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RENDEL (2017)

Rendel is a Finnish film about mild-mannered family man, Rämö (Kris Gummerus) who after going to work for the wrong people and seeing the wrong information, finds his family murdered and he left for dead. Now Rämö transforms into the masked vigilante Rendel, who sets himself on a path of bloody revenge against crime boss, Mr. Erola (Matti Onnismaa) and his cruel son, Rotikka (Rami Rusinen).

Jesse Haaja’s film tries to carry a Batman-ish superhero vibe, but it’s hard to view Rendel as an outright “hero” when his revenge is so brutal, bloody and deadly. He is more leather clad Michael Myers than Bruce Wayne. Nobel as his reasons may be, he is more straight-up vigilante even with the mask, which is permanently attached to his face…begging the question how does he eat, drink or breathe. There are some intense and bloody fight scenes and Tero Saikkonen’s cinematography does make a modestly budgeted film look very good. Running Rämö’s story-line alongside Rendel’s revenge story-line is a bit distracting till an hour in and we find we are seeing Rendel’s origin and not a sub-plot, but, once that is clear, it works in retrospect. It also works having one of Rendel’s daughter’s favorite characters of folk-lore acting as a second personality/guide inside his head. It was a nice and original touch. Aside from a throwaway line about a possible military background, it is also curious that the mild-mannered Rämö has become such a skilled fighter as Rendel, but it is a comic book style movie after all. Director/writer Haaja has given the film some nice atmosphere, has a solid visual style and the fight scenes and filmmaker’s effort do make it worth a watch. Also stars Wyrmwood’s Bianca Bradey as sexy, bad-ass killer, Stacey and is titled Rendel: Dark Vengeance here in the U.S.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating