Rendel: Dark Vengeance (2017)
Directed by: Jesse Haaja
Written by: Jesse Haaja, Miika J. Norvanto, Pekka Lehtosaari, Timo Puustinen
Starring: Alina Tomnikov, Bianca Bradey, Johnny Vivash, Kristofer Gummerus, Michael Hall, Michael Majalahti, Rami Rusinen, Renne Korppila, Sheila Shah
RENDEL: DARK VENGEANCE (2017)
Directed by Jesse Haaja
Finished Dubbed in English and English Language
A shady organisation is pumping an untested vaccine into the country, resorting to bribery, blackmail and even homicide to ensure the vaccine reaches its destination. After a shipment of the vaccine is destroyed by a masked vigilante named Rendel, the boss’ son Rotikka is instructed to do whatever it takes to save the remaining shipment.
Superheroes are all the rage at the moment and hoping to stir up a bit of excitement in that genre is Finnish anti-hero RENDEL – a vigilante who’s got more on his mind than just some black market vaccine. Destroying his enemies, this hero dances around bullets and is lightning quick, sneaking up on enemies and making minced meat out of them before they even know what’s hit them. Aided by a beautiful blonde, who’s quite handy with a knife, Rendel is a blend of The Punisher and Batman, seeking to protect the city of Mikkeli from the deadly plot by worldwide corporation VALA. Torching and blowing up every shipment he can lay his hands on is making Rendel quite unpopular with Rotikka, a bearded, hippy-looking mobster who’s been ordered to handle the problem and enlists his bald, tattooed, baseball bat-wielding thug to help him. Unfortunately for Rotikka, Rendel is too quick for him and appears to be one step ahead at all times. Just who is the leather-clad, masked vigilante and why does he care about ruining their plan so much?
RENDEL: DARK VENGEANCE appears to see itself as a noir superhero film with brutal kick-assery but at the same time blends in an element of goofy humour that snaps you out of the world it finds itself in. Whilst the humour may be daft, there’s definitely some funny, tongue-in-cheek scenes such as when Rotikka and his sidekick accidentally shoot a pizza delivery guy before devouring a pizza each, dwelling on the blood bath they stumbled upon at the VALA vaccine storage facility. The juxtaposition of these two styles works well but at the same time lessens the effect of the ferocity. It feels neither one genre or the other, and by taking the route of combining both comedy and hard-hitting violence, it fails to live up to either. Not only that, but with so many ideas floating about in the movie, we never really get any cohesion with the direction of the movie seemingly willing to retread familiar ground throughout the movie – that of the cat and mouse chase between Rendel and Rotikka. Whilst this is fine the first couple of times you see it, it soon gets boring.
Rendel as an anti-hero looks quite threatening in his sinister-looking mask and all-black outfit. He doesn’t have any real “tools of the trade” other than his fists, but you can tell he means business, with even a Predator-esque homage making his name known to his enemies. The silent character is very much the brooding type and it’s only with his interactions with the mystery blonde, who accompanies him, do we get an insight into who he is, that is until his true identity is revealed – something most viewers will guess well before time.
Whilst there’s some clever moments during the 100 minute running time, the majority of the RENDEL: DARK VENGEANCE comes off as confused in how it wishes to deliver an engaging story leaving this viewer switched off. Too many plot threads are unexplored and its mish-mash of genres just doesn’t work, particularly when the film prefers to stray to some very dark places. With a second film in the pipeline, my only hope is that they ditch the comedy element of the movie and just stick to delivering the swift savage beatings that it managed to execute so well.