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DVD Review

DVD cover



Starring: Kris Gummerus, Matti Onnismaa, Rami Rusinen and Renne Korppila
Distributor: 4Digital Media
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 25 February 2019

I guess that every country would like to have their own superhero, not just because of the American success with the genre, but also because these stories have become the new myths and heroes of the twenty-first century.

At points they may replace the altruistic Robin Hood, but they have more in common with Japanese Samurai and Ronin stories, another country with a strong history of lone hero’s standing up against power and evil. Russia also entered the market with the film, Guardians (2017), which was truly terrible.

Rendel (2017. 1 hr. 41 min 06 sec) is Finland’s contribution to the superhero genre. The film was directed by Jesse Haaja, who also created the character.

Unlike Guardians, Rendel is a much smaller film having about the fifth of Guardians's budget and one two hundredth of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, which also came out in the same year, so you’re not looking at a big budget CGI fest.

The story is far from original. Rämö (Kris Gummerus) falls foul of a shadowy corporation, or does he? This leads to the murder of his family.

One of the problems with the film is that all the printed material is in Finish, which I cannot read. The best you can get is that the corporation is shipping out a vaccine and when Rämö gains access to the files, he discovers something truly awful, if you read Finish you might like to let me know what the hell he was reading. Not one single character in the film mentions what is wrong with the vaccine which leaves an English audience completely in the dark.

The other big problem with the film is that it is out of sequence. The shots which should be flashbacks to what happened to Rämö and his family take half the film's run time to get to the point. Like all good superhero films, his family are killed because of his actions. The main problem is that none of the characters look significantly different between the present and the past, which gives the impression that you’re not watching flashbacks at all. This leads to a highly disjointed and confusing narrative.

Even following his transformation, Rendel is not the greatest fighter, a sort of less competent Punisher. The film also introduces a sidekick with no name or explanation, though the reveal of who she is becomes one of the more satisfying aspects of the film.

There is some nice humour in the film which works well, even in English. The film is partially in English and Dubbed English. I got a screener which had a good quality print, but no extras, or even a menu.

On a budget of only just over a million Euros the film was never going to match the might of the Marvel or DC films, but it was better than the Russian film, Guardians. Its biggest problem, apart from clarity and not handling the flashbacks well, is that there are truly no original ideas on show.


Charles Packer

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