Violence and Roxanne McKee help make this Essexplotation thriller watchable, but only just.
Writer/director Stephen Reynolds’ Vendetta is a film that’s barely held together as it was made with little in the way of style, realism or genuine film-craft, but somehow remained kind of watchable … kind of. I’m still at a loss as to how I ended up not totally disliking Vendetta, when there really was so much happening that would normally have me turning off before the first act had played out, yet I found myself mildly entertained, from the nonsensical beginning to the ridiculous ending, thanks in no small part to a bit of ludicrously imaginative violence and the super-hot Roxanne McKee.
Dyer can be a capable actor when given a chance to do his thing as a performer, however, he’s chosen some unfortunate roles in the past, like this one, but actors have bills to pay and that’s clearly what Dyer has been doing here, getting the head down and working, bruv. Unfortunately he does little more than try to look tough in Vendetta, by spending the beginning of most of the shots staring fixedly down at his left shoe, then slowly raising his head to attempt a menacing, silent, ‘ard-man pose. This is done too often to be taken seriously but this was down to the director and not Dyer, oi fink.
Providing much-needed eye-candy and playing Jimmy’s wife effectively, was the stunning Roxanne McKee (Game of Thrones), who easily outshone the rest of the cast. McKee’s role wasn’t particularly large but you got a sense of her acting ability when she was on screen, proving the actress is more than just a pretty face. McKee is someone who only needs to get noticed by the right person and with those looks and acting skill, who knows, she just might be the next Kate Beckinsale.
Vendetta tells the story of Special Forces Interrogator Jimmy Vickers, who goes AWOL while on tour in Afghanistan, after he gets locked up for going overboard while questioning a suspect and beating the bloke to death. He was planning on soon visiting his parents when he learns of their murder so somehow slips away to arrive in London and wreak havoc on the thugs involved.
To help me try and ignore a ton of bullshit in Stephen Reynolds’ Vendetta, I had to continually remind myself it was done on a very low-budget, and also tell myself it could have been even worse, it could’ve been Paul Tanter directing and not just one of his mates.
The realism in this film was practically non-existent with far too many examples to list but I’ll give you one or two. The first confrontation with the bad guys comes after he gets some info from his copper mate, and we see Jimmy ram a black BMW with his car, then watch him sit there while the well-built thug comes over to Jimmy’s open car window armed with a screwdriver. Jimmy takes his time, leaving himself needlessly and pointlessly exposed, before he headbutts the guy then gets out of his car and start to fight. Jimmy is stabbed in the belly before overpowering the bad guy, which simply wouldn’t have happened in the real world as you wouldn’t sit there like an idiot, allowing a dangerous murderer to get tooled up just to look cool!
As mentioned, there are loads of things about this film that are just plain wrong but if you simply must see an Essexploitation movie where the words “bruv” and “yeah?” are added to the end of most sentences then I guess you could do worse than watch Vendetta, however, I’m stuck trying to think of many films of this ilk that are much worse. At the end of the day Roxanne McKee is in it. Nuff said.
Review by Ed Blackadder, Lead Entertainment Writer