In the film world, Chile may be best known for a handful of director-auteurs like Pablo Larrain and Dominga Sotomayor whose idiosyncratic arthouse fare has earned them a place in the pantheon of contemporary cinema. Then, of course, there are the horror-oriented genre films of Chilewood that have been tearing up international box offices, but only die-hard genre fans may realize there’s been a homegrown action industry brewing down in the land of poets over the last decade — and one giant, scary Chilean action superstar by the name of Marko Zaror has made it possible.
But don’t take our word for it. Zaror’s latest bloody spectacle, Redeemer, directed by Chilean action pioneer Ernesto Díaz Espinoza, will finally be making its way stateside after causing quite the hullabaloo over at Austin, TX’s Fantastic Fest last fall. The film follows Pardo, an ex-hitman turned hermetic vigilante who has dedicated his life to taking down bad guys in an effort to atone for his own past sins. Things get complicated when he finds himself mixed up with the army of a would-be American drug kingpin named Bradock, whom he fights to take down as a mysterious assassin follows hot on his trail.
As far as martial arts/action films go, this one clearly hits all the buttons; but don’t think this is just a straightforward schlock spectacle. Díaz Espinoza follows very much in the self-conscious homage tradition of Quentin Tarantino, and much like Tarantino’s work, Redeemer is not for the faint of heart. But anyone who can appreciate world-class action choreography will surely be blown away by Chile’s highly original, tropicalized take on cinematic violence.
Just take one glance at the trailer to appreciate the film’s unapologetic spectacle of hand-to-hand combat, where just about everything from camerawork to acting seems secondary to the virtuosos flips, spins, and jump kicks that might very well have earned Zaror a place at the top of modern martial arts heroes. Audiences in L.A., New York, Houston, Denver, and Lubbock will have the unique opportunity to catch this one on the big screen.
Redeemer opens in theaters and on VOD June 12, 2015. Visit the film’s site for details.