By Luis Ortega
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 director Ernesto Diaz Espinoza have worked on together, is very apparent in the action 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. There were a few stunts that left me in awe as I watched what these action stars were capable of doing and I somewhat feel like I should start working out. Somewhat. 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. The final scene is appropriately tense because of what we learn.
What Doesn’t Work: The film is somewhat of a slow burn. It tries very hard to be a much darker and serious film that takes away from the fun of it being a simple action movie. When compared to other foreign martial-arts films, The Raid, for example, the action sequences are a bit of a letdown. Some problems are that Pardo is unstoppable. 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. In The Raid, Rama goes through a constant struggle as more and more enemies come his way. He gets hurt, struggles to pick himself up, and we can tell he’s pushing himself to his limit. Pardo, however, can overcome everyone. That can get very tiresome and boring. 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 starts looking silly 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 (pun intended), however, it’s not a film one should run out to see. While the ride can deliver in certain moments, and even has an interesting protagonist to back it up, it is too uneven to completely enjoy. Chilean native director Ernesto Diaz Espinoza tries a bit too hard to deliver a film that’s darker than it should be. You can skip this film and you won’t be missing much.
Release Date: June 12, 2015
Screenplay: Gina Aguad, Sanz Andrea, Diego Ayala, Ernesto Díaz Espinoza, Guillermo Prieto
Director(s): Ernesto Diaz Espinoza
Starring: Marko Zaror, Loreto Aravena, Jose Luis Mosca, Mauricio Diocares, Noah Segan
Distributor: Dark Sky Films
Film Genre: Action