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  • Nate Adams

Review: Lifeless action thriller 'Redemption Day' has no redeeming qualities

Courtesy of Vertical Entertainment


Even in 2021, some things never change.

An action flick ironically called “Redemption Day” showcases former “CSI” staple Gary Dourdan playing a poorly written military man in a film that has zero redeeming qualities. Equal parts dull and spineless, this abduction thriller marks the directing debut of Moroccan producer Hicham Hajji who assembles an impressive supporting cast that includes Andy Garcia, Martin Donovan, Ernie Hudson and Serinda Swan. Sadly, the script gives them corny dialogue to chew on with motivation so hollow, it can be cut with a butter knife. The script – penned by Hajji, Sam Chouia, and Lemore Syvan – offers zero thrills for the audiences, low production values, and boring action sequences (you’ll never see a more inanimate on-screen president and buildings that explode with less gusto).

Dourdan is Brad Paxton – which is a great name – a former Marine struggling with PTSD from a mission that went south in Syria. His wife, Kate (Swan) is an archeologist whose made a revolutionary discovery about the origins of human life in the Moroccan desert. Brad encourages her to take the trip and help lead the charge though before you can say “Taken,” she’s kidnapped by ISIS inspired terrorists, one of which is named Jaafar (Samy Naceri). Yes, really.

What entails is an average, run-of-the-mill rescue story where the United States only has 48 hours to deliver a hefty sum of money or else the girl will be slaughtered on live television. But this is Brad Paxton we’re talking about and if anyone can save the day, one with a brain assumes it can only be Brad Paxton! Despite the Liam Neeson meets John Wick hybrid throwing a few punches, most of the action scenes have the conviction of watching someone play video games and the choppy CGI effects were clearly made on a shoestring budget. There’s even a half-baked social commentary about how the government is afraid to act because it might risk upending a lucrative oil deal. This subplot is hardly explained despite opening credits suggesting otherwise and Hajji signals there’s gas in the tank for a sequel. (Jesus weeps).

There’s plenty to dunk on when it comes to this film ranging from one dimensional characters, and a title that makes no sense. My only answer is that it can’t officially be the start of the new year without the first dud and that’s a badge “Redemption Day” proudly earns.

Grade: D-

Redemption Day will open in theaters Friday, January 8th and debuts on Digital and On Demand January 12th 2021.


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