If you’re curious how the pandemic has affected the quality of some upcoming films, “Vanquish” is a good example of a bad one.

The likelihood of a film like “Vanquish” getting a theatrical run or even warranting a review by critics would be slim to none if things were back to normal. The low budget for this production, which was so low they couldn’t even afford to pay Morgan Freeman to stand up, is noticeable by elements like only being shot at night and at a handful of locations.

Even though there were numerous high-speed chases, no cars were harmed in the production of this film. While the lackluster and predictable action that moves the story forward is the typical good guy vs. bad guy, the script feels padded, having characters tarry with mundane actions to prolong the story.

The technical elements that might have alleviated some of the poor writing are atrocious, as is the supporting cast. This film easily has some of the worst cinematography, editing and musical scoring in recent memory.

One of the city’s finest cops, now a celebrated police commissioner, was paralyzed by a would-be assassin, resulting in his being confined to a wheelchair.

As it turns out, Damon (Morgan Freeman) is no longer the outstanding lawman he once was. Facing with the end of his legacy, he has one last mission, but it will require his caretaker, Victoria (Ruby Rose) to be his arms and legs.

Fortunately, Victoria can handle herself just fine; her prior connections to the Russian mob have made her fearless and a great shot. Damon has five pickups she must hit before the night is over from some of the worst criminals in the city. Damon holds Victoria’s daughter hostage until the money is collected and the job is finished.

Opening credit sequences that provide the viewer with information to the film’s main plot is normally a good use of time. This film’s uninspired attempt at that technique, however, throws newspaper clippings at us using either poorly manufactured de-aged photos of Freeman or old photographs from the Oscar winner’s archive.

“Vanquish” might be the most embarrassing work of Freeman’s career.

The entire film is edited in a way where we move from action scene to action scene with Damon just shouting, “Get out of there” or, “It’s a trap’” into Victoria’s headset.

I know what you’re thinking, didn’t Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie do the same thing in “The Bone Collector?” Yes, but that was one with better supporting actors, better editing, a bigger budget and was actually suspenseful.

When one of the opening shots takes a rat’s point of view, you know what you’re watching is headed downhill. The camera used is so low budget, and the editor apparently so inexperienced, that if someone walked in on this film you might confuse it with those reenactments seen on “Unsolved Mysteries.”

The film also has many phone calls because, remember, they have only paid for Freeman to sit and be in one location (meaning he likely filmed all his scenes in a day or two), so the remainder of the cast never share the screen with him.

The supporting cast are of the quality you would expect to find on stage in local Biloxi theater. Like most action-suspense films, this one has car chase sequences, as you would expect, and someone is shot about every 10 minutes.

Final Thought: “Vanquish” fails on nearly every level of filmmaking from acting, suspense and editing.

Dustin Chase is a film critic and associate editor with Texas Art & Film, which is based in Galveston. Visit texasartfilm.com.

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