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– by Daniel Tafoya

Joe Begos steps up his game considerably from his previous directorial efforts with VFW. Given a star-studded cast and plenty of fake blood at his disposal, he makes a thoroughly entertaining action-horror siege movie that will have viewers standing up and cheering by the film’s end.

In VFW, a group of over the hill veterans who spend their free time talking smack and drinking at their local outpost are called upon one last time to show what they’re made of. A young lady who has ripped off a nearby drug dealer for all of his stash flees his nearby den and hides out in the aforementioned watering hole. In hot pursuit is an army of drugged-up punks and criminals who will kill anyone in their way to get those drugs back.

Stephen Lang’s character Fred is in charge of the bar, and welcomes the girl. He is enlivened by the opportunity to fight back, and his honorable nature won’t let him have it any other way. Some of the other vets are a little skeptical at first, but they end up joining in the fight and showing their true colors, as well. 

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Axes and improvised weapons are the order of the day as the undermanned and under-equipped vets do their best in this, their last stand. They do plenty of damage, with many a throat or appendage slashed or lopped off and head exploded. This movie doesn’t want for blood or gore, so if you’re a fan of either, you’ll be well entertained.

Joe Begos (Almost Human, The Mind’s Eye) operates at the top of his game in this film. Corralling a big ensemble cast and keeping the nonstop action entertaining and fierce are just two of the challenges he faces and aces, without problem. I can’t wait to see what he does one of these days with a sizable budget, because this guy has the action chops to really make something great in the bigger, studio realm of filmmaking, if he so chooses.

Besides Lang, William Sadler, Martin Kove and the legendary Fred “The Hammer” Williamson all show they’ve still got it, even in their later years. These sexagenarian and septuagenarians kick butt and take out many a younger, stronger nemesis without mercy.

VFW is a crowd-pleasing good time at the theater and is made to be seen with an audience. The moviegoers I saw it with recently at Beyond Fest ate it up, and understandably so. It brings the goods to the big screen, and we, the viewers, are all the luckier for it.

Recommended if you liked: Assault on Precinct 13, Shaun of the Dead, The Wild Bunch

FINAL GRADE: A

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