Plot: A corporation known for vaccine production would seem to be altruistic, but in the case of VALA, that couldn’t be further from the truth. This organization pushes out untested, risky vaccines and uses the public as guinea pigs, regardless of the potential harm or even casualties. VALA is able to flood the market with these vaccines because they’re run like an organized crime syndicate, using whatever means needed to ensure the profits roll in. If an official can be bribed, threatened, or outright killed in the path to the vaccine market, VALA will not hesitate to do so. But while they’ve been able to steamroll all opposition to this point, there is someone who will stand up and take action, a dark hero known as Rendel. Even with a unique set of skills and a bad ass costume, can one man really make a difference against an empire like VALA?
Entertainment Value: Rendel is the first feature-length superhero movie from Finland, a dark and often brutal action movie that should have immense appeal to fans of The Crow or The Punisher. This is a welcome change of pace from the usual Marvel/DC cookie cutter superhero cinema, as we have a hero who is driven to eliminate evil and do so with extreme prejudice. The scope of the law or some kind of heroic moral code don’t mean much to Rendel, who would just as soon drop a car on a villain’s head than take him to prison. After all, he knows the entire system is corrupt, so why not cut out the middleman and serve as executioner himself? The tone is violent and dark, but the movie also knows when to throw in a little humor to defuse the tension a little, which is much needed at times. I appreciated all the action, but Rendel is also able to invest time in the narrative and characters, with competent origin lore and a hero’s quest that feels believable. I am sure some will dislike how dark and violent this is, especially when compared to Marvel’s tween aimed product, but I think there’s plenty of room in the genre for this kind of content. I had a blast with Rendel and if you appreciate dark superhero lore, you shouldn’t miss this one.
No nakedness. This is kind of a shame, as Rendel features some beautiful vixens, but no such luck. There is some sexual content, but it usually centers on violence and shows no real naked flesh. Rendel is a man of violence and that means some bloodshed, some of which is quite brutal. A baseball bat full of nails to the skull is a highlight, but there’s a good amount of crimson from other sources as well. The gun based violence yields more blood as well, but it is often CGI and even in the darker scenes, doesn’t pack the visual punch it should. As for the action, this movie has hard hitting, high impact fights that pop up often, brutal, methodical brawls that are immense fun to watch. This doesn’t have the big scale, epic set pieces like some superhero movies, but it compensates with action that resonates at a bone shaking level. The tone is dark and serious most of the time, but when the sharp humor seeps in, the dialogue can provide some much needed relief and is well handled. Perhaps not a lot of big, quotable or over the top lines, but those wouldn’t suit the material well. As for craziness, the movie never dips into camp or melodrama, but the sheer brutality earns a point.
Overall Insanity: 1/10