22nd Jan2021

‘Redemption Day’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Gary Dourdan, Serinda Swan, Andy Garcia, Brice Bexter, Ernie Hudson, Martin Donovan, Robert Knepper, Samy Naceri, Don B Gig, Joey Footlik, Lilia Hajji, Joe Drago | Written by Sam Chouia, Hicham Hajji, Lemore Syvan | Directed by Hicham Hajji

When the love of his life is kidnapped and held for ransom by terrorists, war hero Brad Paxton (Gary Dourdan) races against the clock to rescue her in a daring and deadly operation that pits him against terrorists and clandestine powerful forces.

Yes, you’ve guessed it. Redemption Day is Taken in the desert… Well it would be if this film actually featured more than 10 minutes of action in its entire running time! For Redemption Day does that most heinous of crimes – be an action movie with no action.

Of course many will say this ISN’T an action movie, more a political drama about the current tension in the Middle East – throwing in Isis, a bizarre diatribe about how war is driven by oil (something which beyond the opening crawl is not really touched upon for the ret of the film), and the conflict between Algeria and Morocco… Yeah I didn’t know the last one existed until this film but given that director and co-writer Hicham Hajji is Moroccan I’m guessing it’s was a passion for him to try and convey this never touched upon fact.

If this isn’t an action movie then I’m not sure anyone told lead actor Gary Dourdan; who walks through this film like a total badass, ready to kick ass at a moments notice. Only he doesn’t get the chance really. Instead he’s subjected to reacting to bizarre flashbacks about his time in Afghanistan, Syria, wherever (its not made entirely clear other than he has PTSD from fighting in a Middle Eastern conflict). He ably assisted by a fantastic performance from relative newcomer Brice Bexter, who plays Younes, Paxton’s contact/support on this unsanctioned mission.

Unfortunately for Redemption Day the aforementioned flashbacks slow the pace of the film down considerably, so much so that it becomes a slog to sit through this film – especially when coupled with the fact there’s little to no action until the final moments of the film and the actual rescue mission. By which time many, like me, will have lost interest… Which is also undoubtedly why the filmmakers tacked on a ridiculous ending that undermines everything we’ve seen Dourdan do, yet fuels the political machinations that underpin the entire film. And will no doubt excite conspiracy fans everywhere!

Redemption Day is out in the US now.

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