Vanquish

Vanquish

2021, R, 96 min. Directed by George Gallo. Starring Ruby Rose, Morgan Freeman, Patrick Muldoon, Nick Vallelonga, Julie Lott, Ekaterina Baker, Joel Michaely, Chris Mullinax, Juju Journey Brenner.

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., April 16, 2021

In this hyperkinetic and highly stylized actioner, the CW's former Batwoman Rose plays Victoria, a former assassin/bag-woman now essaying the role of caretaker to her former boss Damon (Freeman), who is confined to a wheelchair following an accident sustained in the line of duty. Yep, he’s a corrupt Police Commissioner and he’s got his fingers in everybody’s pockets, a puppet master who thrusts Victoria back into the danger zone for the fabled “one last time” caper. Initially hesitant due to the fact that her 10-year-old daughter Lily is suffering through some unspecified but potentially fatal illness, Victoria ultimately accepts Damon’s proposition after he kidnaps her kiddo. From there on out, Vanquish’s female antihero goes full on ultramegabadass, a downright John Wicksian force riding through the Louisiana/Mississippi gulf coast night atop her trusty Harley-Davidson LiveWire electro-cycle. If she can complete five drop-offs and five-pick ups prior to the dawn, she gets little Lily back. If not, well, it’d take an almighty suspension of disbelief on the audience’s part to fall for Morgan "Voice of God” Freeman’s pseudo-omniscient bad guy actually giving the kid an ultimate timeout. Maybe no internet for a week but, nevertheless.

Rose has clearly recovered from the 2019 on-set accident that nearly severed her spinal cord and caused her to depart Batwoman after only one season. Decked out in a signature white leather moto-jacket, a severely shorn 'do, and that sexy, sexy bike, Rose makes for both a compelling, femme-centric antihero (the actor came out as something of a LGBTQIA role model for queer youth in 2017) as well as a caring mom. Too bad the script, by director Gallo and Samuel Bartlett, is so packed full of wooden, cliched dialogue and bullet-riddled banal (and exhausting) exposition. You could shave 88 minutes off the running time and end up with something as automotively unforgettable as Claude Lelouch’s utterly mind-blowing, high-speed drive through the serpentine, dawn-lit streets of Paris in 1976's C'était un rendez-vous.

It’s all about that futuristic superbike, actually. The plot mechanics, action set pieces, and characters arcs – or lack thereof – are all dreadfully overfamiliar, resulting in a cream puff of a thriller. It’s a shiny, pretty thing and probably a decent filler flick while the world waits for Mr. Wick’s return.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Vanquish, George Gallo, Ruby Rose, Morgan Freeman, Patrick Muldoon, Nick Vallelonga, Julie Lott, Ekaterina Baker, Joel Michaely, Chris Mullinax, Juju Journey Brenner

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