Ruthless (2024) Movie Review – A painfully predictable thriller

A painfully predictable thriller

Ruthless stars Dermot Mulroney as Harry, a high school wrestling coach whose teenage daughter is murdered at the beginning of the film. He tries to move on following this tragic event in his life, but his attempts at finding peace are halted when he discovers Catia (Melissa Diaz), one of his female students, is the victim of an assault by her stepfather.

When Catia goes missing, Harry tasks himself with investigating her disappearance. In the process, he discovers she has become part of a human trafficking operation run by a sleazy crimelord named Dale (Jeff Fahey). This gives Harry all the incentive he needs to lay down his special brand of justice on this criminal lowlife who specializes in abducting teenage girls and selling them off at auctions to the highest bidders.

The storyline is painfully predictable but the formulaic plot isn’t the movie’s only fault. It’s laden with issues, including clunky dialogue (complete with uncomfortable pauses), a cast of mostly wooden actors (with the exception of Mulroney and Fahey), and characters that behave inconsistently. 

Even the direction (if you can call it that) by stunt coordinator Art Camacho is flawed with fight scenes that are unenthusiastically choreographed. You’d expect a little creativity in this area, considering Camacho’s background in stuntwork. But nearly every skirmish plays out the same, with a brief punch-up between Harry and a thug which ends with him breaking their arm.

Admirably, the writers do try to make a point about toxic masculinity and the victimisation of women. However, these themes are undermined by the director who at one point in the film pauses his camera on a woman’s cleavage. It’s just one cringy moment in a movie that is full of them, with characters who are thinly written and a revenge-fuelled protagonist who consistently breaks the law with little to no consequences. 

In an interview with Screen Rant, Mulroney talked about Ruthless and hyped up the “really strong character-driven storyline.” However, we have to question the actor’s statement. We don’t mean to disrespect him – he’s a talented actor who has delivered many brilliant performances – but Ruthless falls down as a character piece.

If Harry developed as a person throughout the film, then yes, it could be called ‘character-driven.’ But unfortunately, the Harry we meet at the beginning of the film is essentially the same Harry we meet at the end, only with a few more cuts and bruises. You might assume his daughter’s death is the catalyst for him becoming a protector of women. But no – he’s that kind of guy before his daughter dies, as indicated by a scene outside a movie theatre where he – you guessed it – breaks the arm of a guy who tried to touch a girl without her consent. 

Mulroney is yet another Hollywood actor who has ended up in the vapid wilderness of cheap and badly written B-movies. He has starred in a few high-profile Hollywood productions in recent years – Scream VI, Umma, Anyone But You – but he has starred in a lot of garbage too, with Ruthless being one of his worst!

I expect some people will find the scenes of Harry beating up scumbags cathartic. But those expecting decent fight choreography, an engaging plot, and a few creative twists and turns, will need to look elsewhere. It’s one of the most incompetent movies I have seen in a while, with only Mulroney’s spirited performance to elevate it above the similarly low-budget dross that clog up our streaming services. 


Read More: Ruthless – Ending Explained

Feel free to check out more of our movie reviews here!

  • Verdict - 2/10

Leave a comment