Hopes are high for Shelby ( Jack Huston ) and Ruby ( Willa Fitzgerald ) when they get married. They finally want to get their lives under control and break free from the drugs that have determined their fate for so long. Peter ( John Malkovich ), Ruby’s brother-in-law, is supposed to help them with this. For a while, it actually looks like their plan is going to work out. Shared happiness is within reach. But when Ruby relapses again, Shelby can’t stand idly by. And so he pursues the drug dealers while being chased by Sheriff Church ( Robert De Niro ) and Detective Zeppelin ( Meadow Williams )…
Hardly any genre is covered more frequently in the B-movie area than a revenge thriller. It feels like there’s a film coming out every week in which an ex-soldier, an ex-policeman, an ex-agent or even an ex-mercenary wants to avenge a crime committed in his family. This is then sometimes varied in the case of detailed questions. In Renegades – Legends Never Die, a bunch of 70-somethings take up arms, in Clean – we follow a garbage man on his vendetta, There Are No Saintsturns a criminal into a hero who wants to atone for the murder of his girlfriend. Overall, you shouldn’t have high expectations for most parts, neither in terms of content or general quality. And so does Path of Vengeance.
For once, an attempt was made here to address a little more than the usual vigilantism. To be more precise, the reference to the drug crisis, which the USA has not yet gotten under control despite all efforts, gave itself a social touch. Exceptionally in Path of Vengeance, That’s why we didn’t hunt down murderers and rapists, but people who “only” sell drugs. Their work is no less deadly, but still not quite comparable to the usual antagonists. But that changes very little in the course of the revenge actions. As always, it looks like the main character is squeezing a few people, sometimes under the threat of violence. Gradually, all suspects are patrolled until you reach the top and have left a considerable mountain of corpses behind you.
In Vengeance Path, however, this takes a surprisingly long time. In fact, the film spends so much time telling the characters and their life stories that you begin to doubt whether this is really the action thriller that was promised or whether you accidentally inserted the wrong film. Only after more than half of the running time does it get going a bit. These action scenes aren’t absolute highlights of the genre. Randall Emmett, who has worked as a producer for many years, at least does a decent job as a director here, if the main actor Jack Huston ( Above Suspicion) shoots through the area. What is irritating, however, is that Shelby is initially only shown as a junkie and suddenly mutates into a well-trained hero. That’s not really believable.
But it’s even better than the tough drama part, with which the revenge campaign is supposed to be justified. It’s also better than what comes after. John Malkovich, who recently didn’t have the happiest choice of films with films like Shattered or The Survivalist, tries his hand at a monologue that would be flattered by the adjective “embarrassing”. In this way, Path of Vengeance fluctuates wildly: sometimes the film is boring, then solid, then horrible at the end. But he’s never good. At least not good enough to survive in the mass of revenge thrillers, even if one assumes the film has good intentions.