Rendel: Dark Vengeance (film review).

I was offered a choice of pre-release viewings of this Finnish comic-book action film. I chose to watch it in Finnish with English sub-titles as I thought it might add to the ambience of the film. I’m glad I did as it does but don’t worry if sub-titles aren’t your thing as there is an English language version, too.

Chris Gummerus stars in this rather violent film set in one of Finland’s bigger cities. Basically, you have a corrupt international firm VALA exporting dubious medical vaccines to Africa. These exports might also be a cover for more illegal activities. Either way, VALA management have bribed, killed or threatened anyone who might oppose the exports.

While the boss man Erola (Matti Onnismaa) is a ruthless criminal in his own right, it’s his wayward son Rotikka (Rami Rusinen) who takes the award for mindless violence. Mind you it is a close-run thing as his chief henchman Lahtaaja (Renne Korppila) isn’t one to miss out on a bit of fun.

Rendel: Dark Vengeance (film review).
Rendel: Dark Vengeance (film review).

When one man does stand up to them his whole life, including his job and family, is taken away from him. But there is a problem, they didn’t kill him. They thought they had but they didn’t and our survivor becomes Rendel. He doesn’t appear to have any super-powers but is quite capable on going on a killing spree which, of course, he does. While not super-powered, Rendel does seem to be capable of absorbing an awful lot of punishment in the way of gunshots, stabbings and beatings. A quick rest and he’s as good as new.

The cinematography and acting are first rate and one thing I did like about the film was the lack of over-the-top CGI effects. There are a few but director Jesse Haaja gets most of the dramatic effects with the choice of location and some rather good camera work. There are a few and I do mean a few, comedic moments which seem to be a bit out of place amongst all the violence.

There’s a couple of things here which are preventing me from producing a long in-depth review. Firstly, the plot isn’t complex so any notable events I pick out will be plot spoilers. So there’s not much of the plot I can discuss. Secondly, there isn’t much depth to the Rendel character. There’s no real explanation of how he went from a mild-mannered office worker to a deadly killer, skilled in martial arts. After watching the film, we know why he became Rendel but not how.

At the end of the day, this is a vigilante movie with lots of fighting and a limited plot. It’s not going to tax your brain-cells unless you start nit-picking and there are quite a number of areas which won’t bare even a cursory inspection. It’s the type of film you can enjoy while watching it and then pick it to pieces afterwards. Things like;when did the car get winched up into the roof? How does Rendel eat? Does he need to eat? How does his jacket survive?

It’s still worth watching, though, especially if you want a change to the slick CGI big budget stuff Hollywood keeps producing. It is available on DVD and Blu-ray from but be careful when ordering as it seems to be available in different languages and in different regions. There is also a two disk Directors Version available should you be so inclined.

Andy Whitaker

February 2019

(region 2 DVD: pub: Universal Pictures UK, 2019. 101 minute film. Language: English. Sub-titles: Finnish. Price: £ 7.00 (UK). ASIN: B07LCQ5Y3C)

cast: Chris Gummerus, Matti Onnismaa, Rami Rusinen and, Renne Korppila

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I live in deepest darkest Essex where I enjoy photography, real ales, walking my dog, cooking and a really good book. I own an e-book reader which goes with me everywhere but still enjoy the traditional paper based varieties. My oriental studies have earned me a black belt in Suduko and I'm considered a master in deadly Bonsai (there are very few survivors).

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