8 out of 10
Release Date: 22nd November 2013
Director: Stephen Reynolds (Interrogation / 12 Rounds 3)
Cast: Danny Dyer, Roxanne McKee, Vincent Regan, Alistair Petrie, Josef Altin, Michael Ryan, Joshua Osei, Tony Denham, Emma Samms, Alexis Rodney, Tamaryn Payne, Anna Brecon, Sam Kane, Ryan Oliva, Sam Hudson, Ben Shockley, Tracy Kirby, Simona Roman, James Mullinger, Martin Fisher, Charlie Bond, Lucy Drive, Dani Dyer with Nick Nevern, Ricci Harnett and Bruce Payne
Writer: Stephen Reynolds
There have been many false dawns heralding the return of celebrity punchbag Danny Dyer. The publicity for each film he appears in seems to exploit his unpopularity by trumpeting the fact that ‘this one is different / see this, Danny is back’. Except he never is. It’s another DOA turd. Never was this more apparent than with the recent Deviation which touted itself as the comeback we were all waiting for, a career defining performance in what turned out to be a laughable dog. So when approaching Vendetta, it’s quite reasonable to be sceptical but I have to let everybody who loves good British movies know that the boy is back. This isn’t back handed praise. I wouldn’t have sat through so many Danny Dyer movies if I hated the guy’s films, its just that I’ve been looking for a film like Vendetta for a very long time. THIS is the long overdue Danny Dyer film we’ve been waiting for.
The plot sees SAS interrogator Jimmy Vickers (DANNY DYER – RUN FOR YOUR WIFE) returns from the theatre of war after the brutal murder of his parents. What ensues is a quest to kill all those responsible. The police are on the look out for his unstoppable vigilante as are members of his own unit from back in the Middle East. Throw into the mix an uneasy reunion with his estranged wife, Morgan (ROXANNE MCKEE – GAME OF THRONES) and you’ve got yourself a decent crime thriller.
As is the case with most revenge thrillers, the model is quite repetitive but there is more meat on Vendetta‘s bones than its competitors / inspirations like the Death Wish cycle, Harry Brown, Taken, The Crow or low budget bores like the Australian The Horseman and the Bedford-set snooze inducer Wayland’s Song. By fleshing out the characters (just enough) and giving shade to some of them, Vendetta convinces, engages and ultimately entertains. Like Harry Brown before it, it is a Daily Mail reader’s wet dream. Murderers and drug dealers live in every street and we’re all going to get mugged every day, but saying that, who cares about Vendetta‘s politics, it’s a straight up thriller, first and foremost an entertainment device. And on that level it works. Dyer has been gifted with a part were he’s been encouraged to act and punch his weight and play well within his range. The dialogue is a bit ropey at times but like I said the actors cover up the cracks by embodying their characters. The plot is tight although MILD SPOILER: I thought the ending at the docks was really stupid, but not enough to ruin or dent the film up to that point. Another couple of important plus points to note are the fantastic cinematography which gave the film a wonderful Hollywood gloss. It made a great change from the stock helicopter shots we get in these type of movies. The other plus was the vibrant and moody synth score – worthy of a (good) John Carpenter movie! So please take a bow maestro!
The decision to surround Dyer with a cast of strong supporting actors (some known to me / some unknown) was a wise decision. Good character actors like Nick Nevern (OUTPOST 2), Ricci Harnett (TURNOUT) and Vincent Regan (TOP DOG) all do some of the heavy lifting further down the cast. There’s barely a weak link. Besides Dyer, kudos goes to the young actors who played the villains of the piece: the ever up and coming Josef Altin (EASTERN PROMISES) is one to watch, as is Joshua Osei (LIFE IS JUST) and Alexis Rodney (LIFE AND LYRICS). Veteran actor Bruce Payne (GETAWAY) from countless UK 1980s classics and the immortal Passenger 57 nearly steals the movie with a plum role as the icy head of British black ops. He needs more work (somebody rescue him from the rubber monster crap quickies that he hangs around like the plague)! The only weak link in the acting stakes was from Emma Samms (THE COLBYS), who seemed like a fish out of water as Danny Dyer‘s Mum. A lot of the tin-earred dialogue was rescued by the actors who were able to turn it into gold but she was the only one caught ‘acting’. Seems a shame to highlight her in an otherwise solid film. Back to Danny Dyer – the dialogue “I’d have bled to keep the red in the Union Jack (or something)” sounded odd and out of context in the trailer but in the body of the film this scene is electric. One or two other scenes establish that he’s been in the doldrums for too long. So welcome back and thanks to the producer Jonathan Sothcott, the director Stephen Reynolds and all involved for giving us the UK genre film we’ve been waiting for. I look around at a lot of British movies and I think, who asked for this type of film? For example – ‘One Chance‘? a film about a reality show TV show winner; ‘Diana‘ a 21st Century version of the Carol Carpenter movie? The Harry Hill Movie? Fuck Me!!! Things are bad. Just who is responsible for turning Judi Dench into a box office star to rival Arnold Schwarzenegger? It’s not only grannies that go to see UK films is it?Also on another point Vendetta is, for once, a UK film that does not short change us by featuring a famous actor, firing a gun, cars and sky scrapers blowing up on the DVD box /poster only to find out that the famous guy is in it for 2 minutes, and the storyline is about flower sellers with no guns. In short VENDETTA delivers.
8 out of 10 – A non-supernatural tribute to THE CROW, this is the overdue Danny Dyer movie we thought we’d never see. Some foresight and faith may have saved Mr Dyer’s bacon whilst restoring my faith in the UK action film. Onwards and upwards for producers Richwater Films! PS: More Bruce Payne, please!
Review by Britpic’s own Jimmy Vickers – Joe Pesci II aka Scummy Biscuits is below…
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- Danny Dyer: Eastenders (TV), Assassin (2015), Bloodshot, The Hooligan Factory, Run For Your Wife, Lemon La Vida Loca (TV), Plebs (TV), Deviation, Freerunner, The Age Of Heroes, 7Lives, Basement, Pimp, Malice In Wonderland, Just For The Record, Dead Man Running, Dead Cert, The Devil’s Playground, Jack Said, City Rats, Doghouse, Adulthood, Straightheads, Outlaw (2007), Severance, The Other Half, Borstal Boy, The Business, The Football Factory, Wasp (short), Mean Machine, High Heels and Low Lifes, Goodbye Charlie Bright, Greenfingers, The Trench, Human Traffic
- Roxanne McKee: The Legend of Hercules, Ironclad 2, F, Wrong Turn 5, Game Of Thrones (TV), Hollyoaks (TV)
- Vincent Regan: The Last Photograph, Eat Local, City of Tiny Lights, The London Firm, Top Dog, St. George’s Day, Outside Bet, Snow White & The Huntsman, Lock Out, Ghost Rider 2, Bonded By Blood, The Holding, The Big I Am, 300, Hard Men
- Alistair Petrie: Silent Hours, Hampstead, Star Wars – Rogue One, Kicking Off, The Night Manager (TV), Victor Frankenstein, The Face of an Angel, A Little Chaos, Rush (2013), Ashes, The Devil’s Playground
- Josef Altin: Narcopolis, Child 44, The Hooligan Factory, A Long Way Down, Now Is Good, Game Of Thrones (TV), Comes a Bright Day, Albatross, Eastern Promises
- Michael Ryan: Kelly + Victor, Hollyoaks (TV)
- Joshua Osei: Rise of the Footsoldier 2, Life Just Is, Ill Manors
- Tony Denham: We Still Die The Old Way, Missing In Greenwood, London Heist, We Still Steal The Old Way, Bonded By Blood 2, Miss You Already, Age of Kill, The Guvnors, We Still Kill The Old Way, The Hooligan Factory, Essex Boys Retribution, White Collar Hooligan 2, Fall Of The Essex Boys, St. George’s Day, Turnout, The Shouting Men, Revolver, The Football Factory
- Emma Samms: General Hospital (TV), Doctors (TV), Delirious, Dynasty (TV), The Colbys (TV)
- Alexis Rodney: Life and Lyrics
- Tamaryn Payne: Stalled, Hollyoaks (TV)
- Anna Brecon: The Hooligan Wars, Stalker (2011)
- Sam Kane: Emmerdale (TV), Brookside (TV)
- Ryan Oliva: Montana, The Seasoning House
- Ben Shockley: Death (2014), The Shouting Men, Ten Dead Men, Bad Day
- Simona Roman: Gallowwalkers
- James Mullinger: The Comedian’s Guide to Survival, The Crypt
- Martin Fisher: Shame The Devil, Essex Boys Retribution, Family Affairs (TV)
- Lucy Drive: Jurassic School, House of Evil, Mob Handed, Reich of the Dead, Full English Breakfast, He Who Dares, Dead End (2013), Outside Bet
- Charlie Bond: Dead Air, Hellriser, The Curse of the Witching Tree, Fall of the Essex Boys, GBH, Strippers Vs. Werewolves
- Dani Dyer: Heckle, Bonded By Blood 2, Age of Kill, We Kill The Old Way
- Nick Nevern: Prime Suspect (TV), Eliminators, Brotherhood, Spring, Meet The Firm – White Collar Hooligan 3, Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie, The Hooligan Factory, The Hooligan Wars, White Collar Hooligan 2, Fall of the Essex Boys, GBH, Outpost 2, The Rise Of a White Collar Hooligan, Victim, The Sweeney Movie, Turnout, 7Lives, Strippers Vs. Werewolves, Terry
- Ricci Harnett: Rise of the Footsoldier 2, Top Dog, The Rise and Fall Of a White Collar Hooligan, Ill Manors, Turnout, Psychosis, Rise Of The Footsoldier, Joy Division, 28 Days Later
- Bruce Payne: The Rizen, The Antwerp Dolls, Breakdown (2015), Age of Kill, Getaway, Prowl, Dungeons & Dragons, Necronomicon, Passenger 57, Pyrates, The Howling 4, The Fruit Machine, for Queen and Country, Billy The Kid and The Green Baize Vampire, Absolute Beginners, Oxford Blues