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One Armed Boxer

Redeemer (2014) - Marko Zaror and director Ernesto Diaz Esponiza

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6 hours ago, ShaOW!linDude said:

I sure did. Posted a review on the main page back in September 2015.

Redeemer

Ah, now I remember reading your review at the time!  Agree with most of your points, apart from the overall direction of it not hitting the mark in the way it was probably intended.

6 hours ago, ShaOW!linDude said:

I actually revisited Mirageman a month or so ago. Have you seen any of his other films? (Chinango, Kiltro, Mandrill)

I have 'Mandrill' sitting in the to-watch pile (really more of a mountain), so will likely get around to it some day soon (before 2020).

I watched 'Mirageman' at the time of its release in '07, and literally all that I can remember of it is a blue balaclava, which is probably a strong indication that it didn't leave much of an impression.

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On 1/8/2017 at 0:37 PM, One Armed Boxer said:

I got through watching this one last night, and it's definitely the best Zaror has looked as a screen fighter in my opinion.  I know many will hold 'Undisputed 3' as the benchmark, but I'm not a fan of fight tournament movies which restrict their action to the ring, so have been on the lookout for a chance to see him unleash in a movie like this.

I was definitely surprised at the inclusion of some brief moments of ultra-violence, and thought they added to the overall feel in much the same way similar scenes worked for 'Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning' (unless you're watching the US release - in which case you won't have seen them as they're all cut).  Over the course of the run-time Zaror throws down in a number of fights which incorporate a pair of pliers, a fish hook, and a (switched on) boat propeller, all of which result in suitably bloody consequences for the bad guys.

There are also 3 nicely choreographed one on one fight scenes, all of which take place against opponents who give Zaror's character a run for his money.  The highlight for me was the first one, which has him going against a lackey with some nifty moves of his own, with the fight displaying a nice mix of punch & kick exchanges that frequently segue into MMA style grappling.  I'm usually a big naysayer of MMA as an onscreen fighting style, with only Donnie Yen having been able to successfully portray it in an exciting way with the finale of 'Flashpoint' (& then failing miserably with 'Special ID' a few years later), however Zaror choreographs the fight in such a way that it really works here, and arguably nothing in the rest of the movie quite matches what's on display during this confrontation.

While some will likely complain about the heavy handedness of the religious element of the plot, for me it worked in a kind of pulpy way.  Zaror takes it upon himself to answer the prayers of those less fortunate, who have had a wrong done to them that hasn't been punished for whatever reason.  One such example sees a fisherman, who was badly beaten by a group of bad guys, pray that he wishes to beat them over the head with his oar, and grind their face off with the propeller.  Zaror, taking things deadpan literally, then proceeds to track them down, and do exactly that.

While the action is frequent, unfortunately the direction in-between is quite flat and uninteresting.  Zaror's character is supposed to be the quiet and mysterious type, but the way it was handled made some of the run-time feel more plodding than it did enigmatic. The score was also an issue, and kind of resembled muzak which seemed to be constantly playing at low volume in the background, even during fight scenes. It was a missed opportunity to add some excitement and impact to the action in my opinion.

All in all though it was an enjoyable 90 minutes, and definitely didn’t outstay its welcome. Looking forward to seeing Zaror featuring alongside Scott Adkins again in ‘Savage Dog’.

@KUNG FU BOB & @ShaOW!linDude - Did you guys ever get around to checking this out?

I'm typing this from bed with a laptop I hate (my wife's... I cant get the gang of this "finger-drag" cursor thing! Give me a damn mouse!)

To answer your question @One Armed Boxer: Hell yes! :nerd:

This was a first day released purchase and watch for me. I really dig Zaror and his bizarrely quirky films, and I love REDEEMER!

I agree that the weaknesses you cited are there, but they didn't spoil it for me.

 

20 hours ago, ShaOW!linDude said:

I sure did. Posted a review on the main page back in September 2015.

Redeemer

I don't remember this. I mean, I remember Zaror doing all that to those guys, but I don't recall that being in answer to someone's prayer. Well, oddly enough I was thinking about revisiting this the other day when I came across it looking for another movie. As if I needed an additional reason, now I have to. :tongueout

I actually revisited Mirageman a month or so ago. Have you seen any of his other films? (Chinango, Kiltro, Mandrill)

It's a tops review too!

 

14 hours ago, One Armed Boxer said:

Ah, now I remember reading your review at the time!  Agree with most of your points, apart from the overall direction of it not hitting the mark in the way it was probably intended.

I have 'Mandrill' sitting in the to-watch pile (really more of a mountain), so will likely get around to it some day soon (before 2020).

I watched 'Mirageman' at the time of its release in '07, and literally all that I can remember of it is a blue balaclava, which is probably a strong indication that it didn't leave much of an impression.

My son and I were fortunate enough to see MANDRILL in the theater at the Philly Film Festival. It's a whole other level of wacky! Apparently the film was made as an "in between" project while waiting for financing for something else (REDEEMER? I can't remember), just so that Zaror and director Ernesto Diaz Espinoza didn't have too much down-time. It sort of feels like some college guys had a friend with martial arts skills, and decided to shoot an overly ambitious James Bond type film, and for the most part they just filmed it on the fly. For instance, one "set" is just a carpeted room, that I don't think even had any furniture in it. Joey's garage perhaps? But then in other parts it does seem ultra-stylish and cool. The fact that the whole thing is played with a completely straight face, that the action is fast and brutal, and the story is unique, makes it entertaining from start to finish. Odd, funny, and exciting. I highly recommend it as a great "bad movie".

MIRAGEMAN is so simple when it comes to plot and characters, but Zaror's charisma and fighting skills make it pop for me. Plus, it has those strangely hilarious moments* in it, like when he changes clothes to fight crime, but later discovers that his street clothes have been stolen. Well worth revisiting.

*My favorite of these is in KILTRO when he speeds out the door and into the streets for a very eighties, angst-filled run to David Bowie's song Modern Love.

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