Vigilante Diaries (R)

Action/Adventure 108 min. June 24, 2016
By Chris Packham
Vigilante Diaries is based on an obscure TV series canceled after seven episodes in 2014 by the USA Network. The film stars Paul Sloan, who also wrote it, as a black-ops agent who calls himself "the Vigilante," a generic name apropos of a character who's the store-brand version of Marvel's the Punisher. The film is less a story than a jumble of details: an incoherent series of kidnappings, reversals and firefights, its scenes low on dialogue and bursting with squibs and blood packs, all narrated alternately by Michael Madsen and (sadtrombone.wav) Jason Mewes. The villains are as generic as Sloan's knockoff Punisher, including a rich Armenian gangster of the cane sword–and–pinky ring variety, and a mastermind figure who talks exclusively in the most vile kind of metaphors: chess metaphors.

The Hans Zimmer–aping score suggests an aspiration to "high-octane" action, but after travel expenses — including shoots in London, Glasgow and Armenia — it's more like midtier octane 89 with engine detergent. Sloan, clearly inspired by the Punisher and unable to pick a goddamn lane, also wants to be James Bond — specifically the Daniel Craig Bond, who strolls around international cities in expensive suits and sunglasses. The stubbornly retrograde portrayal of women — including a harem scene, a cat-besuited Asian torturer and a young Asian sidekick whose introductory reveal shot is literally ass-first — is broken by a single scene in which the filmmakers allow a kidnapped woman to save herself and her baby before the Vigilante can arrive. It's like the only M&M in a trail mix of methyltestosterone tablets, cut-up Slim Jims and goatee hair.
Christian Sesma Paul Sloan, Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson, Michael Jai White, Jason Mewes, Michael Madsen, Sal 'Chavo' Guerrero, Jaqueline Lord, James Russo Christian Sesma, Paul Sloan Anchor Bay Entertainment

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