Acts of Violence Review

Acts of Violence is a 2018 crime thriller about a man whose fiancée is kidnapped by human traffickers, causing him and his ex-military brothers set out to track her down and save her before it’s too late.

Time was you’d see a title like Acts of Violence on the shelf at a video rental store, peak at the back, perhaps curious at the big name attached, shrug and move on to something that sounded far better. Back then, you at least had it in your hands and really gave that box art some consideration. These days though, it’s just one more thumbnail image in a sea of bland movies in your VOD store of choice, and while you might wonder at that big name star again, you’ll most likely shrug and move on. In this case, that’s probably the right choice.

Brett Donowho‘s latest does benefit for a bit from star Bruce Willis‘ presence and a few other good performances, but that aside, is hopelessly stuck in mediocrity. Set in Cleveland, after veteran and worn down Detective James Avery (Willis) sees one more casualty in the human trafficking war die before he can save her, we meet Roman McGregor (Ashton Holmes), who is about to marry his childhood sweetheart Mia (Melissa Bolona). But tragedy strikes when she gets into a rumble at her bachelorette party and irks some boys who work for local crime thug Max Livingston (Mike Epps). To get some revenge, they kidnap her with plans to put into trafficking as well. Fortunately, Roman’s got two older brothers, Deklan (Cole Hauser) and Brandon (Shawn Ashmore), military types with plenty of battle scars who decide the three of them can do better than the police and take after her. When Avery gets involved though, he tries hard to steer them away from vendetta, but soon finds himself questioning his own actions as this side of the law keeps coming up short.

There’s nothing wrong with another fun action thriller, and certainly, retreading old yarns is part and parcel for the industry. Acts of Violence does just that and while one might expect that, it’s just too bad that the filmmakers can’t at least give it some energy, the movie a bland, often lifeless take on the genre that can’t seem to build any momentum. In a film that would seem to promise some whizzbang, the film feels stagnant, even as it sets up plenty of opportunities.

It then tries to be topical, having Deklan in particular troubled by PTSD, though not explicitly said. He derides his counselor for not solving his problems, but then is mostly abandoned, serving only as an excuse for his coming behavior. What’s more worrisome is a film that focuses on the disdain of sex trafficking but sure seems okay with an extended erotic visit to a stripclub well prior to the action. I suppose that’s not new either in films like this, and perhaps if it had taken more time to support the message, it might have been better, however it’s just too perfuctory. I can’t really fault the actors, with Hauser and Ashmore doing mostly good work, though Willis can’t even bring any spark. This is simply a bland film with nothing much to say, going through the motions without any umph.

Acts of Violence Review

Movie description: Acts of Violence is a 2018 crime thriller about a man whose fiancée is kidnapped by human traffickers, causing him and his ex-military brothers set out to track her down and save her before it's too late. 

Director(s): Brett Donowho

Actor(s): Bruce Willis, Cole Hauser, Shawn Ashmore

Genre: Thriller

  • Our Score
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