My Name Is Vendetta is a paint-by-brutal-numbers thriller that follows the yawn-inducing genre playbook step-by-step.
We review the Italian Netflix film My Name Is Vendetta, which does not contain spoilers.
The latest Italian Netflix import follows a logger named Santo (All You Need Is Crime‘s Alessandro Gassmann), in Northern Italy, living a peaceful life with his family. His daughter, Sofia (Ginevra Francesconi), has just scored the winning goal in a tournament. Santo kisses his beautiful blonde wife, Ingrid (Sinja Dieks), and they celebrate by taking a trip deep into the countryside. It is daddy-daughter day. Santo allows Sofia to drive his rugged SUV off-road and enjoy a peaceful afternoon.
That’s until she takes a picture of her rugged father. Something he has been vehemently against since she has known him. Is he camera-shy? Not exactly. He is a former hitman for an Italian crime family known as the “Ndrangheta.” He has been hiding out in the Italian countryside from the Lo Biancos family. Santo, years prior, shot and killed the Don’s (Remo Girone) eldest son. The result is the only heir he has left, Michele (Alessio Praticò), a man looking to take over the throne from his father sooner rather than later. The picture triggers an alert for facial recognition that sends Santo and his daughter on the run for their lives.
My Name Is Vendetta is directed by Cosimo Gomez (Ugly Nasty People), a man who has a long history of film and even worked in the art department on the Academy Award-nominated film Il Postino: The Postman (no, not the 1997 Kevin Costner bomb). That’s why it’s so disappointing how listless and style-free this thriller is. The action here is blunt, swift, and particularly brutal. That’s where a sense of style and a bit of substance would have been greatly appreciated. To soften the blows, so to speak.
The other issue is that the film clearly went through the writer’s washroom, watering down the product with three different writers: the director, Sandrone Dazieri, and Andrea Nobile. The result is such a shallow, paint-by-numbers thriller that I imagine Reginald VelJohnson would yell at the screen the filmmakers are following the genre playbook step by step. Father escapes with his daughter and pleads with her to listen to his directives and check. The father suffers an injury, and somehow the daughter manages to stitch him up and double-check. Finally, the father has to train the daughter to fight, and she makes amazing progress with one hour of training, triple check. And, of course, let’s leave enough at the end to leave the door open for a sequel.
My Name Is Vendetta could have, at the very least, been a cheezy, so-bad-it’s-good “trash” cinema and walked away with its head held high. However, Gomez and the company take zero risks with their story. The outcome is an odd combination of brutal and boring rides that we have seen too many times before because of its yawn-inducing script.
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