Ajo Kawir a fighter with a dark secret: he is impotent. One day he is defeated by a tough female fighter named Iteung. In the process, he also falls in love. But will she accept his limitations?
The movie is clearly a love letter to B movies and action packed Hong Kong cinema. There are plenty of fight scenes and high octane action. This is due to the fact that Ajo takes part is acts of machoismo to compensate from his inability to get it up. And as a drawing in early in Vengeance is Mine, All Others Pay Cash states, “Only a man who can’t get it up can face death without fear.” The movie is centered around Ajo’s actions to prove he is not any less of a man.
Vengeance is Mine, All Others Pay Cash is at its best when it follows it’s silly premise closely. Animated signs and fun interludes keep the story fresh and fun. There are even some supernatural elements in the film. It is a lot going on and it does not always blend well together, but it definitely knows how to keep audiences entertained. Unfortunately, the movie gets easily derailed.
There are some serious missteps along the way. The film is an over the top B movie filled with comedic moments. Yet, some of the stuff it makes light of just is not funny. The possible reason for Ajo’s amorous ineffectiveness is given through flashbacks. While it does make sense, it feels out of place and wrong in the story. Vengeance is Mine, All Others Pay Cash is also forces in commentary about gender roles that just fall flat. The editing also is choppy at times, though this may be intentional.
An action movie about a guy who cannot get an erection is about as fun as it sounds. There are over the stop stunts, some great fights, and some easy comedy. Vengeance is Mine, All Others Pay Cash also adds in some unexpected elements to make sure everyone watching keeps having fun. There are some odd choices, but the movie is an enjoyable watch.
The Toronto International Film Festival takes place virtually and in person from September 9 – September 18
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