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Dark Sky Films // Unrated // September 1, 2015
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Ian Jane | posted September 10, 2015 | E-mail the Author
The Movie:

Chilean filmmaker Ernesto Díaz Espinoza once again teams up with action star Marko Zaror (they've previously worked together on a few features, the best known in North America being Mirageman and Mandrill) for 2014's Redeemer. The story introduces us to a man known only as Redeemer (Zaror). He fights crime on the mean streets of the city and a hood keeps his identity a secret and his take no prisoners attitude means that once he knocks those bad guys down, they don't get back up again.

There is a lot more to this guy than just a bunch of bad-ass martial moves and a thirst to avenge those who can't avenge themselves. He hangs out in the churches of the city and listens to the prayers of the poor and the downtrodden. It's here that he hears their stories and gleans an understanding of what he has to do to take care of things for them. When he then ‘receives' an okay from God himself to go out and obliterate evildoers, that's all he needs to get going. Armed with righteousness, he does a pretty good job of cleaning up other people's messes. He might also be completely insane.

If Redeemer is a superhero, then another equally talented martial artist named Scorpion (José Luís Mósca) must be his nemesis. Scorpion has a knack for tracking Redeemer down and then cruelly slaughtering the people that he fought so hard to help. The story gets complicated when Redeemer saves a humble fisherman named Agustin (Mauricio Diocares) from some toughs. When he's unable to escape in his typically covert style, he winds up on the bad side of an American drug dealer named Scott Bradock (Segan). See, Agustin wound up intercepting a sizeable amount of cash that belonged to Bradock and even if he doesn't have it anymore, Bradock wants payback. Redeemer will do what he can to see that justice is served, but then, Scorpion seems to be waiting for him around every corner…

Chock full of some pitch black humor and more brutal fight scenes than you can shake a stick at, Redeemer is as tough as nails but still a whole lot of fun. It's pulpy, and it feels like a insanely violent comic book at times, but man oh man, do the action scenes ever deliver here. Part of the reason for that is that Zaror did most of his own fight choreography and as such is able to play to his strengths and get the most out of his training. But Zaror isn't the only one here with skills to show off, because José Luís Mósca is just as impressive when given the chance to do his thing. The fight scenes and action sequences are, not surprisingly, the high points of the movie and they do not disappoint. They are well shot and avoid going so far over the top as to take us too far away from reality. When these guys hit and get hit, it hurts and you feel it. As close as it gets to a superhero movie at times, there aren't a lot of fancy gadgets here, no suits of high-tech armor or supped up vehicles to get our characters out of danger. Zaror's character has only his fists and his feet to rely on.

There's more to the story than just one action set piece after another, however. The reason that Zarko's character does what he does the way that he does it is explained, over the course of the movie, in pretty interesting ways. There are some flashbacks that take care of parts of this but there are also little bits and pieces in terms of his motives that support it. There's also a reason that the movie is called Redeemer, as there's quite obviously a theme of redemption running through it with all the subtlety of a bull in a china shop. The ambitious and interesting enough to hold your attention even during the few calm moments that are peppered throughout the movie. The cast also handle themselves quite well here, in those calm moments and in the more intense action scenes as well. Espinoza and Zaror really seem to ‘get it' and have delivered, with this picture, the kind of film that those reared on action movies of the past should love, and at the same time, they've delivered it through a very modern sensibility (meaning this is not a throwback style retro-grindhouse picture). If that sounds like your kind of thing, definitely check this one out. It's amazing what these guys pull off with a budget that wouldn't even cover the catering costs of a similar Hollywood style action film.

The Blu-ray:


Redeemer arrives on Blu-ray in a very nice looking AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.78.1 widescreen. As the movie was shot digitally there are no problems with any print damage, dirt or debris. Detail is very strong here in pretty much every frame, though there are a few shots that do use a slightly softer focus for a little while for artistic effect. Generally though, this is super sharp and remarkably clear. Colors look excellent, though they are heavily tweaked in post-production presumably to give the movie a comic book look. Black levels are really solid as well and contrast is also properly set. Yeah, this movie looks really good. It's not always the most realistic looking picture you'll ever see but in the context of the world that the filmmakers have created you wouldn't want it to look any differently.


The Spanish language DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track is rock solid, with plenty of well-placed directional effects present throughout the movie and a lot of really interesting depth noticeable, especially in those action scenes. The dialogue (which does feature a few bits spoken in English) sounds nice and clear while the sound effects have some really strong weight behind them to make the hits have just that much more impact when they land. There are no problems with any hiss or distortion to note and the levels are nicely balanced as well. The same language option is also provided in PCM 2.0 Stereo and a full English dub option is offered in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo. Optional subtitles are provided in English and Spanish.


Extras are pretty slim here, the biggest of the supplements arriving in the form of a behind the scenes featurette, but it only runs five and a half minutes. The interviews with the cast and crew are interesting, however, as are the behind the scenes clips that show off some of the fight choreography. Aside from that we also get seven minutes of deleted scenes, a trailer for the feature, trailers for a few other Dark Sky Films properties, menus and chapter selection.

Final Thoughts:

Ernesto Díaz Espinoza and Marko Zaror make a great team. Past collaborations indicated that these guys know what action movie fans want and they know how to give it to them, but Redeemer cements that. This is lean, very efficient and as exciting as it is wildly entertaining. If Dark Sky's Blu-ray isn't stacked with extras it does look and sound very good and it comes recommended.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

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