Director Akin Omotoso brings a heartwarming true-life tale to Disney+ in the winning basketball drama Rise. Audiences have never seen a story like that of the Antetokounmpos. After emigrating from Nigeria to Greece, Charles and Vera Antetokounmpo (Dayo Okeniyi and Yetide Badaki, respectively) struggled to survive and provide for their five children while living under the daily threat of deportation.
Vendetta is a mundane revenge flick
Writer and director Jared Cohn make a return to the world of action in Vendetta. After his daughter is the victim of a brutal murder set up by local kingpin Donnie (Bruce Willis) and legal justice looks unlikely, William Duncan (Clive Standen) takes the law into his own hands. Setting out on a quest for retribution, William soon kills Danny (Cabot Basden), the street thug who was directly responsible for her death.
Before long, though, William finds himself in the middle of a war with the thug’s brother, Rory Fetter (Theo Rossi), and his gang, who are equally hell-bent on getting even for their fallen member. A tense back-and-forth game of one man’s thirst for vengeance over another ensues. William comes to find that the quest for revenge always has the same ending.
Growing up in the eighties, one of my favorite film franchises was Death Wish, starring Charles Bronson as an architect who turns vigilante after his wife and daughter are attacked during a home invasion with his wife dying from her wounds. The film inspired four sequels, a remake starring Bruce Willis and countless imitators.
One of the best takes on the story is director James Wan’s 2007’s Death Sentence starring Kevin Bacon. Now I hold Death Sentence in very high regard, and within the first twenty minutes of Vendetta, I knew precisely where the film would go with its narrative structure. Jared Cohn’s script follows the template of Death Sentence to a tee. Unfortunately, Jared Cohn’s inexperience as a filmmaker shows over the course of the film’s short time.
The action sequences are mundane, and the cast’s performances come reek of an action movie handbook. Clive Standen is a dull male lead, while Theo Rossi gives a repeat performance of characters he has previously played.
I do not want to be that hard on Bruce Willis, as this is one of the last times we will ever see him on screen. However, it is evident in numerous scenes that Willis has medical issues. Faring worst of all are Mike Tyson and Thomas Jane, who feature prominently on the poster and have maybe fifteen minutes of screen time.
I enjoy a mindless direct-to-streaming flick like the next guy, but the cards will always deal with a failing grade when the director does not even try to make the material entertaining.
Final Grade: D-
Vendetta is available to stream now
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