Review: Dull thriller 'Vanquish' conquers Morgan Freeman, Ruby Rose

Freeman plays a dirty ex-cop in aimless action movie that for sure will rank among year's lamest

Adam Graham
Detroit News Film Critic
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It's oddly fitting the way Morgan Freeman sleepwalks his way through "Vanquish," since the entire production seems to unfold in a dreary, slow motion haze. 

Sluggish is more like it. This action thriller's energy never rises above a light jog; at one point there's a curling match on in the background of a scene, and it's more urgent than anything else on screen. Not even a third of the way through the year, it's tough to imagine it not being among 2021's worst films. 

Morgan Freeman in "Vanquish."

Freeman plays Damon, a dirty ex-cop who was a one-time hero on the force. Now he runs several illicit gambling and drug rings, and it's payday. Or paynight, as it were: all of "Vanquish" unfolds over the course of a single evening that seems to start around 1 a.m. and crawls until sunrise. 

Rather than hitting the five drops himself, in his place Damon sends his in-home caregiver Victoria (Ruby Rose), who just so happens to be a former Russian drug courier. In order to get her to do the job, Damon kidnaps Victoria's daughter, although the kidnapping never seems to matter a whole lot to either party. 

It's just one of the many clunky aspects of "Vanquish," which was co-written and directed by George Gallo ("Trouble in Paradise") and filmed during the pandemic. That's why when Victoria is sent to a German nightclub to pick up a duffle bag of cash there's about two patrons inside. Even the chase scenes are socially distanced.  

Everything about "Vanquish" feels off: the stiff performances, the flat action scenes, the total lack of consequences for anyone's actions. Why does any of this matter? Here's a secret: it doesn't. "Vanquish" thoroughly defeats itself. 

'Vanquish'

GRADE: D-

Rated R: for bloody violence, language, some sexual material and drug use

Running time: 94 minutes

In theaters

agraham@detroitnews.com

@grahamorama

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