Vengeance Is Mine, (not to be confused with the recent Indonesian film Vengeance is Mine, All Others Pay Cash), opens with Emile (Anton Valensi, 90 Minutes, The Heavy) and his well-armed group of criminals ambushing another gang of villains. They leave no survivors and make off in a speeding vehicle with a small fortune in drugs. Remember that, we’ll come back to it in a bit.
Harry (Con O’Neill, Chernobyl) works in a church. He lives there too if you can consider it living, He obviously doesn’t and we see him repeatedly contemplate suicide, by knife and by a jump from the building’s upper level. Eventually, we find out why he’s like this, he saw his wife and daughter struck and killed in a hit and run. He’s been a shell of a man ever since.
Then the detective (Ricky Grover, Nemesis) he hired years ago finally comes up with a name for him. And if you guessed it leads back to the gang we saw at the start of the film then you’ve probably seen as many of these films as I have.
Writer/director Hadi Hajaig (Cleanskin, Blue Iguana) takes a cliched plot and strips it down to a minimum of cast and dialogue as well as its barest plot ingredients. A man filled with rage and grief and a bunch of scumbags who need killing. So far, so good.
Unfortunately, Vengeance Is Mine makes its hero a man with absolutely no fighting or combat skills. While this may make him more relatable to the audience it makes the likelihood of him taking out a gang of hardened criminals who are quite comfortable using automatic weapons even less believable than someone like Scott Adkins taking out scores of bad guys in Avengement or The Debt Collector.
Now if you can get past that, Vengeance is Mine at least doesn’t insult our intelligence further by having him mysteriously become a crack shot and world-class ass-kicker. Harry pretty much bumbles his way to revenge, using more than his share of luck just to stay alive.
Thankfully the action scenes in Vengeance is Mine are well enough done that you tend to forget the plot’s shortcomings. Much of the credit for that goes to Peter Pedrero, who plays Antonio as well as serving as the film’s stunt coordinator. His career stretches back to Braveheart and he’s worked on over three hundred films since. They include Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ravers, In the Earth and Venom: Let There Be Carnage.
Here he gets to stage several fights, shootings and assorted other violence. The big challenge is not only making them exciting to watch but somehow making it believable that Harry comes out on top. And, apart from a couple of laughable scenes of a shotgun blast sending a large man flying for distances a long jump competitor would envy, he does a good job.
With its lack of any real characters beyond Harry and Emma (Sarah-Jane Potts, The Lockdown Hauntings, The Chameleon) the church’s cook Vengeance is Mine doesn’t offer much in the way of performances. O’Neill is convincing as the troubled vengeance seeker and Potts does good as the co-worker who cares about him. But, for the most part, the rest of the cast are around just long enough to act tough and be killed, although Valensi does manage to be quite chilling as Harry’s main nemesis.
While it doesn’t rank up there with Death Wish and The Exterminator, let alone Dead Man’s Shoes, Vengeance is Mine is an OK time killer. If you can get past the dubious plotting.
Vengeance Is Mine is currently in limited theatrical release and available on VOD via Vertical Entertainment.