Reviewed by: Samiatu Dosunmu
Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer
What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer
Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer
Does God feel our pain? Answer
Where does becoming a vigilante lead in our world?
Will all mankind eventually be saved? Answer
What is The Final Judgment? Answer
|Featuring:||Jennifer Garner … Riley North
John Ortiz … Detective Moises Beltran
John Gallagher Jr. … Detective Stan Carmichael
Juan Pablo Raba … Diego Garcia
Annie Ilonzeh … FBI Agent Lisa Inman
Jeff Hephner … Chris North
Cailey Fleming … Carly North
Eddie Shin … FBI Agent Li
Method Man (Cliff “Method Man” Smith) … Narcotics Detective Barker
Tyson Ritter … Homeless Sam
Ian Casselberry … Cortez
Richard Cabral … Salazar
Johnny Ortiz … Torres
Michael Reventar … Ortega
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|Director:||Pierre Morel—“Taken” (2008), “From Paris with Love” (2010)|
|Producer:||Huayi Brothers [Hong Kong]
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In flashbacks, viewers learn of Riley’s former life. Five years prior, she had been a banker trying to make ends meet. She was married to her husband Chris, who owned a failing mechanic shop. She also had an eight-year-old daughter named, Carley.
On the night of December 21, 2012, Chris and Riley take Carley to the fair where she rides every ride and is treated to peppermint ice cream. As Riley returns to the ice cream shop to retrieve napkins, she hears gunshots. With barely enough time to turn around, she witnesses her husband and daughter being gunned down.
When Riley wakes up, her memory is a little hazy, at first. However, she is able to relay to Detective Moises Beltran (John Ortiz), that she can identify the shooters. She is taken to the police station where she positively identifies the three men who murdered her family. Detective Beltran is hesitant to take the gunmen to trial, as they are members of a well known drug cartel run by Diego Garcia (Juan Pablo Raba), whose influence reaches deep into the precinct. Beltran explains to his partner, Detective Carmichael, that the last detective who tried to bring Garcia to justice was found murdered in his locker.
Prior to the preliminary hearing, Riley is visited by the perpetrators’ lawyer, who tries to buy her silence. She refuses the bribe, but the lawyer, seeing her anti-psychotic medication on the kitchen counter, argues that her memory is unreliable. He warns her that her credibility will be questioned due to the medication that she is taking.
At the hearing, the lawyer uses this information against her. Judge Stevens (Jeff Harlan) finds insufficient evidence to allow the perpetrators to stand trial and dismisses the case. Outraged, Riley tries to attack the perpetrators, but is tazered and ordered to submit to a psychiatric evaluation in a mental institution. On her way there, she manages to escape the ambulance and vanishes, only to turn up five years later, determined to bring justice to those who escaped it the first time.
The prominent spiritual issue in this film is vengeance. The word revenge translates into “vengeance,” “revenge,” and “avenge.” The root meaning of the word is punishment. It is crucial to understand that only God can truly avenge, not man. Romans 12:18-19:
“Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
When we act of the flesh, our instinct is to inflict the same pain on our perpetrator that they inflicted on us. In the movie, Riley’s base of operations is in Skid Row, an impoverished area, and she unleashes a killing spree on her family’s murderers. In one scene, three men are displayed hanging by their feet on a Ferris wheel. In another scene, she enters a shop (a front for a money laundering scheme) and kills everyone inside before detonating a bomb. Deuteronomy 35:34 states:
What is hatred? Answer
“Vengeance is mine, and recompense, for the time when their foot shall slip; for the day of their calamity is at hand, and their doom comes swiftly.”
What is the FURY OF GOD? Answer
About God’s anger
What is the JUSTICE OF GOD? Answer
What are the JUDGMENTS OF GOD? Answer
What is The Final Judgment? Answer
As Riley continues to exact her revenge, she begins to unravel, and her executions become increasingly violent. ***SPOILER*** This is evident when she uses explosive rope to strap a now retired Judge to a chair in his study, nails his hands to his desk, and berates him before using a cellphone device to detonate the rope. ***END SPOILER***
Riley seems to feel pleasure when she is hailed a hero through social media, by the Skid Row people she protects, and when she seeks help from Peg (Pell James), a snobby, unlikable woman from her past whom she punches in the face when they meet. This is Riley’s “payback” for Peg’s ill-treatment of her five years prior.
Unlike us, God never acts from a place of impure motivation. His vengeance is reserved for punishing those who have sinfully offended and rejected Him. When we are wronged, we can, however, pray for God to avenge those wrongs according to His holiness. Even though one can sympathize with Riley’s pain, her motivation is impure. Her actions are a direct violation of the commandment, “Thou shall not murder.” (Exodus 20:13)
While it is tempting to take matters in our own hands, especially when we are hurting, remember that God possesses infinite power and his punishment is sure. Because of our sinful nature, the boundary between fleshly and righteous motivation can easily be blurred.
“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.” —Leviticus 19:18
There is a lot of explicit, bloody violence. Viewers should keep in mind that Riley’s obsession with revenge is a manifestation of the emotional trauma she has been carrying for years, so it clearly appears in how she exacts her brand of justice on her aggressors.
There is also a lot of vulgar and profane language: “motherf**k…” (5), other f-words (33), “J*sus Chr*st,” “G*d-d*mn” (2), “Oh God”, Holy sh*t, s-words (19), “a**hole” (3), “a**” (7 or more), “b*tch” (2), “b*stards,” “Hell” (3), “d*mn,” “pissed.”
Nudity: Surprisingly, this is a female-led action movie where the female lead did not have to use sexual prowess to lure her victims. However, there is one scene where women are seen cutting cocaine wearing only bras and panties, and another with a woman in a very short, tight dress who appears to be offered to a man. In another scene, a woman brings a drink to her boyfriend, the head of the drug cartel, and is dismissed with a slap on the bottom.
Occult: In one scene Diego Garcia, the drug lord, is seen praying to a statue of Santa Muerte, a occult-pagan derived female folk “saint” or deity in Mexican culture who supposedly can provide protection, healing and safe delivery to the afterlife.
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.