Redemption Day (2021)
Directed by: Hicham Hajji | 98 minutes | action, thriller | Actors: Gary Dourdan, Serinda Swan, Andy Garcia, Brice Bexter, Ernie Hudson, Martin Donovan, Robert Knepper, Samy Naceri, Don Bigg, Jay Footlik, Lilia Hajji, Mehdi Ouazzani, Brahim Rachiki, Karim Saidi, Joe Drago, Hayet Belhalloufi, Soumaya Akaaboune
When the (once-so-serious) character actor Liam Neeson was cast in an action movie, Hollywood watched breathlessly as “Taken” became a success. This film became a blockbuster and introduced Neeson to a new audience. It did the Irish no harm. In addition, the film inspired countless other actors to do the same trick again. Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Garner and Sean Penn decided to follow in Neeson’s footsteps and also watch unadulterated fight movies. A formula for success was born! TV star Gary ‘CSI’ Dourdan also wanted to appear in the picture as a pumped-up fighting jacket. Enter ‘Redemption Day’.
‘Redemption Day’ revolves around Brad Paxton (Dourdan). This soldier received the Medal Of Honor for his heroic actions against ISIS. The fights against these terrorists have left their mark on the American. To overcome his traumas, Paxton decides to establish a peaceful civilian life with his wife. But then Mrs. Paxton is offered to travel to Morocco, because an important archaeological find has been made there. The archaeologist is supported by her husband. After some time, the soldier hears that his wife has been kidnapped. Time to find her again!
The tagline of ‘Redemption Day’ is “Taking his wife was their last mistake.” That one-liner sums up the entire film. Dourdan presents himself as a one-man army and single-handedly puts an end to a terrorist cell. That sounds ridiculous and that’s a good starting point for an action movie. Unfortunately, it remains a good idea, because the execution of this film is not good. The action scenes are blurred (which has to do with the unimaginative choreography), the acting is pathetic and the story is needlessly stretched by pointless flashbacks.
To evoke a hint of drama, much attention is paid to Paxton’s traumas (which are told through flashbacks). This results in, among other things, a pointless shower scene in which Dourdan looks at the shower drain while running water runs down his head. He also wakes up sweating and shoots up after having a nightmare. These kind of cheap tricks no longer make any impression and can be seen in every action movie. Such chewed-up clichés take the momentum out of the film.
Because of the muddled editing, the uninspired acting and the slow story flow, ‘Redemption Day’ gets bogged down in a boring performance. With a stronger script, better action scenes and less melodrama, this movie could have entertained some people. In this form a downright dull fight film with unclear fights remains. Ouch…