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Review: British action flick ‘I Am Vengeance’ offers stiff upper lip but little else of note

Stu Bennett as John Gold in a scene from “I Am Vengeance.” Credit: Saban Films / Lionsgate
Stu Bennett in the movie “I Am Vengeance.”
(Saban Films / Lionsgate)

Intentionally or not, writer-director Ross Boyask’s thriller “I Am Vengeance” plays like a pastiche of about a half a dozen or so classic action pictures. There’s a bit of “Get Carter” in there, and a drop or two of “First Blood” … and even what may be passing nods to James Bond and “Enter the Dragon.” What the film mostly lacks is its own flavor.

Professional wrestler Stu Bennett (a.k.a. “Wade Barrett”) stars as John Gold, a British military veteran and steely gun for hire who comes to a tiny town called Devotion to investigate the killing of his best friend. He soon uncovers an organized troupe of former soldiers running criminal schemes under the direction of man named Hatcher (Gary Daniels).

From there, “I Am Vengeance” follows a familiar plot, as Gold punches his way through various local thugs and lackeys, on his way to Hatcher’s lavish estate/training camp. (There’s the “Enter the Dragon” influence.)

The movie has its moments. Whenever Boyask lets his hero relax for a minute or two and have a conversation, the dialogue becomes less flatly functional. And the fight sequences, while hardly masterful, are at least properly punishing and well-performed by some charismatic tough guys and gals.

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But aside from the British accents, there’s nothing here to distinguish “I Am Vengeance” from any ’80s/’90s straight-to-video fodder. This is a competent but rough copy of some films that genre buffs would be better off re-watching.

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‘I Am Vengeance’

Rated: R, for violence and language throughout, drug use, and a brief nude image

Running time: 1 hour, 32 minutes

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Playing: Starts Aug. 24, Laemmle Glendale


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