Voltage Picture’s low-budget grindhouse flick starring Stephen Lang, William Sadler and Fred Williamson called VFW recently hit streaming services and is set to arrive on DVD and Blu-ray at the end of March. It’s a badass action-horror film that gives a strong head-nod in the direction of John Carpenter by paying homage to classic flicks like Assault on Precinct 13, Night of The Living Dead and Prince of Darkness, where a group of people trapped in a small location are forced to fend for themselves during a night of terror and bloodshed.
Stephen Lang stars as a Vietnam veteran named Fred who runs a bar for Veterans of Foreign Wars (hence, VFW). It’s situated across the street from an abandoned theater that soon begins to rally all sorts of drug-addled freaks and brain-dead junkies hocked up on a new drug that completely destroys their sense of reality.
Fred and his last few remaining friends, all vets, hang out at the bar all day long, reminiscing on the past and getting drunk into the wee hours of the night.
Things go south for the soldier boys when a young girl takes refuge in the bar after stealing something precious from the gang leader who operates out of the theater, and this leads to a bloody siege on the bar where the over-the-hill veterans and a recently returned Army Ranger are forced to defend themselves and the bar from the chaotic horde of deadly addicts. You can check out the trailer below to get an idea of what the movie is like.
The film doesn’t take long to get to the gore. It’s right there at the start. By the time the credits finish rolling, while Steve Moore’s John Carpenter-inspired dark-synth score plays in the background, the blood splatter is already at a higher count than most other ‘R’ rated flicks.
But don’t take it that this is a torture-porn flick where people are unmercifully dismembered or strapped to tables where pendulum saws inch down to disembowel them. This movie is more action than gore, and it doesn’t attempt to use the gore for the kind of shock-value you might find in films like Hobo With A Shotgun, The ABCs of Death or V/H/S.
Instead, you’re cheering for the good guys, rooting for the bad guys to get their comeuppance, and smirking at some of the inventive kills director Joe Begos manages to come up with.
The real winner here though is how pozz-free the movie is. Yes, the one Army Ranger is played by a POC, but before any worries about miscegenation can creep in they make it known that he’s married with a kid, and eager to get back to them. It was a real sigh-of-relief moment.
In fact, this movie very much fits in line with being very anti-Regressive Left.
It makes the message clear that veterans deserve better treatment and respect when they return home from war. It’s not a pro-war film, but it is pro-respect for the soldiers. It’s anti-drugs, and anti-degeneracy, and makes it clear that shortcuts and bad life choices don’t pay in the end.
It’s like it comes right out of the 1980s. In fact, had this film been made in the 1980s and Aaron Norris been the director, I could have easily seen this film being a cult-classic vehicle for Chuck Norris.
Sadly, Chuck never really got into the horror genre outside of Silent Rage and Hero and the Terror. But barring that, Stephen Lang does a darn fine job as the lead in VFW. He seems to have found a niche as a badass older gentlemen during the latter half of his acting career.
If you’re looking for a good throwback to the 1980s with a great soundtrack, plenty of gore, chainsaws, buzzsaws, axes, and sawed off shotguns, be sure to give VFW a look. The movie is currently available to stream on Amazon, Vudu, and Google Play. The Blu-ray and DVD will be available starting March 31st.