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By Chuck Foster | November 11, 2019

The film itself pays extreme homage to John Carpenter’s invasion movies, e.g. Assault on Precinct 13The Fog and Prince of Darkness (without the latter two’s supernatural elements, of course), while fully retaining the awesome action vibe of Escape from New YorkBig Trouble in Little China and They Live. Here, Begos shows us what he’s really made of by building a relentless pace so packed with tension we remain firmly at the edge of our seats, biting our fingernails until there’s nothing left. When combined with Steve Moore’s intense soundtrack, Mike Testin’s spartan cinematography and Josh Ethier’s unforgiving editing, it simply becomes cinematic perfection and you come out with that high that’s so damned lacking in Hollywood’s CGI-fueled superhero jerk offs.

“…a relentless pace so packed with tension we remain firmly at the edge of our seats, biting our fingernails…”

The cast? Well, you can’t get any better in these modern times. It’s mostly made up of true film veterans: Stephen Lang (AvatarDon’t Breathe), Fred Williamson (Black Caesar, Hell Up in Harlem), Martin Kove (The Last House on the Left [1972], The Karate Kid), George Wendt (Cheers, House), David Patrick Kelly (The Warriors, Commando) and William Sadler (Tales from the CryptThe Mist), with excellent appearances from Begos veterans Graham Skipper and Dora Madison and solid, heartfelt, memorable performances from both Sierra McCormick as Lizard and Tom Williamson as Shawn Mason, the solder just returning home. Quentin Tarantino, step aside. There’s a new guy in town bringing life to lost actors and his movies f*****g rule.

When you get old and crotchety, you say things like, “They don’t make ’em like that anymore.” For the most part, “they” don’t. Then you see VFW and realize it’s not a nostalgia thing. It’s genuinely not done this way anymore. Thank you Joe Begos for reminding us how it should be.

VFW screened at the 2019 Brooklyn Horror Film Festival.

VFW (2019)

Directed: Joe Begos

Written: Max Brallier, Matthew McArdle

Starring: Stephen Lang, Fred Williamson, Martin Kove, George Wendt, David Patrick Kelly, William Sadler, Tom Williamson, Sierra McCormick, etc.

Movie score: 10/10

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"…an action-packed love letter to John Carpenter."

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