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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Vengeance: A Love Story (Blu-ray)
Vengeance: A Love Story (Blu-ray)
FilmRise // Unrated // March 12, 2019 // Region A
List Price: $24.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ian Jane | posted March 28, 2019 | E-mail the Author
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The Movies:

Based on Joyce Carol Oates‘ novel, Rape: A Love Story (it's no wonder the title was changed for the film adaptation!), 2017's Vengeance: A Love Story tells the story of a Gulf War veteran named John Dromoor (Nicolas Cage) who now works as a Los Angeles police officer. When he meets Teena (Anna Hutchison), a young single mom, they quickly bond over the one thing that they have in common: loss. It's clear that they care for one another but before their relationship can develop any further, Teena is raped by a gang of hooligans on her way back from a party. This happens in front of her daughter, Bethie (Talitha Bateman), the only witness to the attack. Teena is left for dead by her assaulters but manages to survive.

Eventually, this issue winds up in court where her attackers are defended by a lawyer named Jay Kirkpatrick (Don Johnson). When it starts to look like the courts aren't going to come through for Teena, John becomes understandably upset and decides that the best course of action might be to take care fo this matter himself, by any means necessary.

You won't have too much trouble figuring this one out but that doesn't mean it isn't worth seeing. Director Johnny Martin does a pretty nice job of building tension in the film, and if the story is a little ‘been there/done that' at times, at least getting to the end is an enjoyable and occasionally gripping ride. Production values are pretty strong here as well. The cinematography is glossy enough to give the film a polished look but not so glossy that it takes away from the film's gritty vibe in a few key scenes. The film is also pretty astute in its use of violence. This isn't a gory shoot'em up style picture, it's a bit more mature than that. When Teena is attacked, the scene hits hard, making sure that we have no doubt as to whose side she is on. Later in the film, when John is doing what he does, yes, it plays in R-rated territory but he never comes across as a superhero, the film retains a decent sense of realism throughout.

Performances are pretty strong here. Those expecting Cage to go off and deliver an unhinged rager of a performance might be disappointed but his more understated take on the character suits the tone of the movie well. His John is pensive, brooding and angry but Cage stops short of chewing up any of the scenery. He's quite good here. Also impressive is Don Johnson. He plays the sleazy lawyer perfectly, really just sliding into the role and making it look very easy and very natural. Anna Hutchison is nothing if not entirely sympathetic as the victim, and young Talitha Bateman is surprisingly good as her daughter.

In the end, there are too many clichés here for the movie to impress as much as it should have, but the film still manages to prove plenty entertaining.

The Video:

The AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer is framed at 1.85.1 and it looks very nice. The film was shot digitally so there's obviously no print damage or grain issues to discuss. Detail is quite good, there's nice depth and texture here too. There aren't any problems with compression artifacts to note either. No problems here. Good colors and black levels. The movie looks quite nice.

The Audio:

The English language DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track is also pretty strong. There's good surround activity evident throughout the production, particularly in the movie's more action-intensive moments. The score is spread out nicely and dialogue is clean, clear and properly balanced. As you'd expect for such a recent film, there are no problems with any hiss or distortion. Bass response is solid here too, gunshots pack a pretty solid punch.

The Extras:

Extras are limited to a trailer, menus and chapter selection.

Overall:

Vengeance: A Love Story is an uneven but enjoyable thriller made all the better thanks to some solid acting from Cage, Johnson and Bateman. It moves at a decent pace and proves to be quite tense at times, making up for the fact that the story is a bit pedestrian. The Blu-ray release looks and sounds quite good but it is very light on extra features. Cage devotees can consider this recommended, everyone else should consider it a strong rental choice.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

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