2016, Oscar Gold Productions/Seskri Produktionz/Ton of Hats/Vallelonga Productions
Anthony J. Rickert-Epstein
Paul Sloan (The Vigilante)
Jason Mewes (Michael Hanover)
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (Wolfman)
Kevin L. Walker (The Kid)
Michael Jai White (Barrington)
Michael Madsen (Moreau)
Mike Hatton (Barry)
Sal Guerrero (Tex-Mex)
Arman Nshanian (Andreas)
Chasty Ballesteros (Raven)
Jessica Uberuaga (Red)
Jacqueline Lord (Jade)
Mark Sherman (The Geek)
Based on a 2013-14 web series, this action-comedy is a fun ride featuring a very interesting hero and someone crazy enough to follow the hero on his wild adventure of revenge.
Ten years ago, a black ops soldier on an assignment has learned his commanding officer, Barrington, had set him up to take the fall. Making his escape, the man has become a government assassin and is known simply as the Vigilante. After taking out the Armenian mob, he has gone missing. Due to his disappearance, crime has risen to an all-time high. The Vigilante has been taken in by Andreas, the new head of the Armenian mob and finds himself tortured each day by the mob thugs. The mob also has another target they are searching for in Michael Hanover, a video blogger who once followed the Vigilante on his missions and has been trusted by Jade, the Vigilante’s girlfriend.
The Kid, the right hand man of the Vigilante, hatches a plan to bust the Vigilante out. However, he cannot do it alone. He gets help from Barry, Michael’s trusted contact, as well as a group of mercenaries who include arms expert Tex-Mex and Wolfman, who helped the Vigilante out ten years ago in the mission that almost destroyed him. With Michael closely watching, the team successfully busts out the Vigilante and Andreas goes on the run. However, things are about to come to a head when the Vigilante has learned that he is about to face the past in an even more dangerous conspiracy.
From the minds of co-writer/director Christian Sesma and co-writer/lead actor Paul Sloan comes this feature film based on a two-episode web series that began on Chill.com back in 2013. The feature film’s tone is that of a two-parter web series with half the film focusing on one mission and the second half focusing on another mission but somehow interconnects the major players of the story. The film is one of those cases where one must not miss a minute of the film because so much as missing one little piece will confuse the viewer due to its juxtaposition of flashbacks and present day scenes.
Sloan is quite fun to watch as the Vigilante, who starts out as a military officer who becomes a government assassin then becomes well, as his name indicates, a vigilante. Take away the whole family getting killed story and one can think of the Vigilante as someone similar to The Punisher. The first half of the film sees our hero getting tortured and going through a series of flashbacks within ten years from the screwjob that sets him up to meeting his handler, played by Michael Madsen, when he becomes a government assassin. He can hold himself quite well when using bare-handed combat under stunt coordinator Arnold Chon.
It is refreshing to see Jason Mewes play someone who is not a complete foul-mouthed stoner, but as a foul-mouthed fanboy of the Vigilante, who becomes a trusted ally who vlogs (video blogs) the Vigilante despite desperate pleas from his father, played by James Russo. Kevin L. Walker is also pretty good as the Kid, who orchestrates the mission to bust out the Vigilante in the first half with the help of former pro wrestler Sal Guerrero (Chavo Guerrero Jr.) and MMA fighter Quinton “Rampage” Jackson as the mercenaries who despite wanting to help the Vigilante, only care about money. In the film’s opening sequence, which depicts the screwjob, we get a brief fight between Jackson and Michael Jai White, who plays the commander who orchestrates said screwjob. Look out for a memorable cameo by Danny Trejo as Crazy Joe, a bar owner who finds himself involved in a shootout towards the end of the film.
The Vigilante Diaries may take a few viewings or even one if you cannot miss even a portion of it, because the story has the tone of a two-episode series. However, writers Christian Sesma and Paul Sloan ultimately bring a wild action ride that is quite fun as well.
WFG RATING: B
The film comes to a limited theatrical release along with iTunes on June 24th followed by a DVD and Blu-Ray release on July 5th from Anchor Bay Entertainment.