Bullet Points: Vendetta (2015)
I would like to commend WWE Studios for carrying on a tradition companies like PM Entertainment started back in the 1990’s and giving action entertainment fans a steady stream of direct to video actioners to enjoy in the comfort of their own homes.
In the past I’ve reviewed such WWE Studios releases as 12 Rounds 3: Lockdown and The Condemned 2 but one of their 2015 releases I had previously overlooked was Vendetta starring Dean Cain. Like most WWE Studios releases, the film features a role for one of the WWE Superstars. Vendetta features The Big Show or Paul Wight if we are going by his shoot name.
- Prologue: Cops Mason Danvers (Dean Cain) and Joel Gainer (Ben Hollingsworth) have tracked down two notorious criminals Victor Abbott (Paul Wight) and Griffin Abbott (Aleks Paunovic). Let’s just say the Abbotts don’t go peacefully and do what they can to resist the arrest, but the good guys come out on top, although both are a little worse for wear. But as they say, all’s well that ends well. Now this is either the shortest action movie in history or there is more to the story… as it turns out before the Abbotts are brought to trial a key witness against them mysteriously disappears so the Abbott Brothers are released and they are back on the streets. Mason Danvers is pissed when he hears this news, but things are about to get even worse.
- Making it Personal: What does Victor Abbott decide to do upon his release? He finds out where Mason Danvers lives, enters the home while Mason is at work and terrorizes and eventually kills Mason’s pregnant wife, Jocelyn. A distraught Mason Danvers begins to descend into a very dark place. His partner and friend Joel stops by one evening after the traumatic events and offers Mason to help Mason get through this anyway he can. It isn’t long before Mason takes him up on the offer. Mason calls Joel and tells him to meet him at an address… the address belongs to Victor’s brother Griffin and Joel arrives just in time to see that his friend Mason has murdered Griffin Abbott and two of Griffin’s nefarious associates who just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Mason is arrested, convicted and sent to Stonewall Correctional.
- Behind Bars: Guess who else is serving his time at Stonewall? If you said Victor Abbott you would be correct. Victor is definitely the “big man on campus” at Stonewall and he makes life miserable for Mason almost immediately. Mason is attacked while working in the prison laundry and nearly beaten to death. Once Mason recuperates, he puts the three goons who carried out the attack on his hit list and goes after each of them, eliminating them one by one. This all builds up to the eventual final battle between Mason and Victor.
- Expect the Unexpected: Vendetta has a lot of what you’d expect from a prison based action movie. There’s the obligatory fight in the shower scene, there’s Warren Snyder (Michael Eklund) the underhanded, less than ethical warden of the prison, Mason Danvers gets “thrown in the hole” a few times, there’s a lot of tension in the prison cafeteria. It is all stuff you’ve seen if you’ve seen any other action flick that takes place behind bars. But what I didn’t expect was just how dark the Mason Danvers character would get. He is the hero of the movie and he is brutally taking guys out, not just as a means of survival, he’s going after them like a vigilante. The blood and gore factor that Vendetta brings to the table has a lot to do with the directors of the film, The Soska Sisters.
As a fan of Dean Cain’s work since back in the Lois & Clark days, I don’t think I could have ever imagined him playing such a dark role, but the man pulled it off in Vendetta. Paul Wight was well cast as the heavy in this one, with his awe inspiring presence, Wight is a natural as a movie villain much like the late, great Richard Kiel was. I also want to point out the great work of Ben Hollingsworth in this movie as Joel Gainer. Gainer is the kind of friend you want in your life because he was there even when times got really tough, like going to prison for the rest of your life tough.
Overall I thought Vendetta was another solid effort by WWE Studios and I look forward to watching and reviewing more of their releases in the future.
And now for the portion of my reviews I know many of you look forward to, the Bonus Bullet Points…
- Are They Related?: In Vendetta, Dean Cain played a character named Mason Danvers. In the Supergirl TV series, Dean Cain plays a character named Jeremiah Danvers.
- Ginormous: Having watched The Big Show for years on WWE programming and even being ringside and seeing him up close and personal, I am well aware of the fact that the man is a true giant. But I was still in awe as I saw him holding a gun in Vendetta and just how small the gun looked in his ginormous hands.
- Is He Really Superman?: I’m sure the logical explanation is the adrenaline rush he was probably experiencing, but after Mason Danvers is shot during the prison riot scene he is barely slowed down. The illogical explanation would involve the Earth’s yellow sun.
- Two Time Offender: Vendetta was not Dean Cain’s first prison themed movie. The 1998 movie Dogboys also had a prison theme and co-starred Tia Carrere and Bryan Brown of F/X fame.