John Wick, directed by Chad Stathelski and David Leitch, is a modern take on the classic theme of revenge. This is done in a slick, stylized, engaging and edgy way. In celebration of this film arriving in cinemas 10th April courtesy of Warner Brothers, lets take a look at the top 10 revenge movies that have reimagined the revenge narrative. Let the countdown begin…
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Betrayal and murder surround the central plot of the 2000 powerhouse Gladiator. After Commodus, son of the Roman Emperor has his heart set on destroying Maximum’s life by murdering his family in cold bloog, Maximus (Russell Crowe) is hell bent on seeking the revenge he so richly deserves. is what sparks the revenge seeking Maximus after Commodus, son of the Roman Emperor, starts to dismantle his life piece-by-piece. The resilient Maximus realizes this is an opportunity to fight his way to the Coliseum, where he can be face-to-face with Commodus once again, and with the plan to end his life the way he ended his family’s.
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King Edward of England invades Scotland at the very start of the film. His soldiers make their way through the country murdering and raping all in their path. Murron, Wallace’s wife, is brutally murdered for attacking the men who tried to rape her. Wallace (Mel Gibson) seeks justice on these soldiers in the form of revenge. Wallace gathers up a Scottish army to fight the English in a lengthy battle that spans years. Eventually, he becomes romantically involved with King Edward’s daughter-in-law, Isabella of France. She seeks her own revenge over King Edward and his soldiers after they capture Wallace and publicly execute him.
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Leonard suffers from short-term memory loss after being attacked by two men, the same men that raped and murdered his wife. Before the memory quickly fades, Leonard tells the police that their were in fact two attaches but one got away whilst he killed the other. The film starts a process where Leonard must unlock his lost memories, in order to track down the man who killed his late wife. However, the audience eventually discovers, that unfortunately with Leonard’s condition, he will never feel the satisfaction that retribution can bring. As the story unfolds, it becomes apparent to us, that he has in fact already found and killed the second attacker.
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Gran Torino (2008)
Walt Kowalski is a retired Polish American who fought in the Korean War. He lives in a town dominated by poor Asian immigrants. A young boy named Thao attempts to steal Walt’s Ford Gran Torino at the request of a gang leader who goes by ‘Spider’. When Thao’s mother finds out what he attempted, he is forced to do odd jobs around Walt’s house. Spider hates this arrangement and orders an attack against Thao. Walter takes matters into his own hands and takes on the gang single handed, but this only sparks more devasting consquences. A back and forth revenge picture.
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After suffering years of abuse from both her overly religious mother and her peers, Carrie discovers she has the ability to put an end to it all. Holding powers of telekinetic ability she masters her ability and in a climatic and infamous scene let’s those powers rip tear through her school’s annual prom dance. Her vengefulness is all consuming, and destroys everything and everyone around her. This is an example of where revenge can be a slippery slope that envelops any capacity to think reasonably, as Carrie kills everyone around her, even those who never mistreated her.
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The Dark Knight (2008)
The Dark Knight takes revenge to the next level. It starts with the villainous Joker who wishes to reveal the person behind the Batman disguise, and announces that one person will die for every day that Batman’s identity remains concealed. Meanwhile Batman, who has been working with Harvey Dent, is placed in a difficult position after Harvey publicly states that he is Batman. Harvey Dent, with his face now deformed as a result of a Joker kidnapping, now takes people’s fate into his own hands with the toss of a coin deciding their fate.
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Kill Bill (2003)
The bride and member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad tells the leader, Bill, that she is pregnant with his child. He responds by shooting her, with the aim of ending her life, but instead puts her in a four-year comma. When she awakens, she is told she lost the baby and sets out on a mission of vengeance to end Bill’s life along with the rest of the Deadly Viper squad.
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The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2009)
A film we reviewed on Back to the Movies only last week. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo centers around Elizabeth Salander, a brilliant part-time hacker who uncovers the truth about a business that is in the midst of a lawsuit involving a man called Blomkvist. Salander however is under state legal guardianship, due to being deemed mentally unstable. She receives a new guardian who has been repeatedly forcing himself on her. She records him in the act after he starts threatening to have her sent to a psychiatric hospital if not complacent. In addition to blackmailing him with this footage, she tattoos rapist on his chest and stomach. Needless to say, this is not the first time she has sought revenge.
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Inglorious Basterds (2009)
A group of Jewish-American soldiers called the Basterds are brutally killing German soldiers. This group is also notorious for carving swastikas onto the foreheads of any German soldiers they spare. Upon hearing about a Nazi propaganda film premiere, the basterds set a plan in motion to kill all of those in attendance and end the reign of the Nazi superpower. Though the plan does not go entirely as anticipated, every last Nazi in that theatre is burned to death.
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One of the ultimate in revenge movies. Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) is a retired CIA field Operative for the American government. His daughter Kim and Amanda have just travelled to Paris together for a fun holiday before they are abducted at their Parisian flat. Bryan sets out on a mission using his deadly aquired skills over the years to track down his daughter and lay waste to all of those involved in her kidnapping.
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What is your favourite revenge movie and why?