VOD film review: Vanquish
James R | On 28, May 2021
Director: George Gallo
Cast: Morgan Freeman, Ruby Rose, Patrick Muldoon
Where to watch Vanquish online in the UK: Sky Cinema / NOW / iTunes / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / TalkTalk TV / Rakuten TV / Google Play / Sky Store / CHILI
What do Bruce Willis and Morgan Freeman have in common? Thanks to Vanquish, they’ve both telephoned in performances in low-rent action flicks – in Morgan Freeman’s case, literally. He plays Damon, a wheelchair-bound former cop who ropes his carer, Victoria (Ruby Rose), into visiting a string of dodgy contacts and collecting stashes money from each of them. And so he stays at home while she heads out on her motorbike, with a camera and ear piece so he can see what’s happening and comment on the action.
It sounds like a B-movie genre answer to Gogglebox, but it’s not as entertaining as that premise could be, with Freeman’s corrupt ex-law-enforcer given little to do other than play things disappointingly straight. Victoria, too, gets little in the way of character, other the fact that she used to be a Russian mafia courier – leaving her with a very particular set of skills – and has a daughter, Lily, that she’d very much like to keep safe. With Damon apparently kidnapping Lily to get Victoria to do his bidding, the stage is set for an overly serious 90 minutes.
That lack of humour wouldn’t be a problem if the dialogue weren’t so dubious or repetitive. Victoria interrupts each leg of her tour with another exchange with Damon and their ensuing back-and-forths are so frequent you wonder why she doesn’t just track her daughter down within his lavish home estate, rather than build slowly up to an underwhelming finale that reinforces the movie’s lack of humour. Moments when other characters are clearly intended to be colourful and cartoonish are undermined by the words themselves – in one particularly cringe-indulging moment, a goon talks of killing more people than Quentin Tarantino does in his films, a line that fails to land.
The weak script wouldn’t be a problem either if the action could keep you entertained, but the choreography and editing never get your adrenaline flowing. None of this is Ruby Rose’s fault. The model turned actor has demonstrated solid action chops in xXX: Return of Xander Cage and John Wick Chapter 2, but when even Morgan Freeman can’t elevate the material, everyone involved is fighting a losing battle. The result is a dour, underwhelming thriller that doesn’t live up to its star billing, whether they’re phoning it in or not.
Vanquish is available on Sky Cinema. Don’t have Sky? You can also stream it on NOW, as part of an £11.99 NOW Cinema Membership subscription. For the latest Sky TV packages and prices, click the button below.