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The Gratuitous B-Movie Column: I Am Vengeance

January 23, 2019 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
I Am Vengeance Wade Barrett Stu Bennett

The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #494: I Am Vengeance

Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that has never had to singlehandedly take down a small town drug running operation using my black ops skills because, well, I don’t have any black ops skills, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number four hundred and ninety-four, I take a look at the badass low budget British action flick I Am Vengeance, which hit movie screens in North America in late 2018.

I Am Vengeance

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I Am Vengeance, also known as just Vengeance, written and directed by Ross Boyask, stars the former Wade Barrett/Bad News Barrett/King Barrett Stu Bennett as John Gold, a badass British Special Forces operator who left the service to become a kind of vigilante-for-hire. After rescuing a kidnapped girl, Gold heads to a little town called Devotion to find out what happened to his old friend/fellow operator Dan Mason (Kevin Leslie). Dan was found dead under mysterious circumstances (someone stabbed him in the back of the neck after beating him severely) along with his Mom and Dad (I don’t know who played them). Who the hell would kill Dan and his parents?

As soon as he arrives in Devotion, Gold is confronted by Hatcher (Gary Daniels) and his scary as hell friends. Who the hell is this Gold guy and why is he in town asking questions? Gold isn’t intimidated by Hatcher or his people, but the Devotion townsfolk sure are, as no one wants to talk to him, at least openly. One woman does, eventually, talk with Gold, a waitress named Sandra (Anna Shaffer), and she leads Gold to her boyfriend Keith (Sebastian Knapp), a totally messed up guy that knows what the heck is going on in Devotion and who Hatcher is. Hatcher, along with his men, are ex-Special Forces operators who showed up in town to take over the local drug trade (Keith ran the local drug trade before Hatcher and his people took over). Why would Special Forces guys want to be drug dealers? Gold intends to find out.

Now, while all of that is going, Gold strikes up a relationship with Rose (Sapphire Elia), a local café owner and hot babe who just wants to get the hell out of town but can’t because her entire life is tied up in the café. Rose also has a younger teen sister named Violet (Barbara Smith) she needs to look after as well. And while all of that is going on, Gold is being watched by the mysterious Frost (Mark Griffin), a sort of government agent that wants to bring Gold back into the official Special Forces fold.

So Gold hangs out in Devotion, living in an old sort of garage out in the woods and planning his next move. He’s going to attack Hatcher and his team and take them down while smashing their drug running operation, but when? What sort of reaction will that generate?

If you’ve seen any action flick with a revenge plot from the last thirty or forty years you know exactly what sort of reaction Gold will generate. Gold is going to right at Hatcher and his people and loads of bad guys are going to die. We’ve seen it all before. However, with a movie like I Am Vengeance, it isn’t so much about whether or not it’s original. Instead, it’s all about how well the plot is executed and whether or not the performances are awesome/badass enough. I’m happy to say that everything about I Am Vengeance is awesome, from the characters to how deftly the plot is handled. I Am Vengeance is ninety minutes of supreme badassness. There’s just no other way to put it.

Writer/director Boyask keeps the action grounded and unspectacular. That isn’t to say that what we see and what Boyask stages isn’t exciting, but there are no flying people or other fanciness. The gun fights and shit are fairly low key and the fights are down and dirty, nasty and brutal. And it’s all consistent throughout. The only thing the movie is missing is a car chase of some sort, which is a shame considering the sweet muscle car Gold has. It would have been great to see Gold drive that big engine bastard around the small streets of Devotion and, you know, run over bad guys with it. That kind of thing is always cool.

The tone of I Am Vengeance is also low key, which works with star Bennett’s natural intensity. As soon as you see him you know he’s the baddest motherfucker in the world. He doesn’t need a flashy entrance to tell you that. Villain Gary Daniels also does the low key intensity thing, which is truly unsettling. The movie does have a few moments of humor, most of it generated by Anna Shaffer and Sebastian Knapp, as they are both hilarious. The funniest moment in the movie is a bit where, while fighting off multiple henchmen, Gold and his opponents stop dead in their tracks/in “mid-punch,” to watch Sandra try to fight a guy with ridiculous results. That kind of scene could kill an action movie in general if it isn’t handled well. Boyask manages to handle the sequence to where it isn’t out of place at all. It’s ridiculous, yes, but, in the world he’s created, it actually fits.

Stu Bennett rocks hard as John Gold. Again, he has a natural, quiet intensity that makes him brilliantly suited for the Gold character. Bennett just exudes badass. There isn’t a false note in his performance from beginning to end and he’s a joy to watch. If he decides to stick around the movie business he should have a nice future kicking ass and taking names in the action movie world.

Gary Daniels is such an awesome scumbag as Hatcher it’s amazing to think that, in some movies, Daniels actually plays a hero. He’s such a piece of shit in this that you can’t wait to see him get his ass kicked. Now, what’s fascinating with the way the movie ends is that Hatcher actually doesn’t die at the hands of Gold. Gold and Hatcher have a hellacious brawl and, at the end, it looks like he might best Gold, but then it doesn’t happen. I didn’t think the end would play out the way it does. Still, Daniels does a great job here and, if you like your villains on the supremely scummy side, you will absolutely love Daniels here.

Anna Shaffer is, again, hilarious as Sandra. She’s kind of goofy but you can’t help but like her, even when she’s in full “just shot up and is high as fuck” mode. She has great chemistry with both Bennett and fellow goofball Sebastian Knapp and you could easily watch them bounce dialogue off of one another for a full movie if necessary. As for Knapp, I think it would be a hoot to see him in his own movie, trying to live his life in Devotion and ultimately failing at it. And what’s the deal with the giant cigarette he’s smoking in that one scene?

Sapphire Elia does a great job as Rose, the café owner. As soon as you find out about her life and backstory and whatnot you want her to get the hell out of Devotion. She has terrific chemistry with Bennett, too, but they don’t have romantic chemistry, which is something you don’t see all that often in this kind of movie. Barbara Smith is great, too, as Violet, Rose’s sister. She isn’t an annoying young person. That doesn’t happen often, either.

Hatcher’s henchmen are all excellent. Alan Calton, as Lambert, is terrifying, as is Bryan Larkin as Marshall, as well as Wayne Gordon as Stockwell. And then there’s Fleur Keith as Barnes, the only female member of Hatcher’s team. Her final scene is nothing short of devious. Oh, and one of these guys has a phone ringtone of a man screaming for mercy. Disturbing? Yes. Funny? Yes to that, too.

And then there’s Mark Griffin as the government agent Frost. He isn’t in the movie all that much, but his few scenes are incredibly important for setting up the upcoming sequel, Vengeance 2. Will Frost appear in that one, too, alongside Bennett? We’ll eventually find out, I’m sure.

I Am Vengeance is awesome. It’s exactly the kind of low budget action flick that I love. There’s a sequel coming soon, apparently with Vinnie Jones as the bad guy. I hope it’s the first of many John Gold adventures to come. The world needs more low budget action franchises, and it definitely needs more action stars like Stu Bennett. I can’t recommend I Am Vengeance enough. It’s a low budget action movie masterpiece.

See I Am Vengeance. See it, see it, goddamn see it!

So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: At least 30.

Explosions: Several small ones. Grenades mostly.

Nudity?: None.

Doobage: A forest, people running in the woods, a martial arts beat down, a roundhouse kick, multiple vicious head butts, mild tape bondage, a brutal rescue, full bondage, mild racism, of screen knife to the back of the neck, a shower, multiple body scars, booze drinking, a badass muscle car, lock picking, a bunch of keys, morgue hooey, surveillance, bar based misogyny, attempted interrogation, an almost fight, driving and listening to music, wrist torture, drug buying, purse searching, a montage of who the bad guys are, axe hooey, crossbow hooey, a drug induced freak-out, booby-trap hooey, axe to the chest, arrow to the side of the neck, a serious beating via gun butt, local café hooey, art buying, a shootout, a beat down, needle to the neck, a metal baseball bat to the face, of screen explosion, silenced handgun torture, more mild bondage, wrist biting, gut stabbing, glass pitcher to the back of the head, testicle stomping, bullet to the head, a hilarious text message, a sort of Commando “suiting up” montage, grenade hooey, shotgun hooey, double handgun hooey, a gigantic metal pipe to the head, bloody earlobe removal, fingers through the eyes, a vicious neck snap, a brutal reverse choke, brass knuckle hooey, a big ass fucking brawl, attempted strangulation, and the prospect of a sequel that oh so needs to happen (and it is happening).

Kim Richards?: Almost.

Gratuitous: Gary Daniels, a soldier giving his serial number, woman killing, dying for honor and shit, Stu Bennett, Stu Bennett walking around his apartment wearing only a towel for absolutely no reason, a badass muscle car, driving on the wrong side of the road (I’m sorry, I’m an American), Stu Bennett drinking booze to commemorate his dead buddies, a bartender named Bruce, a guy making his own cigarettes, a guy counting British money, “Jog the fuck on,” Stu Bennett fucking around with an axe, Stu Bennett ordering breakfast and then being non-committal about what, exactly, he wants for breakfast, Stu Bennett buying art, Stu Bennett’s backstory, a phone ringtone of a guy begging for mercy, Stu Bennett smoking a cigarette next to a sign that says “No Smoking,” Gary Daniels engaging in internet banking, and the prospect of a sequel that oh so needs to happen (and it is happening).

Best lines: “Well, come on!,” “Who else knows? Who have you told?,” “Who are you? I’m here to take you home,” “Yes, Danny boy! Yes!,” “Good effort, old man,” “John! We need your help now!,” “Would you look at that, a real life ghost,” “Uh, I want a vodka,” “I’m here to find whomever killed Sgt. Dan Mason,” “We’re done here,” “Keith?,” “Hatcher! His name’s Hatcher!,” “I mean, who’s going to mess with the Special fucking Forces?,” “Have you got a death wish or something?,” “You don’t talk much do you?,” “Go home, Sandra,” “Jesus fucking Christ they are gonna kill you!,” “Why is everyone pissing me off today?,” “Marshall, think strategically,” “Com one! Let’s dance! Really?,” “So, where do you and the other traitorous wankers hang out?,” “Not now. Seriously. Later, then,” “Hello, sunshine,” “First round’s on me, lads,” “Come on, what are you waiting for? It’s a fucking party!,” “You know, Hatcher may be top dog, but I’m the main event,” “On with it, then,” and “You okay? Every day’s perfection.”

Rating: 10.0/10.0

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Vengeance

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Things to Watch Out For This Week

AmericanRenegades

American Renegades: J.K. Simmons and Sullivan Stapleton star in this lowish budget action flick that actually received a small theatrical release this past December. The reviews for it haven’t been great, but I still think it looks kind of cool and is worth a rental at least. Stapleton has been kicking ass on TV in both Strike Back and Blindspot, so it’s cool that he’s now getting a chance to do it in a movie setting. From what I’ve read this movie has played in multiple “international” territories already (it is a European production) so there’s a chance that “international” readers have already seen it. So, who has seen American Renegades?

10ToMidnightBRD

10 to Midnight Collector’s Edition: This brilliant Charles Bronson action/slasher flick has Bronson as a hard ass cop trying to take down a serial killer that kills people while completely naked. To say that it’s insane would be a serious understatement. It’s also hilarious at times, especially when big Chuck starts waving a goddamn sex toy in front of the killer, played by Gene Davis. This Blu-ray comes to us from the fine folks at Shout! Factory and its Scream Factory division and it has all sorts of special features on it, including multiple interview featurettes and two commentary tracks, including one with the author of Bronson’s Loose and Bronson’s Loose Again, Paul Talbot. An absolute must have for Bronson nerds. I know I plan on getting it.

CobraShoutScreamFactory

Cobra Collector’s Edition: This Collector’s Edition Blu-ray also comes to us from the fine folks at Shout! Factory/Scream Factory, which makes sense since this is basically star Stallone’s only real horror movie, unless you count that Eye See You/D-Tox movie he did, then Cobra is the first of two horror movies that Stallone has made so far in his career. I love Cobra. It has great action, great villains in The Night Slasher (Brian Thompson) and his cult of psychos, and one of the greatest opening sequences/character intros ever filmed. George P. Cosmatos directed this flick after directing Stallone in Rambo: First Blood Part II, and his commentary track from the old Warner Bros. DVD has been ported over for this Blu-ray. There are also new multiple interview featurettes featuring Thompson, the great Andrew Robinson, the incomparable Art LaFleur, and more. It stinks that this Blu-ray doesn’t have the “original” version of Cobra, but, hey, maybe we’ll get that one day. Maybe. Still, much like the 10 to Midnight Blu-ray is a must have for Bronson nerds, this Cobra Collector’s Edition is a must have for Stallone nerds.

Sheborg

Sheborg: This is some sort of mega low budget Australian sci-fi horror comedy that looks freaking insane. Apparently it’s all about an alien fugitive that crash lands on Earth and starts turning people into cyborgs that then eat puppies (and other animal flesh) in order to survive. See what I mean? Freaking insane. Wild Eye Releasing is putting this out. Definitely want to rent this and check it out.

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Do you like Cult TV?

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The 1970’s TV thriller Kolchak: The Night Stalker is first up! Check out what I think about the show with the links below!

Issue #1
Issue #2
Issue #3
Issue #4

… and coming soon: Street Hawk!

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B-Movie News

JohnWickChapter3

The first John Wick: Chapter 3- Parabellum trailer has been released!: And, holy shit, is it awesome. It looks like Parabellum is going to pick up a few minutes or so after the end of the classic John Wick: Chapter 2 (check out my review of that flick here), with our hero John Wick trying to figure out what the heck he’s going to do next since he’s been ex-communicated from the Continental. Mark Dacascos, Halle Berry, Anjelica Huston, and Larry Fishburne are all in it, and, man, the action looks amazing. The whole motorcycle/sword scene, the big shootout scene, the whole “John Wick kills a guy with a book” scene. May 17th can’t get here fast enough as far as I’m concerned. Who else can’t wait for John Wick: Chapter 3- Parabellum?

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Check out my Widow’s Point set visit report!

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Read it here!

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Who is the Douchebag of the Week? Go here and find out!

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Next Issue: Shocking Dark directed by Bruno Mattei!

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Interviews

david j. moore
Jino Kang
Vladimir Kulich
Paul Mormando
Michael Matteo Rossi
Tyrone Magnus
Hector Barron
Jeffrey Orgill
Michael Baumgarten
R. Marcos Taylor
Don “The Dragon” Wilson
Paul Kyriazi
Eric Jacobus
Juju Chan
Luke LaFontaine
Marco Siedlemann
Sam Firstenberg
Amariah Olson
Alexander Nevsky
Mathias Hues
Kristanna Loken
Steve Mitchell
Albert Pyun
Brad Thornton
Mathieu Ratthe
Damien Power
Kelsey Carlisle
Mike Dwyer
Nicholas Bushman
Brahim Achabbakhe
Etcetera
Richard LeMay
Andrew David Barker
Cynthia Rothrock
Leslie Simpson
C. Courtney Joyner
Eric Miller
Alexander Nevsky (2)
Christopher Lawrence Chapman
James Mark
Casper Van Dien
Chris Mark
James E. Wilson
Barry Hunt
Vincent J. Roth
Mathew Ziff
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Barry Hunt (2)
Lobsang Tenzin
Dylan Reynolds
Paul Kyriazi(2)
Lincoln Bevers
Nassasin Nuri
Hannah Janssen
Harry Mok
Daniel Roebuck
Sage Croft
Stephen van Vuuren
Cheryl Wheeler Sanders
Eric Jacobus (2)
David William No
Nicholas Verdi
Luke LaFontaine (2)
Roger Yuan
Dominik Starck
Tamas Nadas
Tyler Savage
Robert McGinley
Tim Gouran
Billy Ray Brewton
Leo Scherman
Harley Di Nardo
Jino Kang(2)
Alexander Nevsky (3)
Steve Latshaw
Rick Hurst
Douglas Burke
Jeff Farley
Fred “The Hammer” Williamson
Nico Sentner
Everett Ray Aponte
Max Martini

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Well, I think that’ll be about it for now. Don’t forget to sign up with disqus if you want to comment on this article and any other 411 article. You know you want to, so just go do it.

B-movies rule. Always remember that.

I Am Vengeance

Stu Bennett– John Gold
Gary Daniels– Hatcher
Anna Shafer– Sandra
Sapphire Elia– Rose
Barbara Smith– Violet
Alan Calton– Lambert
Wayne Gordon– Stockwell
Bryan Larkin– Marshall
Sebastian Knapp– Keith
Fleur Keith– Barnes
Keith Allen– Dougie
Mark Griffin– Frost
Kevin Leslie– Dan

Directed by Ross Boyask
Screenplay by Ross Boyask

Distributed by Lionsgate

Rated R for violence, language, and drug use.
Runtime– 92 minutes

Buy it here or here


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