Acts of Vengeance looks like a film which someone intended to present in 2.35:1 like most action movies, but instead, shot it at around 16:9 and forgot to mask it to 2.35:1 in the final edit. Also, the font of the opening credits, and how they appear onscreen, looks like they’ve been applied with Photoshop on top of a piece of video.
It begins at “Part IV” of the story, with a fight in a cafe, before going back to the beginning of the story where Frank Valera (Antonio Banderas) shows that what he’s best at, as well as a fist fight, is being a lawyer, talking a lot, and missing his daughter’s talent show. When said offspring and his better half end up brown bread, it’s time to kick ass and chew bubblegum… and punch mirrors. ALWAYS punch mirrors.
Before he can beat the baddies, he must progress through a ridiculous 10-minute Rocky-style training montage.
Meanwhile, Karl Urban has a cameo as a cop who doesn’t do a lot of police work… so he’d fit in well with Greater Manchester Police, then.
On how his vow of silence has led to improved hearing, he observes, “Good things do happen when you shut the fuck up for a minute or two”. However, how do you get that across to anyone else? As people talk to him, he comes across just looking like he’s more busy thinking about what to have for dinner, than avenging the death of his family.
When we do get to the heart of the matter, it’s a well-worn premise with plot devices we’ve seen more than enough times, so it becomes an exercise in taking amusement from Mr Banderas’ amusing facial expressions.
Presented in the original 2.35:1 theatrical widescreen ratio, the picture is sharp and detailed enough, but a lot of the time, it’s all filmed in the dark, which doesn’t help. For the record, I’m watching on a Panasonic 50″ Plasma screen via a Samsung BD-P1500 Blu-ray player.
The sound is in DTS 5.1 and there’s a fair bit of kick-punch-slap-etc going on, but nothing revolutionary in the rears.
This is very much a bare bones release, as shown by the fact no-one at Kaleidoscope has seen fit to include any subtitles nor any extra beyond a perfunctory trailer (1:25). The trailer was one of my favourites of last year, given its fast-pace editing, but this film REALLY needed subtitles, so we can understand Banderas’ mumblings… but if he doesn’t speak, that’s not too much of a problem, no? Well, when he’s partnered up, for the most part, with Paz Vega, as Alma, she’s as incomprehenisble as he is!
The menu features a static shot of Mr Banderas, with a piece of the theme over the main menu. Chapters are the bog-standard 12 (I wish we’d get more, but alas this seems to be the case with so many studios). Are Kaleidoscope paying by the chapter?!
Running time: 87 minutes
Cat no: KAL8678
Distributor: Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment
Released: May 7th 2018
Sound: DTS HD-MA 5.1
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Isaac Florentine
Producer: Boaz Davidson, Yariv Lerner, John Thompson and Les Weldon
Screenplay: Matt Venne
Music: Frederik Wiedmann
Frank Valera: Antonio Banderas
Alma: Paz Vega
Strode: Karl Urban
Sue Valera: Cristina Serafini
Olivia Valera: Lillian Blankenship
Shivers: Clint Dyer
Chuck: Robert Forster
Karate Sensei: Isaac Florentine
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.