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Review: VFW (2020)

After a several year layoff after The Mind’s Eye, Joe Begos came back with two films in a matter of months. First was the drug-induced vampire tale Bliss. Now we have an updating of Assault On Precinct 13, VFW.

The plot, if you want to call it that, is simple. A drug called hype has turned the cities into war zones that the police don’t dare to enter. But that doesn’t stop a group of army buddies from hanging out at the local VFW. One night, a young girl Lizard (Sierra McCormick, The Vast Of Night) on the run from dealer Boz (Travis Hammer) bolts into their hall looking for a place to hide. She has his stash, he wants it back.


Now rather than toss her thieving ass out, or just give him back the drugs, they decide to fight him and his army of goons. The odds might look bad, but when these old soldiers include Abe (Fred Williamson, Atomic Eden, Black Caesar), Lou (Martin Kove, Steele Justice, Bring Me A Dream), Doug (David Patrick Kelly, The Crow, Commando), Tom (George Wendt, House, Cheers) and Death himself William Sadler (Hard to Kill) the odds are pretty even.

And that is VFW’s chief draw, watching all these old action heroes dish it out one more time. And dish it out they do. The blood flows frequently and in large quantities right from the start. After our heroes run out of bullets, they improvise all manner of weapons. It’s bloody, hand-to-hand fighting at close quarters, and you can imagine the results. It’s no surprise Fangoria’s film arm was involved with this.


Unfortunately, VFW lacks much of its inspiration’s suspense and tension. There’s so much of a buildup of these guys, there’s no doubt who will win. And from their personalities, I could pretty much tell who would survive.

Boz’s goons are described as mutants. But exactly how hype has changed them beyond making them willing to kill for a fix is never made clear. Meth and crack can cause that, but we don’t call those addicted to them mutants. Boz himself looks like he stepped out of an 80s Italian end of the world film. And his crew bear names like Roadie (Graham Skipper, Sequence Break, Automation) and Gutter (Dora Madison, The Honor Farm, Alone with You). It’s a nice retro touch.


If you don’t mind the predictability and just want to see more vintage tough guys kick-ass one last time, VFW is the film for you.

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