Film Review: ‘Renegades’ (2022)

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Stars: Nick Moran, Lee Majors, Ian Ogilvy
Director: Daniel Zirilli
Distributor: 101 Films

“I think it’s time you got out of my city.”

A sugar-free British/American Expendables knock-off, but with TV alumni, Renegades is the latest product aimed at the Divorced Dads’ Club. 

Renegades opens up with the PTSD flashbacks of SAS veteran Burton (Nick Moran). From a graphic and daunting interrogation sequence to modern Burton – homeless, asleep on a bench, the harsh reality of post-war-life is upon us. However, swooping in to save him from the decay of the streets is Carver (THE Lee Majors), an American veteran. Taken in and offered a seat at the local pub owned by Ian Ogilvy’s Peck, Burton is introduced to the local vets, featuring the likes of actors Billy Murray (The Bill) and Paul Barber (Only Fools and Horses).

Reminiscing over the past days of war, the old boys have come to face the scum of the present day. London – unsure of the accuracy – is a complete cesspit of drugs, violence and human trafficking. When Carver fails to convince the baddies to shut up shop, it is left to the old boys in the pub to take out the trash with cocaine kingpin, Goram (Louis Mandylor), at the top of the pile. 

Tonally, Renegades is somewhat comedic, but to the extent where the overall film enters dangerous territory of becoming a comedy. In opposition of that, exists a range of slightly graphic drug consumption and violence, but never too fully exposed. It is almost as if this film refuses to sway or lean too far in one direction. For the most part, Renegades is a significantly light-hearted film.

The light-hearted nature of Renegades is truly established by the collectivity of its cast. Though Nick Moran’s Burton is initially touted as the lead, and at times, is presented as that, there just isn’t enough on a consistent level to truly warrant the character’s position. Paul Barber’s Harris and Billy Murray’s Woody present the most interest from the sup[orting cast, which is eventually aided by both Danny Trejo and Patsy Kensit. 

Under Zirilli’s direction, the character with the best portrayal is obviously the villain of the picture, Louis Mandylor’s Goram. Your stereotypical crime boss, Goram’s henchman wears sunglasses and helps their boss chop the finger off of rival drug dealers invading the territory. Though somewhat obvious, routine, and formulaic, it is in that nature of presentation that Mandylor nails the role so well. Equipped with his Australian accent, Goram is almost cartoonish, yet certainly appropriate for the context of Renegades.

Ultimately, Renegades is the film one would naturally expect it to be. It isn’t hard enough to completely vulgar, and it isn’t bland enough to be completely sh*t. However, this film can been seen as somewhat of a missed opportunity. The early exposure on PTSD – and its wild nature in the opening scene – could have led on to a more detailed and consistent commentary on the matter, which could have very well aided any of Burton’s action sequences later on in the film, thus ultimately resulting in an action/crime text built upon a strong foundation of post-war mental health. Instead, Renegades quickly surrenders any inch of intelligence and pursues the obvious route.

Many thanks to Aim Publicity and 101 Films for the pleasure of this film.

2 Stars


For John.

This article’s featured image: By Source, 101 Films, Fair Use

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