Monday, June 22, 2015

Review: Vendetta (2015)

By William Pattison, Aka Eric Morse
For Horror Bob's Blog

Well, the time has come yet again for me to do a review on a film by the Twisted Twins Jen and Sylvia Soska. This time the girls have thankfully left the horror genre behind them and have moved on to the action drama genre with their second film for WWE films, Vendetta.
Vendetta stars Dean Cane (Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman) as Detective Mason Danvers. Mason captures tough gangster Victor Abbot (played by WWE wrestler Paul “The Big Show” Wight) but when Abbot and his brother are released on a technicality, Abbot viciously tortures and kills Detective Danvers’ pregnant wife. Abbot is caught before Danvers, who arrived just after Abbot killed his wife gets a chance to get revenge and shoot him.
So Danvers goes and kills Abbot’s brother and a couple other drug dealers and gets himself arrested. Danvers is sent to the same prison as Abbot and put in general population. At this point the film becomes a series of fight scenes as Abbot (who somehow now runs the prison) sends convicts to kill Danvers and Danvers one by one takes out Abbots lieutenants as he works his way up to killing Abbot.
Unfortunately, I had a bunch of issues with this film. The script that was written by Justin Shady is full of blatant technical errors and plot glitches that should make any real prison film fan scratch their head. A couple of the most obvious would be the main plot point of Danvers being sent to the same prison as the man who tortured and murdered his wife.  No judicial agency is going to do something as idiotic as this, and don’t tell me that was the only prison he could be sent to. Another script flaw was the fact that Danvers was put in general population. There is no way that any prison would put a former cop in general population. That would be a death sentence because every convict in the place would be gunning for him. I can back this up because I did my homework and conferred with a friend of mine named Matt who is in fact a prison guard at a prison that is the same size as in the film. Matt and I discerned a number of outrageous errors in this film. Another was the fact that the warden assigned Danvers a just at the prison laundry, not a risk they would do with a former cop. Also, when Danvers is working in the laundry there is not a guard in sight which actually leads to a group of six prisoners nearly beating Danvers to death. Also, coincidentally, it turns out one of the guards is an old friend of Danvers and right out in the exercise area in front of the prisoners chews the shit with Danvers and tells him that the warden is working with Abbot. Right, like any intelligent guard would be stupid enough to tell that out loud with the other prisoners watching and listening. Also, to show the bad writing the guard survives till the end of the film. Excuse? Oh, and there is the amusing prison policy (which is unique to this prison) that prisoners can leave the exercise area and go back to their cells unescorted or watched by guards. This is obvious because one of Abbot’s men goes back to his cell only to be killed by Danvers who was waiting for him there. Seriously, both Justin Shady and this production in general drastically needed a technical advisor.
Another annoying thing about this film was the fight scenes. Not because they weren’t bloody enough. Oh no, Jen and Sylvia learned from the kick in their teeth they got from both reviewers and fans in regard to See No Evil 2 and threw the blood around. The problem was the fight scenes look way overly staged. You could actually see that the punches didn’t impact. Also in a number of shots the bad guys would fall the wrong way. Shoot, the one fight scene that wins my prize for most lame is one where Danvers uses a push broom to choke one of Abbots men. Now, hold back your laughter…Danvers uses the brush end and presses it down on the guy’s throat. The guy flays his arms and over acts the gagging. Then, after an unbelievable amount of time, Danvers switches to using the handle. Oh, my flippin’ god. The only good kill in this film except the killing of Danvers wife, and that could have been shot better, was a killing where Danvers uses a plastic pen that he fashions into a knife and stabs one of Abbot’s men to death. In that scene Danvers gets a stream of blood in his face from the shaft of the pen which is sticking out of the guy’s neck. Come on girls!
As for the camera work and lighting, I did like some of the colored lighting in the early parts of the film, but through the second half it seemed standard and uninspired. I’m sorry to say the camera work seemed rather uninspired too. I’ve seen forth year film students that set better angles than I saw in this film. The only scene where I can honesty say the girls did it right was in the warehouse scene where Danvers initially captures Abbot. In that one scene the Soskas managed to use the angles and lighting in a dramatic way.
When I saw the trailer for this film I was ready to applaud Jen and Sylvia Soska. Thankfully they had moved on from horror, which I can not under express that they could not do. I remembered how well they did the action scenes in Dead Hooker in a Trunk and looked forward to seeing a little of that early Soska magic on the screen. Unfortunately, all I saw when I saw Vendetta was a disappointing mess. I honestly felt sorry for the girls. There was so much of this they had no control over due to the fact that they are stuck working for a control freak like Vince McMahon. I’m pretty sure Vince just gave them the script and said shoot it. I even think most of the cast was already hired before they were even assigned. Hell, like all WWE directors, the Soskas didn’t even get the chance to even edit the damned film, which itself was sloppy and uninspired.
Given all this, all I can suggest is on their next film the Soskas put some budget to getting an on set advisor. The faults and idiot mistakes in this film are like nails on a chalkboard. It was the same with See No Evil 2 with people working in a coroner’s office and doing autopsies in plain clothes rather than in scrubs…Oh and the blue embalming fluid instead of yellow to name just a couple of things. My friend that works as a mortician nearly gagged on his popcorn while he watching it.
So, I can only in good judgment give this film two and a half stars. Do your homework next time, ladies….
Keep on Creepin’, Horror Bob’s Blog!!!