By Jack Rico
The 1-4-0: #Redeemer is a hard-hitting beat-em-up action film held back by some glaring flaws.
The Gist: Pardo (Marko Zaror), an ex-hitman, is on his quest for redemption after making a mistake he paid for dearly. He becomes involved in the Chilean drug empire, led by a man called Bradock (Noah Segan), in order to save the lives of a pair of civilians he runs into. Meanwhile, Pardo (The Redeemer) is hunted down by an old foe, The Scorpion.
What Works: The chemistry between actor and director, this is the 4th film Zaror and Espinoza have worked on together, is very apparent in the scenes. This results in action sequences that work well for the most part. They’re gory, and every punch lands so hard you can feel it through the screen. Martial arts fanatics will definitely get a kick out of some of the choreography. Pardo also has a backstory that is slowly revealed in flashbacks throughout the film. Though at first they may seem a bit tacky and questionable, they work in delivering a satisfying conclusion to the character’s arc. It also allows for Zaror to showcase his acting chops, which have really improved since the days he was a mere stunt-double for Dwayne Johnson in The Rundown.
What Doesn’t Work: The film is somewhat of a slow burn. It tries very hard to be a much darker and serious film. This takes away from the fun of it being a simple action movie. While the fight sequences tend to deliver, there are moments when they begin to feel tiresome. Pardo can do no wrong. At one point he’s surrounded by nearly a dozen men, all with some kind of firearm pointed at him, but he is able to take them all out with his bare hands. Cool, sure, but it takes away any sense of urgency from the scene. These scenes also begin to overuse a slow-motion effect that adds no flavor to action. The religious and vigilante undertones are also a bit much; Pardo tends to pose in a very heroic (think Batman) stance every time he approaches a group of baddies. It grows silly and tiresome after the first few times and you just have to wonder how his hood stays on for the entire fight. Redeemer also suffers from plot inconsistencies that are too glaring to ignore. They don’t serve the story well nor do they allow for any other character to grow and develop.
Pay or Nay: Nay. Fans of martial arts films may get a kick from Redeemer, however, it’s not a film one should run out to see. While the ride can deliver in certain moments, it even has an interesting protagonist to back it up, it is too uneven to fully enjoy. Chilean native director Ernesto Diaz Espinoza tries a bit too hard to deliver a film that’s darker than it should be. Skip this film and rest assured you won’t be missing much.