The synopsis for Vanquish describes it as a “dynamic action thriller” about a former drug runner who’s forced into carrying out five very dangerous pickups in one night. Written and directed by George Gallo (Bad Boys, Midnight Run), Vanquish stars Morgan Freeman and Ruby Rose, so you would hope that it would at least be reasonably watchable… right?
Sadly, the warning signs are there very early on, right from the opening title/credit sequence. For six very long and incredibly dull minutes, we get to see a lot of names appearing on a black screen, mixed with the occasional newspaper headline showing us that retired cop Damon (Freeman) was considered a hero throughout his career but is now confined to a wheelchair for his retirement following a shooting on his doorstep.
Damon lives alone in a very large modern house with Victoria (Ruby Rose) as his caretaker. Victoria also has a daughter who helps her out around the house and Damon, who has actually been a dirty cop for much of his life, decides to kidnap that daughter in order to get Victoria to carry out a night of work for him. Utilising her particular set of skills (she used to be a drugs runner for the Russians), Damon wants Victoria to make five stops in order to pick up money for him from various drug dealers and underworld criminals. He loans her a futuristic-looking motorcycle and promises to release her daughter, who he assures is perfectly safe, if she successfully carries out the job. He also promises to pay for her daughters treatment as she is suffering from a condition that we do not know about.
What follows is a series of bike trips, usually resulting in a shootout with some bad guys and then occasionally a car/bike chase. When she’s not being chased, we’re treated to a combination of audio and visual, literally replaying the previous scene as Victoria ponders her predicament, just in case you’d forgotten, or were getting bored with just watching someone drive a motorbike. It’s all very odd and coupled with poor editing, jarring jump cuts and transitions, colour grading that’s either too blue or sickly green and yellow, Vanquish really is a complete mess.
Unfortunately, the acting and script aren’t much better either. Ruby Rose isn’t exactly known for her great acting skills anyway, but come on Morgan Freeman – he’s just phoning in his performance, sitting in a wheelchair looking completely disinterested as he and delivers the dullest, least suspenseful lines I’ve seen in a long while. There’s also some ongoing nonsense regarding a bunch of other bent coppers, but Line of Duty this most certainly is not. And as for the action aspect, well I guess someone saw Ruby Rose in John Wick and thought she was deserving of a shot of her own as an unstoppable assassin. No.
Signature Entertainment presents Vanquish on Premium Digital Platforms 28th May
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