Michael Lombardi, Bridget Smith and Samuel Gonzalez Jr.
Michael Lombardi, Marc Menchaca, Joseph Gatt, Jacoby Shaddix, Katie Kelly, Abbey Hafer, Ivan Moody, Zoltan Bathory, Chris Kael, Andy James, Jason Hook, Amanda Lyberg, Rachael Hilbert and Robert Knepper
An upstanding pastor uncovers a dark and twisted underworld as he searches for answers surrounding his daughter’s brutal murder.
The Retaliators is written by Darren Geare and Jeff Allen Geare, making their screenwriting debuts, and is directed by Michael Lombardi, Bridget Smith and Samuel Gonzalez Jr. Set in Stockbridge, New Jersey, we follow John Bishop, an upstanding pastor within the community and single father of his two young daughters. On Christmas Eve he allows his eldest daughter, Sarah, to attend a party but unfortunately for her when stopping off at a petrol station, it’s a case of wrong place, wrong time as Sarah sees something she shouldn’t have that ultimately leads to her brutal murder. Tormented by her death, Bishop goes searching for answers which leads him to uncover a dark and twisted underworld that may just swallow him whole.
Going by the trailer in the lead-up to watching this film, would believe that you might be getting an all-out slasher, gorefest of a revenge thriller here. However that’s not the case as the film takes its time to set up its characters, and particularly the relationship between John Bishop and his daughters Sarah and Rebecca, before Sarah is cruelly taken away from him. From there we are introduced to Detective Jed Sawyer, who is investigating Sarah’s murder and gives John a tantalising offer – what would he go if he was given five minutes with his daughters murderer?
While the film provides that interesting scenario to hook audiences in, it kind of jumps back forth too much in the middle with certain sub-plots and flashbacks of particular characters. The entire sub-plot involving the antagonists brother and his gang looking to find him didn’t interest me, even though there was a brief appearance involving Robert Knepper that immediately captured my attention. In terms of playing an antagonist, you can get nobody as an imposing foil for the protagonist to go up against than Joseph Gatt and while I do wish they gave him more to do, he certainly makes up for it in the final act. I also thought Michael Lombardi was fine as the lead John Bishop, I bought into the broken family man scenes but just couldn’t buy into his characters actions in the final act. I thought Marc Menchaca was good as Detective Jed Sawyer, he certainly has the most interesting character out of everyone here and adds a particular layer of intrigue whenever he’s on screen.
if you’re into rock/heavy metal, then this film will definitely peak your interest with not only the soundtrack, but with the number of cameos that are in this film. While I wasn’t a major fan of the execution of the story overall, I did appreciate the practicality when it came to delivering the gore side of things, and you definitely get a bucket full (or two) in this film.
The Retaliators has an interesting premise and whilst it builds the foundations well in the beginning, crumbled in the middle, and goes out with a bang in the end. Overall not for me, but there will definitely be an audience that will eat this up.