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‘Vendetta’ (2022) review: Villains are the saving grace

It always feels like something missing.

Vendetta is one of those movies that a person watches more out of morbid curiosity than anything else. An action movie with a cast that includes Bruce Willis and Mike Tyson is going to draw some interest. It is a good thing the cast attracts attention, since the plot is a run of the mill revenge story about a man named William Duncan (Clive Standen) who is out for revenge after the death of his daughter. 

There is the potential for an interesting story about the cycle of violence. Duncan ends up getting his revenge (not a spoiler; it is in the synopsis of Vendetta), but this leads to the killer’s brother and his gang looking for payback. It would not be particularly deep, but there is enough there for some nuance. There are plenty of similar films that have used this set up.

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Aside from what Duncan is going through and some standard action movie posturing, Vendetta never even teases of going in that direction. Instead, it plays it safe by following the action revenge formula. It is bland and disappointing. This does not automatically make it a bad movie, but there is a sense that it could have been something more.

The feeling of something missing is a constant. Tyson ends up being little more than a glorified cameo while the usually dependable Thomas Jane is essentially comic relief. Vendetta has the requisite blood and fights, but they feel adequate at best. Anytime the film seems like it is going to hit the next gear, it just sputters out. There is some tension and excitement, but it never seems like enough.

Vendetta checks off all the right boxes, but it often seems like it is doing it because it has to not because it wants to. This gives it an artificial feel that takes most of the joy out of it. And what is the point of sitting through a mindless action movie if it is not providing dumb fun? Thankfully, there are some great villains that make it easy to root for the good guys.

Vendetta is screening in select theaters and is available On Demand and digital

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