Starring Bruce Willis, ‘Acts of Violence’ is a formulaic action drama that truly shines because of its cast and its well-choreographed action sequences. Throughout its runtime, it explores several themes surrounding PTSD in veterans, flaws in the justice system, and the importance of family ties. Along with this, it also shows that violence always begets violence, no matter how noble one’s intentions of inflicting it may be. With all of this, it leads to a simple yet mildly poignant ending. If you’re looking for a brief explainer for the film, here’s everything you need to know.
‘Acts of Violence’ primarily focuses on the lives of the McGregor brothers. Out of them, Deklan and married Brandon, both have served in the military, due to which, they have an expertise in weaponry. The youngest among them, Roman, is engaged to his childhood flame, Mia, and they’re about to get married. While Deklan is traumatized by his past and Brandon has a family to look after, Mia and Roman try to have a good time by partying away their last few days of bachelorhood. During one of her bachelorette parties, Mia ends up pissing off two small-time thugs, Vince and Frank, both of whom work as sex traffickers for a local kingpin named Max Livingston. After being insulted by Mia, Vince and Frank abduct her from the club and take her to their boss as a special offering.
In the meantime, Detective James Avery relentlessly tries to collect evidence against Max Livingston but fails to find anything legit. Adding to this, the existing corruption in the higher hierarchies of the police department keeps his hands tied.
Before getting abducted, Mia was dropping a voice note for Roman. That’s how Roman figures out that she’s in trouble. Realizing that his brother’s military experience could come in handy, Roman calls Deklan and asks him for help. Deklan first makes a 911 call and then tries to raid a home in which he suspects Mia is being kept. Unfortunately for him, Mia is nowhere to be found, and the three brothers land themselves in some serious trouble for breaking several laws. This leads them to Avery, who promises them that he’ll help them rescue their sister and even warns them to stay out of the case. But Deklan refuses to comply with the request of the detective. As a result, the three brothers deck themselves into military-grade vests and weapons and set out to save Mia.
In the final moments of the film, the three brothers raid a warehouse in which Max intends to hide his trafficked girls in transportation trucks before sending them off to Vegas. The raid goes as planned, and the three bothers are not only able to rescue Mia but many other girls who were being trafficked. However, as soon as they reach back home, Max shows up with his men and attacks them. During this home raid, Brandon gets shot and dies on the spot, but Deklan efficiently manages to kill all of Max’s men. In the nick of time, Max manages to flee the scene before getting shot by Deklan.
In the end, Deklan and Roman get arrested by the cops, but Max still walks free. As a result, Avery reaches his absolute limit and resigns from his job as a cop. He then heads over to Max’s secret hideout and shoots him before he can escape town. Ultimately, Deklan, Roman, and Mia get the happy ending that they deserve, while Avery serves justice. In the opening scene itself, the movie establishes that Avery was always a badass cop. But because his seniors at the police department always tried to establish their control over everyone else, Avery suffered and could not be the cop that he wanted to be. But when he finally gets the opportunity to kill Max and his end his career by doing what he loves, he does not hold himself back.
The ending of the movie also shows that although the brothers were well-intentioned and only got involved in those involved acts of violence to save Mia, they, too, suffered some dire consequences of their actions. Along with this, in Avery’s side of the story, there’s also some subtle commentary surrounding police bureaucracy and how it can often impact crimes that require instant attention. The film’s emotional resonance comes from its depiction of a family that has its own share of indifferences and arguments but still sticks together during tough times. Deklan was initially very cold towards his family because of his combat PTSD, but he did not let that cloud his judgment when his family needed him.
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