Let’s finally watch a film released in 2019.
If this film is any predictor, 2019 is going to be a long and awful year.
Revenger is another Netflix film, which still indicates a mixed bag. Honestly, the good Netflix films seem to be a bit more of an exception than a norm. Critical darlings are present, but there is a lot of crap to sift through.
Revenger should have been at least an entertaining film. We follow a mostly mute Bruce Kahn, who plays a mostly unnamed cop who is avenging his mostly unseen family in a mostly uninteresting film.
All criminals on death row are sent to an island, where they are forced to fight for survival. There appears to be only two groups, the idiots and the villains. Our hero rescues an idiot kid and helps her idiot mom back to their idiot hideout. Instead of any sort of thanks, the idiot group begins dancing and singing in a threatening manner, and seems to want to fight the cop. I wish I was kidding…
You’ll notice I am not naming the characters. This is for two reasons: I can’t remember them and IMDB doesn’t even list them. I’m not sure we even get names for roughly 70% of the characters, and yet the film wants us to like them?
What should have been a movie about a badass delivering justice with his fists becomes an exercise in annoyance. Lengthy, repetitious, and painful scenes of supposed humor overtake the film. It is nearly 45-minutes in before we get our first proper brawl, and by then it is too late to recover. The villain (who I think was named Kuhn) doesn’t seem imposing, and we really only see him sit around and allow his henchmen to do the work. Sure, he is a brutal crime lord, but how does that distinguish him from everyone else on the island who is also a killer?
The film feels trapped in a concept that it didn’t know what to do with. We get weird villains who only seem to be important because their hair and skin is cleaner than the rest. The hierarchy, rational, and conflict are all elusive. Likewise, our heroes (the idiots) are the closest I have seen to an objectively unlikable group in film. Once the two groups battle, it is hard to care at all.
The choreography is fine, and I would say there are three proper fight scenes. They are all fine, but the film doesn’t know how to pace things, so when the second and third arrive (almost back-to-back) I was ready to do something else.
The stupidity of the characters is so painful that I honestly considered turning it off (something I haven’t done in years—hence the Monsturd review). The film isn’t even capable of being something to make fun of, it is just bad. Listening to a group of men sing-song a child’s voice while cowering about 30-fucking-times in a row isn’t funny, cute, or creative.
Revenger is a horrific failure of narrative on just about every front. There are dozens of better martial arts films out there. This one should be avoided at all costs.