A new vengeance horror film called THE RETALIATORS won't appeal to everyone, but it will be ideal for fans of the genre. I am one of those people, and I did enjoy how filthy, nasty, bloody, and outlandish this movie was throughout.
After a horrible murder, it picks up speed quickly after a pretty slow beginning. You'll recognize actors and rock artists, as well as other well-known people. Which makes it only reasonable to also incorporate a lot of rock music, which led to an excessively extended runtime. Hey, I can't really fault the filmmakers for making the most of this perspective.
With a title like The Retaliators, it should come as no surprise that this is a revenge story. However, the way it unfolds does definitely offer up a twist or two. We begin the story in one place before going back in time and watching what happened before the very violent events in the opening scene.
When getting introduced to the core characters, you’ll know all along that things will go wrong and end badly. This is always a good way to tell a story in these days of ever-reducing attention spans. Actually, I don’t think people have problems with attention spans, we just have too many disturbances and intrusions that we need to get rid of.
So, on that note, make sure you place your phone far away from you when you watch this. Or simply go see it in a theater, where checking your phone should never happen during the screening.
This revenge story is all about taking your time. Both in making sure you get the right person – which is hardly an issue in the case here – and making sure the revenge is slow and sweet. For you, not the person you’re punishing, of course.
Because we see what this person does, I found it easy enough to enjoy the scenes of vengeance. Also, I like that the actual murder scenes weren’t dragged out. Watching The Retaliators is truly about revenge and not just about violence in all its forms.
Well, it is that too, but violence towards those who have done wrong unto others!
The cast features Marc Menchaca (Ozark, The Outsider, No One Gets Out Alive) and Joseph Gatt (Banshee, Game of Thrones) in key roles that I won’t reveal here. I always enjoy seeing them both, but in terms of versatile actors, I have long been a huge fan of Marc Menchaca. His performance in this movie is another strong one.
The main protagonist is played by Michael Lombardi and while I enjoyed his performance, his character isn’t the strongest. Still, he did exactly what he needed to do here and manages to carry The Retaliators well.
The rock stars in The Retaliators
As mentioned earlier, The Retaliators also features cameos and music by a whole lot of familiar faces from rock. These include Mötley Crüe’s Tommy Lee, Five Finger Death Punch’s Ivan Moody, Zoltan Bathory, and Chris Kael. Also, Papa Roach, Jaya of The Hu, Spencer Charnas of Ice Nine Kills, Eva Under Fire’s Amanda Lyberg.
But wait, there’s more. You also get Matt Brandyberry, Danny Case, Lance Dowdle, and Matt Madiro of From Ashes to New, Cory Marks, Dan Murphy, and Miles Franco of All Good Things. All of it on top of an original score from Emmy-winning composers Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein (Stranger Things).
For me, personally, this rock music angle does take up too much space at times. Not towards the end, but early on, it does ruin the pacing a little at times. However, I completely respect that this is part of the DNA of this movie.
And I also really appreciate the fact that it first calls out 90s action movies and then goes on to virtually turn into one. That’s how you do pop culture and kitsch moments the right way; Acknowledge that it can be kind of corny and then just lean into it and enjoy the craziness!
Watch The Retaliators when you get the chance!
The Retaliators is directed by Samuel Gonzalez Jr., Michael Lombardi (yes, the star of the movie), and Bridget Smith. According to IMDb, they simply share directing credit. It should come as no surprise that especially Samuel Gonzales Jr. has a lot of music video credits to his name.
The writing credit goes to Darren Geare and Jeff Allen Geare – a debut for both.
I do think it runs a good 15-20 minutes too long with a runtime of 1 hour and 50 minutes. However, this does have a lot to do with all the rockstar cameos and music video-like sequences. They’re cool enough, sure, but they don’t really improve of any aspect of the story or film.
And yet, even though we’re not giving this revenge horror thriller an especially high rating, I would definitely recommend it to any and every fan of revenge movies. It has a lot going on in that department and you should definitely check it out when you get the chance!
The Retaliators is out in limited theaters worldwide on September 14, 2022.