Review: BETRAYED (2018)

We’ve had plenty of DTV action films dealing with either the Russian Mob or the Mexican Cartels. In BETRAYED, writer/director Harley Wallen (A BENNETT SONG HOLIDAY, ABSTRUSE) gives us both. Plus vigilantes.

Corrupt as hell Mayor Don Alderman (John Savage THE DEER HUNTER, EYE FOR EYE) has cut a deal with the Russian mob. Mikhail (Harley Wallen) hasn’t been keeping his end of the bargain and crime, especially human trafficking, is exploding. To balance this, he invites the Cartel in to push the Russians out.

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The Russians don’t take well to this and counter by kidnapping the Mayor’s daughter Marie (Kaiti Wallen, wife of Harley) to be sold on the black market by Mr. Stone (Richard Tyson BIG BAD WOLF, DEATH KISS). Desperate he hires Mike Wolf (Billy Wirth BODY SNATCHERS, THE LOST BOYS) and Alpha (TJ Storm PUNISHER: WAR ZONE, TALES OF FRANKENSTEIN) to rescue her.

The plot description certainly conjures up expectations of some epic action scenes. Sadly, the budget can’t deliver them and the action is mostly limited to rather brief fistfights until the final act. This still could have worked if the script and hype had been dialed back to fit the resources available. Instead, we wait for an all-out war between the two factions, with the vigilantes caught in the middle.

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It never happens, and the audience feels cheated. Minus the gang war and simply pitched as a tale of bad-asses having to rescue a kidnapped girl it would have been more satisfying. But, I suppose, less likely to get sales. The film’s other big problem is the Mayor himself. He’s upset over women being kidnapped and trafficked, but he’s doing business with two organizations notorious for human trafficking. What did he expect was going to happen? And did he think he could double-cross the Russians without bad shit happening?

BETRAYED does have some good performances And he makes an imposing villain. By the final act it works up a bit of steam, but it’s too little, too late. The film also looks good from a technical standpoint. Maybe next time, Wallen will put a bit more effort into getting a script that lines up with its budget.

BETRAYED is available from Vision Films

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