Renegades (2022) Review
Renegades, not to be confused with American Renegades, starts on a familiar enough note as retired Green Beret Major Carver (Lee Majors, The Fall Guy, Ash vs Evil Dead) getting on the wrong side of mob boss Goram (Louis Mandylor, Blowback, Battle Drone). It seems Carver’s daughter Judy (Patsy Kensit, Lethal Weapon 2, Emmerdale Farm) is a local politician and has been leading a clean up the streets campaign and making complaints about Goram’s activities. When Goram had his goons threaten her Carver got involved. And ends up beaten to death for his troubles.
When her father’s military buddies Burton (Nick Moran, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Hunted), Peck (Ian Ogilvy, Return of the Saint, Death Becomes Her), Woody (Billy Murray, EastEnders, Dead Cert), and Harris (Paul Barber, The Full Monty, A Very British Christmas) hear about it they know what needs to be done. These old soldiers are about to fight a new war on the streets of London.
This is an old and well-established plot, something that writer Tom Jolliffe (When Darkness Falls, The Area 51 Incident) and director Daniel Zirilli (Curse of Alcatraz, Phoenix) are quite aware of. And they’re equally aware of what the audience wants and gives it to them.
Goram is a perfect villain, he’s a foreigner not one of the “proper” old school English gangsters, which means he’s not just involved in the drug trade but in human trafficking as well. Though he does share their enjoyment of doing things like hacking off a rival’s fingers himself. He also has a small army of goons for our heroes to kill off once the action starts.
There’s also the usual assortment of colourful characters on the fringe of the story to allow for cameos by recognizable names and faces including Danny Trejo (The Legend of La Llorona, The Last Exorcist), Michael Paré (Bridge of the Doomed, Headless Horseman), Stephanie Beacham (Dracula A.D. 1972, Inseminoid), Michael Brandon (Four Flies on Grey Velvet, Dempsey and Makepeace) and in his last role Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister (No Holds Barred, Slasher Party). As an added bonus, some of them actually have scenes with other cast members rather than literally phoning them in.
Renegades is a lower-budgeted film so you’ll need to adjust your expectations of how many action scenes you’re going to get accordingly. However, the scenes we do get are certainly well enough done, especially the final showdown. My biggest complaint in this regard is one you’ve heard from me before, the scenes need to be spread out a bit more in order to keep the film’s pace from slowing down too much. Lines like “We’re not exactly The Wild Geese are we?” help, but not as much as some actual action, even if it’s only a quick punch up.
When it comes down to it Renegades is the VOD equivalent of a weekend rental from Blockbuster. You know what you’re getting, some familiar faces and a few decent action scenes. The performances by the leads are good and most of the smaller roles are handled well. The one exception is Michael Paré who, as is often the case with him lately, sounds like he’s bored and reading off of cue cards. The film ends with an opening for a sequel which I wouldn’t mind seeing, though hopefully it will have a bigger budget and a bit more destruction.
In the US Saban Films will release Renegades to theatres on December 2nd with a VOD and Digital release following on the 6th. Mongrel Media will release it on the 6th as well. In the UK 101 Films will release it on January 30th.