7 Trash City review: Vigilante


Dir: Aash Aaron
Star: Robert Díaz, Kazuya Wright, Lexie Symon,

When the girlfriend of Luke (Diaz) is raped and murdered and he himself is beaten within an inch of his life, he decides to use his considerable resources (he's a millionaire) to reinvent himself as a ski-mask clad vigilante, cleaning the scum off the streets. He gets trained in hardcore fighting techniques by his physical therapist, and embarks on a mission to locate the three perpetrators - but, while their identities remain annoyingly unknown to him, he is happy to take it out on anyone who crosses his path. It turns out that the psychotic head of the trio (Wright) is the son of the local mob boss, who has his handsfull keeping his offspring out of the hands of the local cops, though it helps that most of them are on his payroll. Hence, Luke's case deadends, much to the disgust of one local cop (Symon), who finds herself getting involved with Alex on more than a strictly-procedural level. Will he be able to keep his other life a secret from his girlfriend, and will he complete his own mission of vengeance, or will he become a victim of it, and be destroyed by his own inner demons?

As a low-rent Death Wish knockoff, it's not unwatchable, and the occasionally-obvious cheapness sometimes works for the movie, rather than against it. But there are enough problems here to pose significant difficulties. From a technical viewpoint, the biggest is a very poor sound mix, which leaves large chunks of the dialogue basically inaudible. Fortunately, it's not exactly hard to work out what's going on, so this is not much more than an irritant. More troublesome is the film's odd refusal to show hardly any of the assault which launches Luke on his rampage. By not depicting it, the director loses all real chance for the hero's subsequent exploits to be justified, and the other subplots, such as his relationship with the cop, never step up to provide any alternative depth. The action isn't bad, and the villains are appropriately evil, but Diaz lacks the necessary charisma to pull it off, and as a result, there's nothing much in the execution to make this anything more than a way to waste ninety minutes.

[The DVD is released by MTI Home Video on March 23rd, and is widesceen, with special features including cast biographies. For more information, please visit the MTI Home Video website.]

[March 2010]

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