It’s a dangerous world out there, make no doubt about it.
William Duncan (Clive Standen) thought that his days of violence were behind him. Sure, he did a tour of duty in the military. And yes, he was trained how to kill a man. In fact, he was trained how to kill dozens of men and he did just that as a part of his patriotic duty. But that was the past. Now, William lives in the suburbs of Atlanta and he’s got a pretty nice life.
Unfortunately, one day, William’s life falls apart, shortly after he picks up his 16 year-old daughter, Kat (Maddie Nichols), from softball practice. William’s plan is to pick up his daughter, grab some food for dinner, and then head home. Unfortunately, a gang led by Rory Fetter (Theo Rossi) has a different idea. The time has come for Rory’s younger brother, Danny (Cabot Badsen), to be initiated into the gang. At first, it seems like Danny doesn’t even want to join the gang but still, when he’s ordered to murder a random bystander, he does so. That bystander happens to be Kat.
Danny’s arrested for the murder but he’s released due to the influence of his father, a powerful gangster named Donnie (Bruce Willis). Having been failed by the legal system, William decides to put his military training to good use and get his vengeance. At first, he’s armed with only his dead daughter’s softball bat. Later, he joins up with an arms dealer named Dante (Thomas Jane) and the war truly begins.
It should also be noted that Dante is friends with a shady garage owner named Roach. Roach is played by Mike Tyson. Yes, that Mike Tyson. Tyson doesn’t really get to do much as Roach. His garage does serve as one of the film’s many battlegrounds but, for the most part, Tyson is something of a bystander. It’s easy to see that the main reason he was included in the film was because it would inevitably cause at least a few potential viewers to say, “Hey, Mike Tyson’s in this! Let’s watch!” That said, even with his limited screen time, Mike Tyson has a surprisingly likable screen presence. I don’t think that anyone will ever mistake Tyson for being an actor of great range but he does a good enough job here that it would be foolish for someone not to cast him in a bigger role in a future low-budget action flick.
As for Vendetta, it’s about as pulpy as pulp can get. It’s an action/revenge flick that makes no excuse for being an action/revenge flick and, as a result, it’s difficult not to be entertained by it. The story moves quickly, there aren’t really any slow spots, and the cast does well with their roles. That includes Bruce Willis. This, of course, is one of Willis’s final films. Watching the films that were released after Willis revealed that he was retiring due to aphasia can feel a bit awkward as it’s obvious that the Willis who appeared in these films was quite a bit different from the Willis who appeared in Die Hard. That said, Willis is effectively intimidating in Vendetta. Even if he doesn’t display the wiseguy charm that was his trademark, Willis still has enough of his streetwise, tough guy screen presence that the viewers will be able to buy him as being a feared crime boss.
As far as 2022’s collection of Bruce Willis films go, Vendetta isn’t bad. It’s maybe a smidgen below Gasoline Alley (which, as of this writing, is the best Willis film of 2022) but it’s a hundred times better than American Siege and A Day To Die.