A beautifully restored muscle car sits by the side of the road as V for Vengeance begins. The trunk pops open and Emma (Jocelyn Hudon, Christmas Wedding Planner, Safer at Home) pops out, changes into a skimpy outfit and waits. It doesn’t take long before some fat redneck shows up and tries to take advantage of the situation. He gets sucked, but not in the way he wanted.
The next time she tries this she ends up getting picked up by Scarlett (Grace Van Dien, Awaken the Shadowman, The Binge), her adoptive, and estranged, sister. The two are vampires who apparently aren’t bothered by the bright sunlight they’re fighting each other under, silver however is a problem for them.
After an extremely long and poorly staged fight, we find out why Scarlett was looking for her, their other adoptive sibling, Kate (Pauline Dyer, A Stone Cold Christmas, Memphis), is alive. However at the same time Tatiana (Alix Villaret, Doll Face, Vampfather) is telling Thorn (Sean Maguire, Meet the Spartans, Once Upon a Time) the same news, and he is not happy to hear it.
Director Kelly Halihan and writers Peter Moore Smith (Forgetting the Girl) and Steven Paul (Never Too Young to Die, Tekken: Kazuya’s Revenge) go in hard on the cliches in V for Vengeance’s opening act. Good vampires who only kill bad people, rich, decadent vampires who kill anyone and a war between them. Sisters estranged over a man. An anti-vampire vaccine. Young children seeing their parents brutally murdered. It’s like a checklist of horror and revenge film stock elements.
Thankfully the fight scenes do get better as the film goes on because there’s no way V for Vengeance would get by on its plot. The script continues to pile on the cliches Emma hooks up with a bounty hunter named Marcus (Christopher Russell, Land of the Dead, Day of the Dead), who also has a history with her sister, and their going at it is intercut with Scarlett fighting off an attacker.
On the plus side, we do get Graham Greene (Clearcut, Dances with Wolves) as the vampire hunter Bullseye and veteran character actor Michael P. Northey (Fido, Alone in the Dark) as an FVC agent. That stands for Federal Vampire Control by the way.
Unfortunately, V for Vengeance never really builds up an energy or momentum. It just sort of wanders along from one familiar plot point to the next with a lot of talk in between. Greene’s appearance is way too short but it’s about all that keeps the film’s middle act interesting. And it’s better seeing him in the cameo role than another appearance by Michael Pare or Danny Trejo.
The final act does have its share of action I will give it that. But the heavy, and obvious, reliance on stunt doubles in some of the fights, as well as some obvious camera trickery, hurts. Scarlett’s scenes come off best, but that may have something to do with her being played by an actress whose family tree includes Casper Van Dien as well as Robert and Christopher Mitchum. She probably has a screen-fighting DNA strand. V for Vengeance doesn’t have much in the way of effects, just the odd bit of spurting blood, a few wounds and a couple of vampires that smoulder like embers when they die. The CGI is mostly tolerable for a change.
While not a total disaster, V for Vengeance isn’t a good film either. However, it has a few good moments and is professionally filmed and looks good. That might make it something to put on when there isn’t anything else you haven’t seen available, but that’s about it.
V for Vengeance is available on VOD and Digital platforms from Paramount, which is a bigger surprise than anything in the movie. You can check the film’s webpage for more information. And if you’re looking for more movies to sink your teeth into, FilmTagger has suggestions.