Redeemer


2015
Directed By: Ernesto Díaz Espinoza
Starring:  Noah Segan, Marko Zaror and Loreto Aravena

Redeemer marks the fourth collaboration between director Ernesto Diaz Espinoza and star Marko Zaror. The plot for the film is fairly straight forward, Pardo (Marko Zaror) a former hitman for a drug cartel leaves behind his sinful ways to make right with god and become a vigilante for the disenfranchised. 

In my humble opinion the mark of a great action film is geography. You should always know where the characters stand at all times. Modern fight scenes have been killed by "shaky cam" and frenetic editing.  Zaror who also acted as the films choreographer allows the viewer to see how each punch leads to the next and we always have a clear sense of how the sequences are progressing. The action isn't dependent on wire work or tons of CGI either. This film is in many ways a throw back to the martial arts films of the late 70s and mid 80s but still very modern feeling.

Claudio Rocco has put together a score that would do John Carpenter proud, in a melodic sense its very reminiscent of  Big Trouble In Little China. Filmmakers in their 30s and 40s were raised on Carpenters work but it's been mostly horror movies (It Follows, You're Next) tipping the cap, its nice to see an action director paying homage.

Unlike most action films of Redeemer's size it has a decidedly cinematic look. The color palate gives the film a muted or emotionally restrained tone that underscores our protagonists struggle to clear his debt with both society and his god.

One of the more remarkable elements of the film isn't the amount of action (there is plenty) but rather its quality. I can't remember the last time I saw a movie with this much kickassery that was compelling through out. Most films like this run out of steam and become repetitive by the second act but Zaror keeps the action coming and is constantly innovative.

This would make a great double feature with The Guest and I highly recommend it to anyone who has a soft spot for martial arts but thought The Expendables was a pile of garbage. Redeemer arrives in theaters and on VOD June 12th. Skip Jurassic World this weekend and watch something fun.