Acts Of Vengeance isn’t a bad revenge thriller, but it lacks the complexity to make it a good one.
Antonio Banderas does his best with the material but there’s not a lot going on with the plot other than the bare bones of the usual tale of revenge, which you’ve seen a million times before: Banderas is a hot-shot criminal lawyer who turns vigilante when his family is killed (he ditches his suit and starts wearing a leather jacket). There’s supposed to be a twist, but when you only have a a handful of speaking roles, the pickings are slim for a surprise reveal.
Banderas is the draw here and he embraces the physicality of his role with the vigour of a man 20 years younger (he’s 57). The man from Malaga always has a vibrant screen presence and he sells the material that he’s got with aplomb. I also enjoyed the Bulgarian backlot action on display here – there’s something quite comforting about movies which are shot within the confines of a studio and this added to the overall charm of this Isaac Florentine directed actioner. The new spin here is that Banderas’ character takes on vow of silence in order to give him clarity and focus as he carries out his acts of vengeance (he’s inspaired by the writings of Marcus Aurelius). But don’t worry, his Spanish tongue offers us a voiceover to help punctuate the punches.
The supporting cast of Acts Of Vengeance is impressive, but they’re by and large wasted in under-written roles. Robert Forster pops-up for a paragraph of dialogue, while Paz Vega fails to make an impression and Karl Urban’s role feels like it was either cut at the last minute or that he was just shoe-horned in to add another ‘name’ to the cast list.
An amiable enough 87 minutes of your time, Acts Of Vengeance doesn’t quite hit the mark. Antonio Banderas makes it worthwhile, but his star-wattage can only shine so bright when the material isn’t there to support him.