Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Bound to Vengeance Review

Bound To Vengeance Review
I always love a good revenge thriller, but what is it about the idea of revenge that keeps me coming back for more?

I think the best revenge movies offer more than watching a wronged person put it to his oppressors. I think the best revenge movies examine the idea of morality, and how revenge factors into morality. I think they can dissect the inner thoughts of individuals and challenge character's beliefs. I think they can show what happens when people truly hit a breaking point and they become someone they don't recognize. When someone acts as a monster towards you, is it justifiable to be a monster back? Can evil be denounced and destroyed by more evil? Do we really live in a world of the "ends justifying the means" and an "eye for an eye." If we do, how does the ordinary citizen fit into that? I always feel the best revenge movies challenge our nature, our psyche, our place in this world.

"Bound of Vengeance" does none of that. I can tell it really wants to, but the movie falls flat in execution and in storytelling. The movie is just a bunch of gruesome acts and then its over. The sad part is that nothing really feels accomplished and no arcs seem satisfied. When we look at the truly great revenge movies show how the characters have changed and how their acts have reflected upon them. Here, its just ugly acts and then the movie is over. The movie refuses to investigate any further, or show us any sort of shift in the characters. It also refuses to really make characters in the first place, which makes the who movie a confusing collection of horrendous scenes.

The film starts on boring note, showing a camera-style POV shot of this girl spending a day with her boyfriend. I guess this is supposed to show us what this girl has lost as a result of being kidnapped by sexual creep. At least I think she got kidnapped and I think the guy is a sexual creep. He's definitely a creep, but what kind? Who knows. The movie jumps right into the action. After the POV shot, we get a scene of the same girl escaping her captor. While its nice to dive right into the action, we still don't know who these characters are, and why we should care what happens to any of them. The film shows us in the lamest and laziest of terms of good and evil. How did the girl get captured? How and why does this man target who he targets? Did anybody look for the girl? What makes these individuals tick?

The rest of the movie shows the girl apprehend the creepy captor and she forces him to help her find his other victims he has stashed around the city. So it tries to show the girl as some sort of hero. What's funny is that the first two girls she tries to rescue die in the process, and it left me wondering: Is this movie supposed to be some kind of joke? I mean character development is out the window. The story is as stupid as stupid gets? Is this some kind of joke? No, the movie makes itself clear that's trying to be real revenge thriller, except its not. Not even close. Why does this girl want to risk her life to save other girls? Well, its certainly noble and if the movie just paused to showcase her thinking, I would let it go. But gosh, we never get a simple line of her saying, its the right thing to do. Nothing is explained in any sort of fundamental manner and that left me deeply frustrated.

The lead girl is played by Tina Ivlev and she's fine. I mean its such a thin character that I think any girl on the planet could have stepped in and done this role. I can't really say anything special about her performance because  there was nothing special on the screenwriter page. The director didn't push her to do anything special. Its the richest example of going through the motions that I can name. I will say this though, Richard Tyson plays a magnificent creep. You know Richard Tyson whether you know it or not. He was the main villain in "Kindergarten Cop" opposite of Arnold Schwazenegger, and that is were I remember him vividly. You may also recognize him from "Black Hawk Down" in 2001. Tyson is an underrated actor, and given what he had to do here, he tries. He gives the best possible effort, its just lost in nothing storyline and yet another painfully thin character.

The revenge movie can tiptoe between pass and fail. You really need strong characters and a rich storyline to really make a revenge movie soar, especially since there have been so many examples, some good and some bad. You can just throw a victim into a tight situation and have them shamelessly kill with nothing to tell of it. That doesn't work for me. There always needs to be a method to the madness, otherwise its just torture porn. I think you know where "Bound of Vengeance" lies.

FINAL GRADE: D-

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