VFW is everything you could want from an action picture with great characters, buckets of bloodshed and amazing synth score feeling like it came out in the golden days of VHS.
Plot: A group of war veterans must defend their local VFW post and an innocent teen against a deranged drug dealer and his relentless army of punk mutants.
Review: There are times when you watch a trailer for a movie and you just know you are going to love it; VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) is one of those movies and is destined to become a cult classic. I can see crowds of fans showing up for midnight screenings at their local theatres and cheering throughout the entire picture as it is every bit a crowd-pleaser.
The cast alone sold me as it’s a bunch of old-school badasses including Stephen Lang, David Michael Kelly, Martin Kove, George Wendt, Fred Williamson and William Sadler. If you grew up during the same era as me then all of these names will be familiar… although admittedly George Wendt will always be Norm from Cheers.
From the opening credits VFW had already won me over due to its amazing Carpenter-esque synth score and the movie is very much a tribute to Assault on Precinct 13 with our reluctant heroes fighting off a group of crazed bad guys from inside their bar.
It’s the type of movie you’d expect to see on the shelf in your local VHS store in the 80’s where you would try to sneak it passed your mum so you could enjoy the show. It’s loaded with stunning practical effects, imaginative gore and gloriously violent kills but still gives us characters to care for.
Stephen Lang is our main protagonist (and bar owner) Frank who is as gruff and surly as you’d expect but he’s a good man who runs his bar for military veterans where they can come and be themselves and have a few drinks without any judgment. His trusted friends come to the bar this one fateful night for Frank’s birthday, but the party goes sour when a girl known as Lizard shows up with a bag of drugs she has stolen from a local crimelord. I won’t go into any more details but the veterans vow to protect her from the junkies/zombies who will do anything to get their hands on the drugs.
The film has a grainy quality to give it that VHS vibe which makes it feel like a classic video nasty and although it has a low budget it still looks fantastic. My only gripe is that early on there is some foreshadowing for a 50 Cal. gun and I was hoping for the finale it would come out of retirement and blow the bad guys all to Hell but sadly it wasn’t meant to be which felt like a missed opportunity but I imagine it was due to budget restraints.
There are some choice one-liners with the old-timers still proving they’ve got what it takes to kick ass and stand up for what is right all while chopping off heads and shooting and stabbing their attackers with glee.
Overall, VFW might well be the best action movie of the year so far and we’ve had some great ones; the cast are all at their best but it’s the glorious orgy of violence that will keep you glued to your seat from beginning to end.