| Mystery | Action |
Director: George Gallo
Producer: Nate Adams, David E. Ornston, Richard Salvatore
Writer: George Gallo, Samuel Bartlett
Release Date (Theaters): Apr 16, 2021, Limited
Release Date (Streaming): Apr 16, 2021
Runtime: 1h 36m
From the director of Double Take, Middle Men, and The Poison Rose comes this stylish, glossy action-thriller starring Morgan Freeman (Se7en) and Ruby Rose (“Orange Is the New Black”) that shows what desperation can drive a person to do. A mother, Victoria (Rose), is trying to put her dark past as a Russian drug courier behind her, but retired cop Damon (Freeman) forces Victoria to do his bidding by holding her daughter hostage. Now, Victoria must use guns, guts, and a motorcycle to take out a series of violent gangsters — or she may never see her child again.
It’s hard to believe that a five-time Oscar nominee would sign on for an action movie this frustratingly underwritten and embarrassingly amateurish, but whatever deal he made, it wasn’t worth it. At least Freeman doesn’t have to exert himself too much in Vanquish, spending almost the entire movie in a wheelchair in a cozy mansion, looking at video monitors. Rose does the hard work here, although the reasons behind it are so vague that it’s irritating. Is the cash she’s picking up protection money? If so, then why are the missions so dangerous? If Damon is crooked, then why hasn’t he been caught before now? He’s clearly quite careless.
Even her dialogue — e.g., “I promised myself I would never do this again” — is annoyingly vague. Do what again? What did she do? If she was a super spy, she maybe wasn’t very good at it. One chase scene, with Victoria on a motorcycle pursued by trucks, goes on forever until a helpful truck coincidentally pulls out so that she can slide underneath it and trap her pursuers. Did she plan this? It’s hard to believe … or care. Beyond the spotty script, veteran writer (Midnight Run, Bad Boys) and director George Gallo uses some truly puzzling techniques, including excessive dissolves, frequent flashbacks (to things that happened five minutes earlier), and even a rat’s point of view. Perhaps worst of all is the offensive stereotyping, from an exaggerated gay gangster to a large Black gangster who is, of course, shown eating.