Directed by Jesse Haaja.
Starring Kristofer Gummerus, Rami Rusinen, Rene Korppila, and Johnny Vivash.
A pharmaceutical company introduces a new untested vaccine into a sick city. It has devastating consequences for many, including a mysterious costumed character out for revenge.
Rendel is the the first superhero movie made in Finland. This is a valuable distinction to have, for sure. It’s just a shame that it’s not a better movie.
Taking cliche to whole new levels and putting in random sickening violence when all else fails, plus an unwieldy plot that could have been presented in a far more effective manner, Rendel is a disjointed, gross mess.
The story such as it is goes a little something like this. A global pharma business called VALA launches a new vaccine to serve a sick – in all senses – city and land. The group effectively shuts down any opposition to its activities, and bribes, steals and intimidates at will. Crossing paths with scientists who fear the effects of putting the drug out, they kill and torture in the most graphic of ways.
A combination of revenge thriller and anti-hero/superhero origin story, Rendel is full of violent scenes, and fight sequences. The titular anti-hero is on a mission to avenge his family who have been horribly murdered by the shady corporate types, who are keen to destroy opposition to their wonder drug, designed to control a plague ridden city.
It takes near enough an hour before Rendel’s identity as an unfortunate scientist is revealed. The origin story is told in jerky flashback. The antidote, is actually what forms Rendel’s rock-hard practically impenetrable superhero suit. It’s a material that sticks to the skin like glue and makes him, extremely hard to kill.
Ironically for a film built on violent action sequences – and little else, to be fair – it’s tortuously slow to get anywhere. The character of Rendel doesn’t help much. He’s mute under the suit, a silent avenger. Even with the horrible violence witnessed by this character, it’s difficult to feel much about it. The story just gets lost and diverted, drifting along with little impetus.
There is a full on hit of orchestral music every time something supposedly dramatic goes on that attempts to stir up the emotions, but just sounds odd with such a poorly drawn up range of characters and motivations. Comic book in the most superficial of senses, the script was apparently completely worked over at least once. However, it certainly didn’t help much.
There is even a shot of Rendel looking down on the city imperiously from a tower top, with the moon in the night-sky. Obviously trying to evoke a little bit of the grandeur of classic superhero films too numerous to mention…OK, Batman… the shot really shows up the roughly developed film for what it is. A badly executed and crude cartoon of an idea, that falls way short of the mark.
Rendel is out on DVD and Digital on February 25th
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★
Robert W Monk is a freelance journalist and film writer.