Director: Stephen Reynolds
Major Players: Danny Dyer, Vincent Regan, Roxanne McKee
Out Of Five? 2
As the credits roll on Danny Dyer’s latest offering, Vendetta, there’s a shout-out for the suppliers of “Mr Dyer’s shirts”, causing more than a titter amongst the audience. But, if you can sit through this particular movie, you’ll take pretty much anything ……….
Jimmy Vickers (Dyer) returns from military service in Afghanistan after the death of his parents in an arson attack on their house. Once back, he starts tracking down the gang behind the killings and rubbing them out, one by one.
Not the most of original plots. That doesn’t necessarily have to matter, since revenge stories have been with us for thousands of years. Cinematically, they’ve popped up in just about every genre you can think of, including The Outlaw Josey Wales and, more controversially at the time, Death Wish.
Vendetta obviously has aspirations in the direction of the Michael Winner movie. Unfortunately, though, its director Stephen Reynolds does nothing new or even remotely creative with the storyline. Instead, he seems to have immersed himself in The Bumper Book Of Movie Cliches, as the story, characters and dialogue are riddled with them.
Here’s a sample of the clunking dialogue. “Vengeance won’t give you closure.” Or how about “I feel your pain, mate. I really do.” Enough said. If only that had been the case……
I hesitate to use the word “characters” for fear of prosecution under the Trade Descriptions Act. They’re made of such thin cardboard that it’s more like paper. Dyer is robotic, apparently half asleep most of the time, especially in a farcical scene at the very end where he turns up in New York behaving like Batman but without the rubber suit. There’s the honest cop, who comes to learn that his superiors are in the police for their own ends and don’t give a hoot for justice. And then there’s the police inspector, whom everybody hates and it is a total incompetent. I won’t go on. You get the picture.
Half way through the film, Reynolds decides it needs a message, so he starts a debate about justice and revenge. He needn’t have bothered. Not only have we lost interest by this stage, he also has precious little to say – and what there is appears to be in favour of the vigilante approach, which leaves a decidedly unpleasant taste in the mouth.
The screening I attended was due to be followed by a Q and A with Danny Dyer himself. To be fair, we were told before the film started that he may not be able to make it after all. And, as we watched the credit roll for his shirts, this was confirmed – making us all wonder if somebody had tipped him off that he might get a polite but unfavourable reception.
Vendetta is currently in cinemas and then re-appears on 23 December as a DVD. Neither are compulsory.