One constant in film has been the need for a solid action film. This summer has been filled with plenty of big blockbusters packed with action, but thankfully we are also getting some smaller ones that don’t pull punches (pun fully intended). Dark Sky Films and MPI Media Group bring us the latest by Ernesto Diaz Espinosa (MANDRILL) starring Marko Zaror (UNDISPUTED 3, MANDRILL) and Noah Segan (LOOPER, STARRY EYES).
An ex-hit man (Zaror) after a botched hit finds himself trying to redeem his sins by providing justice to criminals throughout the Chilean countryside. Tipped off by people praying at churches, the Redeemer tracks down those harming the innocent, and allows them to repent or pay. Not a lot of repenting is done, so payment is enacted swiftly, efficiently, and brutally. After coming to a seaside town and helping a fisherman being roughed up, Redeemer finds himself looking to single handedly take down the local crime organization.
“What I need you to do is track down this Redeemer guy and take care of him. And bring me back two bags; one with my money and the other with his head!”
The leader of the crime organization is Senor Steve (Segan), an American ex-pat looking to make it big despite not even speaking the language. “If I wanted to be killed, I would have gone to Mexico.” Segan does a great job as a budding crime lord despite being a total fish out of water. The fisherman that Redeemer saved happened to have found a large chunk of Steve’s dirty money, and he wants his goons to stop at nothing to get it back.
As if facing off a battalion of baddies isn’t enough, the Redeemer is silently stalked by another hit man, The Scorpion (José Luís Mósca), the man who left him for dead in the desert before his “Come to Jesus” moment. Beyond brutal, The Scorpion isn’t above torturing those that the Redeemer has helped, as it leads him one step closer to tying off the loose end he left.
As the star and fight coordinator, Zaror does an admiral job. His character is a definite archetype of action film stars, but he doesn’t allow it fall flat. And once the action kicks in, it’s almost impossible to take your eyes off of the screen. His fighting style is a utilitarian one, not flashy, but deadly effective. He uses his surroundings to the maximum, allowing anything to become a weapon, when he’s facing fully armed masses. There were quite a few times that I was so invested in the fight that I would just be uttering “Whaaaaaaa…” just before then wincing from what was showing.
REDEEMER is a brisk movie, coming in under 90 minutes, but feeling even shorter. With a movie as packed with action as this, you can come out of feeling whip lashed, but thankfully Espinosa does a great job of giving us enough breathing space. He allowed for action to be buffered nicely by character development, on all sides, making you invested even more in the film. And with the short running time, it stands to be a suitable double feature with something like the Soskas’ VENDETTA or even THE RAID: REDEMPTION.
REDEEMER is currently in limited theatrical release (see the dates here) as well as on VOD as of June 12th, 2015.