Vigilante Diaries (2016)
It’s my own fault. I saw a cool cover. I saw some names listed in the cast that I liked. My mind went with the old phrase that has managed to get me in trouble so many times before: how bad can it be?
Vigilante Diaries, to be fair, isn’t terrible. But it’s a bit of an incoherent mess, at times. And then I found out that it was a TV show at one point (which should teach me to read the small print more and/or actually check up on movies before I watch them). Still, no reason that I can’t judge the movie on how it works as an actual movie. And that’s just what I’m going to do.
Paul Sloan, who co-wrote this with direct Christian Sesma, stars as The Vigilante. He’s a non-super kind of superhero who tries his best to keep the streets clean and citizens safe. He ends up being kidnapped and tortured when he kills the nasty criminal brother of a nasty criminal (Arman Nshanian). That leads to a team being put together to save him, which then leads to . . . . . . . . . . well, let’s just say that there are fists and bullets flying, a few twists and turns, and some of the usual juvenile humour from Jason Mewes.
Oh yeah, Jason Mewes is in this. He’s a secondary character, but he’s in it nonetheless. As is Michael Madsen, reminding fans that for every Tarantino movie he does there are a dozen cheques he will never say no to (not that I blame him, I would do exactly the same thing). But it’s Sloan trying to make the most of his lead role, and he does okay, if you’re feeling charitable. It helps that many of his scenes also involve Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, Mike Hatton, or, best of all, the ever-watchable Michael Jai White. There are also some ladies in the mix – such as Chasty Ballesteros, Jessica Uberuaga, and Jacqueline Lord – but it’s fair to say that the men give themselves the better action sequences while asking the ladies to act mean and look gorgeous. Yes, it’s exactly that type of film.
The action, like everything else in the film, wavers between decent and awful. Some scenes actually look as if they haven’t been edited by an epileptic octopus with scissors stapled to each tentacle. Others do. And don’t even start me on the plotting, which feels as random as it is nonsensical (although that may have something to do with the film following on from a TV show I was unaware of).
Despite its many failings, Vigilante Diaries is the kind of passable entertainment designed for those who want to see some familiar faces, watch a few fights, have a few beers, and not have to worry about following a dense plot. In that regard, it’s a success. And it gets brownie points for fitting Danny Trejo in before the end credits roll.
Vigilante Diaries has been available here in the UK since Monday.
DIRECTOR: CHRISTIAN SESMA
WRITER: PAUL SLOAN, CHRISTIAN SESMA
STARS: PAUL SLOAN, JASON MEWES, QUINTON ‘RAMPAGE’ JACKSON, MICHAEL MADSEN, MICHAEL JAI WHITE, MIKE HATTON, ARMAN NSHANIAN, JACQUELINE LORD, CHASTY BALLESTEROS, JESSICA UBERUAGA
RUNTIME: 107 MINS APPROX