Renegades is harmless fun with a barnstorming opening scene but sadly the rest of the movie never quite lives up to it with a bland and forgettable finale.
Plot: In the war-torn Bosnian capital of Sarajevo, US Navy Seal Matt Barnes leads a band of renegades on a covert operation to rescue treasure from the bottom of a lake.
Review: I picked this up for a whopping 2 Pounds when I was in Scotland last month as I don’t think it ever got released in North America; if it did I never saw it in any shops and it came and went with little fanfare.
Set in 1995 Renegades takes place during the war in Sarajevo and the first 20 minutes of this mini-Expendables starts off with a bang as we are introduced to our ragtag group of heroes. Sullivan Stapleton is the lead and he and his likable crew trade witty banter while kidnapping a dictator and escaping in spectacular style in a tank!
The men decide to help out a local woman by diving into a lake and nabbing $300 million worth of gold to help out her people (and their own bank balances) but will things go as they expect? Of course not.
While watching the first 20 minutes I was thinking this was the best Expendables movie we never saw… then the rest of the movie happened and it never quite lives up to the introduction. There are a couple of fun set-pieces but it feels like all the budget was used for the opening scene then it’s essentially an underwater heist that is over all too quickly.
It has a genuine 80’s feel and is a thoroughly entertaining men on a mission movie but it just sort of fizzles out never quite reaching its full potential. Co-written and produced by Luc Besson the script isn’t amazing but it has a few laughs; the villain is underwritten in fact, so much so I couldn’t even tell you his name.
The two best things about the movie are JK Simmons who never disappoints; he is in full on J. Jonah Jameson mode here as the shouty military guy in charge who actually has a heart of gold. He also has the best lines of the movie.
The other highlight is the music which is a rousing action score once again hearkening back to the 80s; it has a hummable theme and is suitably heroic and bombastic when required.
Overall, despite a fun idea and light tone Renegades fails to live up to its amazing opening scene; it’s never dull but I couldn’t help feeling it could have been so much more.