- 11 Sep - 17 Sep, 2021
- 01 May - 07 May, 2021
Vanquish stars Morgan Freeman and Ruby Rose. The former plays Damon, a wheelchair-bound retired cop whose past career is illustrated via a montage of laudatory newspaper articles shown during the end credits. Damon is now living in a lavishly modernistic oceanside mansion, indicating that he must have either received a very generous disability pension or was not quite the upstanding law enforcement officer he's made out to be.
The film doesn't waste any time on exposition or character development, instead launching almost immediately into its dubious premise. Damon blackmails his caretaker, Victoria (Rose), a former Russian drug courier whom he's sponsored during her parole, into going on an evening-long mission to raid a series of drug-trafficking sites to retrieve his illicit gains by any means necessary. To ensure Victoria's cooperation, he kidnaps her adorable young daughter (Juju Journey Brener), who also happens to be suffering from a life-threatening disease.
"It would involve using some of your old skills," Damon tells Victoria about her mission. Victoria promptly dons her suit, gets on her motorcycle and, equipped with an audio hook-up enabling two-way communication between her and Damon and a body camera that allows him to see everything she's doing, proceeds to engage in formulaic ultra-violent encounters with a procession of bad guys mainly distinguished by their inability to dodge bullets. The body count does indeed reach Tarantino-like proportions, minus the visual flair and dark wit.
Not that there isn't plenty of humour in the film, albeit strictly of the unintentional kind. Damon keeps verbally guiding Victoria through a seemingly endless series of high-speed chases around the city.
Gallo displays none of the screenwriting elan he's exhibited in such previous efforts as Midnight Run and the Bad Boys films, although here it's hard to separate the ponderous dialogue from the way it's delivered. The normally reliable Freeman speaks all his lines like he's been sedated, while Rose, an undeniably forceful screen presence, here makes being completely expressionless an acting choice. Gallo proves no more effective as a director, staging the action sequences in the sort of uninvolving, overly frenetic fashion that seems all the more glaring after the masterful examples recently seen in Nobody and the John Wick films.
Instantly forgettable, Vanquish proves likely to quickly live up to its title.