An upstanding pastor uncovers a dark and twisted underworld as he searches for answers surrounding his daughter’s brutal murder. A high-octane original soundtrack and cameos from some of the biggest names in rock music set the tone as this horror-thriller reveals a game of revenge played using a new set of rules.
What We Thought:
The Retaliators is a pretty odd flick. It has a sort of cold open that makes you think it’s a zombie movie. Then it introduces its lead, a pastor played by Michael Lombardi. He has two daughters who are all grieving over the death of their wife/mother. Then there is a cameo from Brian O’Halloran of Clerks fame and it turns into a sort of revenge film when the pastor’s daughter gets involved with a bad guy. There are drugs and gangsters involved as well. But it also takes a hard left into Don’t Breathe territory and ultimately connects back to the cold open.
The film definitely goes in many places and mixes in rock music with musician cameos. Tommy Lee of Motley Crue and Pamela Anderson fame plays a DJ at a strip club. The members of the band Five Finger Death Punch all have roles. As does the lead singer of Papa Roach. There are some other musicians spread throughout as well that I’m not familiar with.
As for the actual film, I think I liked it. Lombardi is good in the role and I liked the violence and look of the movie. It has an 80s slasher vibe at times and the third act has a zombie feel to it. The music adds to the slasher element and the random cameos (Robert Knepper!) add surprise after surprise.
The Retaliators is a difficult film to review because it’s all over the map. It has huge tonal shifts and the oddest cast you could possible come up with. But like I said, I think I liked it. I’ve been a fan of Lombardi’s since Rescue Me and I grew up on 80s slashers so any time you give me that vibe I’m down for it. It’s definitely not a film for everyone, but I can see it picking up a cult following because of the musicians involved.