Opening November 29, 2018
Directed by: Pierre Morel
Writing credits: Chad St. John
Principal actors: Jennifer Garner, John Gallagher Jr, John Ortiz, Juan Pablo Raba
Riley North’s (Jennifer Garner) husband and daughter are killed by drug lord Diego Garcia (Juan Pablo Raba) as retribution for stolen cartel money. Riley survives the attack and, when she comes out of a coma, Detective Carmichael (John Gallagher Jr) informs her that her husband was not involved in the theft and they have suspects in the murder, whom she is able to identify. The case goes to trial even though Detective Gallagher is advised not to pursue the case too thoroughly by his partner, Detective Beltran (John Ortiz). The defense attorney tries to pay Riley off, the district attorney fails to mount a vigorous prosecution and the judge refuses to listen to Riley. Case dismissed and life goes on. Five years later when dead bodies associated with the case start piling up, the police and FBI turn their attention to Riley to see what she’s been up to all this time. It appears she’s back, exacting justice on her terms.
The action as Riley goes about methodically executing her plan keeps the viewer fully engaged. The back story of her happy family and the injustice of what happened serve to garner sympathy for Riley’s mission, even as she proceeds to slaughter dozens of people. Vigilante tales tap into our darker natures of wanting to seek revenge against those who hurt us and suspend taking a healthier approach to dealing with such transgressions. And this film accomplishes that in spades. Jennifer Garner is a great action hero, serving justice by taking out the bad guys while protecting the downtrodden. Some nice plot twists and a great ending (sequel, perhaps?) all add up to an entertaining action film. (Anne C.)