'Redeemer': Film Review
A lethal assassin turns vigilante to protect the innocent in Ernesto Diaz Espinoza's Chilean action film
You don't often encounter action movies made in Chile, but if the latest effort from Ernesto Diaz Espinoza (Mandrill, Bring me the Head of the Machine Gun Woman) is any indication, bring 'em on. Starring martial arts expert Marko Zaror (Machete Kills) in a breakout role, Redeemer is a lean, mean fighting machine of a movie that delivers 90 minutes of its macho star kicking serious ass. And that's more than enough.
The chiseled Zaror, sporting the requisite facial stubble, plays Nick Pardo, a former assassin paying penance for his past sins by coming to the rescue of innocents preyed upon by bad guys. Sporting religious icons and constantly wearing a hood, the impassive Pardo, nicknamed "The Redeemer," comes across as a lethal monk.
He's clearly a tortured soul, as evidenced by his daily ritual of playing Russian roulette, usually while shirtless, his bulging muscles and rigid posture giving it the air of an exercise routine.
The plot, such as it is, concerns his efforts to protect the inhabitants of a small town from the lethal activities of the American drug lord Bradock and his henchmen. The villain, as deliciously played by Noah Segan, is a vicious but amusingly cartoon-like character. Plotting the murder of the vigilante who consistently wreaks havoc with his criminal plans, he cheerfully points out, "I haven't killed a Chilean yet!"
Well, good luck with that, as the Redeemer is a virtually unstoppable force of nature who dispatches his legions of opponents with ferocious punches, roundhouse kicks and whatever weapons he can call into action, including a pair of pliers he uses to perform an impromptu dental extraction. The fight scenes choreographed by the star are thrilling to watch. Zaror displays a graceful physical kineticism that is vividly captured by the filmmaker who, other than the occasional use of slow-motion so we can actually see the rapid-fire movements, thankfully foregoes the frenetic editing that renders so many contemporary fight sequences incomprehensible.
A particular highlight is the superbly staged climactic face-off with a rival assassin known as "The Scorpion" (Jose Luis Mosca) who, as illustrated in a brutally violent flashback, is directly responsible for the tragedy that led to the Redeemer's spiritual conversion. For that, genre fans owe him a debt of gratitude.
Production: Moral Brothers Entertainment in association with XYZ Films
Cast: Marko Zaror, Loreto Aravena, Jose Luis Mosca, Mauricio Diocares, Noah Segan
Director/editor: Ernesto Diaz Espinoza
Screenwriters: Ernesto Diaz Espinoza, Guillermo Prieto, Andrea Sanz, Diego Ayala
Producers: Guillermo Prieto, Noah Segan, Marko Zaror
Executive producers: Gina Aguad, Nate Bolotin, Todd Brown, Alfonso Moral, Alvaro Moral
Director of photography: Nicolas Ibieta
Composer: Claudo Rocco
Not rated, 90 min.