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Though Chilean western/martial-arts hybrid Redeemer may stall whenever it’s not in ass-kicking gear, leading man Marko Zaror is charming enough to make you want to overlook his latest vehicle’s humorless posturing. Zaror (Mandrill, Mirageman) plays Nick “Redeemer” Pardo, a stoic, Bible-quoting vigilante who overcompensates for the sins of his Byronic past by pummeling rapists, gangsters, and other cartoonishly evil undesirables.
Pardo’s latest target is Bradock (Deadgirl‘s Noah Segan), a dimwitted American mobster whose ostentatious crimes also grab the attention of serial killer “Scorpion” (José Luis Mosca), the man responsible for Pardo’s preposterously macho quest for salvation. Pardo’s flashbacks to Scorpion-inflicted trauma are ludicrously overwrought — think overemphasis of bulging neck veins, sadistic torture, and extreme close-ups.
But these are also Redeemer‘s most involving nonviolent scenes, as Zaror gets to lower his hoodie and emote. Zaror may be a one-note actor, but he’s so good at quaking and bellowing like a caged animal that he makes Pardo’s otherwise lame bid for meathead martyrdom seem fitfully attractive.
Redeemer is consistently impressive whenever Zaror gets to act with his fists and feet, and the consummately loose action sequences highlight his expert timing. If you ignore some of Zaror’s signature moves, particularly his high-flying kicks and leg-sweeping spins, you’ll feel like you’re watching a skilled fighter reacting to his opponents, and not an over-glorified stuntman performing a choreographed routine. Redeemer may not be as good as its star, but it does give Zaror enough room to shine.