Lee Whittaker’s “The Vigilante” is a timely action story about hunting down child traffickers. But it’s heavy on the action and less on the story.


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General Information

Director(s) Lee Whittaker
Screenplay By Kara Myers and Lee Whittaker
Based On N/A
Date Released (Tubi) September 8, 2023
Genre(s) Action

Drama

Thriller

Film Length 1 hr, 40 Minutes
Content Rating
Rated R 
Noted Characters and Cast
Jessica Jet Jandreau
Aimee Jamie M. Timmons
Dan Eric Pierce
Frank Julien Cesario

What Is “The Vigilante” Rated And Why?

“The Vigilante” is Rated R due to violence, profanity, and disturbing subject material (child trafficking).

“The Vigilante” Film Summary

This content contains pertinent spoilers. Also, images and text in this post may contain affiliate links. If a purchase is made from those sites, we may earn money or products from the company.

“The Vigilante” is relentless in action and doesn’t flinch when showing the trauma of war and sex trafficking. Because of its disturbing content, watching “The Vigilante” can feel especially long and uncomfortable, but filmmaker Lee Whittaker is more interested in showing Jet Jandreau’s Jessica kick ass and become an action hero.

Jessica (Jet Jandreau) is a highly skilled Marine who suffers from PTSD after serving in Afghanistan. But Jessica has little time to consider her own trauma when she learns that child traffickers abducted her little sister Aimee (Jamie M. Timmons).

The police inform Jessica that this type of case takes time and often ends tragically. Jess is not someone who can stand idly by and wait for updates, so she enlists the help of her computer-tech friend Dan (Eric Pierce) to track down any shady traffickers within the area. Together, Jess and Dan start operating their own stings outside the law and taking down other traffickers while trying to find more information on Aimee.

Meanwhile, Aimee is held hostage by Frank (Julien Cesario), a criminal who plans to sell Aimee and the younger girls to the highest bidder. Aimee is a ballet dancer who gives the young girls some hope and a sense of normalcy by teaching them how to dance. But Frank is not afraid to resort to violence to instill fear and control in the children. Jessica’s hunt for Aimee is a race against the clock as Frank gets closer and closer to selling all the kids.

the vigilante jess
Jet Jandreau stars as Jess in “The Vigilante” (Directed by Lee Whittaker, 2023)

“The Vigilante” is a timely story with a protagonist easy to cheer on, but the paper-thin plot and cartoonish villains leave more to be desired. Like “John Wick,” one can easily see how “The Vigilante” can become a franchise, but the story world and our protagonist, Jessica, need more details on how each developed.

Other Noteworthy Information

  1. “The Vigilante” is marketed as a Tubi Original but was originally listed as “Aimee” on IMDB. The promotional material highlighted the movie’s trafficking elements.
  2. Director Lee Whittaker is also an accomplished stunt coordinator.
  3. CONTENT WARNING: depictions of child trafficking throughout the movie.

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.

Jessica

Jessica is a highly skilled Marine who has just returned from Afghanistan to find her missing sister. Jessica takes the law into her own hands to find her sister, but she is also haunted by her time in Afghanistan.

  • The actor is also known for their roles in “Attack of the Flies” and “Wuthering Heights.”

Aimee

Aimee is a 13-year-old girl who child traffickers kidnap. While Aimee is a light of hope for other girls kidnapped, her own hope dwindles with each day she’s kept as a prisoner.

  • The actor is also known for their roles in “The Deserted” and “God Be Trippin’.”

Dan

the vigilante dan
Eric Pierce as Dan in “The Vigilante” (Directed by Lee Whittaker, 2023)

Dan is Jess’ helpful partner who helps trace criminals and isn’t afraid to join in the action. But Dan is more reserved than Jessica about breaking the law to find Aimee.

Frank

Frank is the boss of a crime operation that traffics children. He has plenty of support from henchmen, but Frank makes all the decisions, including targeting and kidnapping Aimee.

the vigilante frank
Julien Cesario as the villain Frank in “The Vigilante” (directed by Lee Whittaker, 2023)

Review

Our Rating: Mixed (Divisive)

Who Is This For?

Fans of old-school action movies that clearly set the stakes and don’t rely on CGI. People who want their action and danger rooted in reality may also enjoy “The Vigilante.”

Highlights

A Female Action Hero with Heart and Brains

“The Vigilante” isn’t concerned about Jess’ gender as she cracks bones and punches men in the face, but there is something especially refreshing about seeing a woman get vengeance on male traffickers. “The Vigilante” doesn’t explore much of Jessica’s past or why she joined the Marines, but it features frequent flashbacks of a traumatic bombing she experienced. Jet Jandreau conveys Jess as a ticking time bomb that can be stone-faced one minute and suffer a panic attack the next. All of these ingredients make Jess an engaging protagonist that the audience would gladly follow on more missions.

On The Fence

Disorienting Action Sequences

As a stunt director, Lee Whittaker knows how to set the action in creative formats with a higher frame rate and canted angles, and I dare you to take a drink each time someone crashes through a wall. The action is often intriguing and can be intentionally disorienting as the camera moves with the action. But some cuts can be jarring, as Jess could be drowning a villain one moment and then punching a different villain the next. In the blink of an eye, punches in one location become kicks in a different location. All of this can add to the unhinged action, but some may find it distracting.

A Lot Happens with Little Explained

“The Vigilante” does not lack in action but seems barely concerned with how we get to each action sequence. The movie thankfully does not provide long-winded explanations of Dan’s computer skills, but how we get closer and closer to finding where Aimee is being kept feels thin and undeserving. This is a tight 90-minute movie, but more exploration of Jessica, her family, her conflict with the police, or even her investigative abilities could have heightened the drama in the action scenes, too.

Recommendations

If you like this movie, we recommend:

  1. Sound of Freedom
  2. The Equalizer (2014)
  3. Boca Chica

Check out our movies page for our latest movie reviews and recommendations.

FAQs

Answers to some questions you may have regarding this movie:

The Reason The Movie Is Named “The Vigilante”

“The Vigilante” is named after its protagonist, who works outside the law to find her sister and bring justice to her community.

the vigilante
The Vigilante (2023) – Review and Summary
Overall
One can easily see how "The Vigilante" can become a franchise, but the storyworld and our protagonist Jessica need more details on how each developed. 
Highlights
A Female Action Hero with Heart and Brains
Disputable
Disorienting Action Sequences
A Lot Happens with Little Explained
75

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One Comment

  1. Hey Austin I truly appreciate your words on this. Just a simple correction however. It’s “Brad” character that’s played by Julien Cesario and not “Frank.”

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