The Retaliators Review: Entertaining Film, But Fruitless Story
Better Noise Films' The Retaliators can easily be deemed an entertaining watch, but there are portions of the film that mess up a potentially well-written story. The Retaliators is directed by Samuel Gonzalez Jr., Michael Lombardi, and Bridget Smith. Lombardi plays the film's lead, and he's joined by Marc Menchaca, Joseph Gatt, Katie Kelly, and Jacoby Shaddix.
The Retaliators had some great performances put on the screen by those involved, evoking some convincing scenes of grief and rage. But while the first quarter of the film matched the speed of the story, it also had moments of pure cringe pushed as serious or lighthearted content. The relationship Bishop (Lombardi) had with his daughters was shown really well in the beginning, not introducing him right away to the profession as a local pastor. What didn't work was the forced "modern" church example featuring a heavy-handed Christian rock band followed by awkward and incredibly white evangelical dancing. Ignoring that moment, the speech from Bishop ended up helping them connect better to the care he had for his daughters and community.
The acting in The Retaliators really did pull along parts of the film that needed the help. They could only do so much thought with a story advertised as a revenge horror-thriller but didn't end up living up to that. While backstories like Jed's (Menchaca) had some unique, although, concerning violence towards women, it was compelling and universally made sense for the audience to care about it in the end. It did end up making his actions all the more shocking later on. Many conflicting opinions ended up being brought up, helping the film for a moment, even if that twist didn't make complete sense overall. What could have been a really fun yet compelling revenge journey for a local pastor instead became a different film past the halfway point. The Retaliators is an entertaining film for the intense moments of gore, but without a stable story, it can only go so long until it becomes bright red background noise.