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‘Redemption Day’ review: Action movie with a message

The right mix?

Redemption Day is an action movie that also wants to deliver a strong message. The story follows Marine captain Brad Paxton (Gary Dourdan) whose wife Kate (Serinda Swan) has been kidnapped by terrorists. It is up to Brad to save her, but will economic interests interfere with his attempt? And can the story effectively mix action and drama?

Many action movies deliver fast paced scenes along with a statement. The ones that do it best manage to intertwine the two. This does not necessarily mean equal time, but it does require a well crafted story. Redemption Day has the mix down in its early moments. It goes back and forth between the present and flashbacks that give a sense of the love between Brad and Kate. It is once things kick into high gear that the movie starts to stray.

The movie’s attempts to weave back and forth between action and commentary lack fluidity. The message is easy enough to understand. During the hostage situation, government officials are more concerned with oil. It is a clear indictment on the United States’ involvement in world politics and the true motivation behind world wide ranging decisions.

There is nothing wrong with the sentiment. Redemption Day is not the first movie to be centered around the idea that wars are bad but the people who run them are worse. The main issue here is delivery. The pacing of Redemption Day does not allow the audience to become fully invested in what is happening. A great example is an interaction between Brad and his daughter. An early scene in the film sees her asking if her father is going to take her to school, Brad answers he will everyday. This is obvious foreshadowing. When the inevitable confrontation occurs, Brad’s daughter simply says, “Ok”. There is no familial tension to add to the situation.

The action scenes are familiar but will satisfy adrenaline junkies. Dourdan is great in the role and is a natural action star. Redemption Day wisely keeps the battle scenes simple. By never going over the top, the movie has a more realistic feel. Redemption Day can be a fun action movie. Director Hicham Hajji tries to deliver a story that is more about good guys versus bad guys. Unfortunately, in its attempt to be completely different, it becomes frustratingly stale.

Redemption Day comes to Theaters January 8, 2021 and On Digital and On Demand January 12, 2021.

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