Bullet Points: Redeemer
Marko Zaror… up until a few days ago, I had never heard of the man. Then I caught Redeemer on Netflix and that all changed.
To say Zaror made a good first impression on me would be a major understatement. I went from not knowing that the country of Chile even had their own action stars to being a big Marko Zaror fan in the course of 88 minutes.
- Ritual Killer: Zaror plays Pardo (or as local legends call him The Redeemer). Once upon a time Pardo was a hit man for a drug cartel, until he made the mistake of falling in love and trying to start a family. After being excommunicated from the cartel and left for dead in the desert by a nasty individual known as The Scorpion, Pardo finds God so to speak. Pardo starts using his killer instincts for good as a way of paying for his past sins. He becomes a vigilante known as The Redeemer and starts helping those in need. Pardo carries around some religious objects and has certain rituals he follows before and after he kills, including telling his victims to “Get on your knees and ask God for forgiveness” and playing a very dangerous game of Russian Roulette with himself. I have seen a lot of vigilante themed movies in my day but I can honestly say Pardo is one of the most unique takes on a vigilante character that I have ever seen.
- Pardo’s Got a Brand New Bag: In his travels Pardo comes across a man named Agustin, who is being beaten by a group of thugs. Agustin found a bag full of money that fell off a ship and the thugs want to know where it is. The thugs work for a man named Steve Braddock, an American who dreams of becoming the drug lord of Chile. It was Braddock’s money that was lost and he wants it back by any means necessary. Like the Pardo character, the character of wealthy drug lord wannabe Steve Braddock was in no way cookie cutter. Braddock (played by Noah Seegen) walks a fine line between being comical and being dangerous. The Braddock character is a scene stealer for sure. But back to Pardo, Augustin and the thugs… Pardo intervenes on behalf of the down trodden Agustin, he tells the thugs to ask for forgiveness per usual and then he goes to town, using oars, metal hooks and even a boat propeller to dish out some vigilante justice.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Flashbacks are utilized throughout the film to fill in some of Pardo’s backstory and how his life and the life of the menacing Scorpion intersected. The Scorpion, who made the classic movie bad guy mistake of assuming Pardo was going to die in the desert, is now hunting him down, undoing all of the Redeemer’s good along the way. And as you probably could expect, the movie builds up to a crescendo with the final showdown between The Redeemer and The Scorpion.
I can’t help but compare Marko Zaror to Scott Adkins (The two play opposite of one another in Undisputed 3). Like Adkins, Zaror grew up idolizing action stars like Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jean-Claude Van Damme. It was his fandom that sparked his interest in the martial arts and it was his martial arts ability that eventually got him into the movie business. And Zaror has done a lot in his short time in the movie business. He has been a stunt man, a fight choreographer and an actor. Movies like the Redeemer are going to turn Zaror from being just another actor to an action star!
You can’t teach passion. If you grew up wanting to be a policeman, a doctor, a basketball player or even an action star and then when you do grow up and actually get to do the thing you’ve always wanted to do, you are damn sure going to make the most of that opportunity and Zaror’s passion for the action genre is evident in Redeemer. I am looking forward to seeing future Zaror projects.
Redeemer is worth a trip to the Redbox or the price of a Netflix subscription alone and it receives my highest recommendation.
Now for a few Bonus Redeemer Bullet Points…
- Corkscrew Spin Kicks: It is not uncommon for an action star to have a go to move. For example, Jean-Claude Van Damme had the splits, it was a move not many could do and Van Damme wisely showcased that ability. Marko Zaror’s version of the Van Damme Splits is a corkscrew spin kick that is poetry in motion.
- Employment Opportunities: Pardo may feel he only has one professional skill, but you can see other skills in the different ways he dispatches of scum bags with a death wish. Baseball, boxing and dentistry skills all come into play at various points in the film. The variety of ways the Redeemer kills guys is one of the highlights of the movie.
- Nickname Envy: After hearing the news that both The Redeemer and The Scorpion are in town, the eccentric Steve Braddock becomes mildly obsessed with getting a nickname of his own. Does he get one? You’ll have to watch the movie to find out.
- Collaborators: Redeemer marks the fourth movie that Zaror worked with director Ernesto Diaz Espinoza. The duo previously worked together on the films Kiltro, Mirageman and Mandrill.