Cole Hauser plays Deklan, an ex-military man struggling to deal with PTSD (as shown in a scene with him talking to arguably the worst psychotherapist I've ever seen in a movie). Deklan has two brothers, Brandon (Shawn Ashmore) and the soon-to-be-married Roman (Ashton Holmes). All should be happy in their household, but it takes a dark turn very quickly when Roman's fiance, Mia (Melissa Bolona), is kidnapped by men who specialise in trafficking young women they keep drugged and enslaved. The police (even a determined detective played by Bruce Willis) have their hands tied, so it is up to Deklan to lead the trio on a mission that will return Mia alongside her loving partner and eliminate the ruthless head bad guy (Mike Epps).
There are a lot of scenes in Acts Of Violence that feel weak, including that introduction to the character played by Hauser. The script, by Nicolas Aaron Mazzanatto, is a grab bag of cliches and improbabilities. It's hard to believe that any villains would want to keep Mia alive when she keeps doing her damnedest to cause them so much trouble (she's shown as a beautiful woman who is also admired for her fighting spirit). But accepting improbabilities is often par for the course when it comes to action movies on the lower end of the budget scale. Considering the decent cast, I can only imagine that the money not spent buying another lazy turn from Willis had to be spent wisely.
Director Brett Donowho is comfortable enough at this level of moviemaking. I've seen at least one other movie from him, A Haunting At Silver Falls, enough to know that he can take average materal and turn it into an average feature. There are good moments here, and the action isn't done too badly, for the most part, but he can't ever do enough to raise the material up.
The good news is that some of the cast try harder than Donowho. Hauser is great in his role, and his journey is sketched out in a surprisingly believable way, for the movie he's in. Ashmore is also very good, and Holmes isn't bad, although he's the weakest of the three. Bolona struggles to make a decent impression because she has to work in some of the more ridiculous scenes, but everyone else onscreen shows that they have a stronger pulse than Willis, who is onscreen just enough to remind viewers that he's constantly teetering on the brink of going full Seagal with every role that he is given nowadays. Epps is a decent baddie, and has a number of suitably loathsome henchmen helping him, so that helps.
If you're looking for an action thriller with a plot based around a good dollop of righteous vengeance then this will do the job. There are many better films you could choose, but also many worse ones, so this should be almost slap bang in the middle of any list of potential viewings you might prepare for yourself.
You can buy the movie here.
Americans can buy it here.