Posted by Ken Spivey
I am normally a fan of low budget films where the acting is sophomoric, the sets are made of cardboard, and the script could have been written by the C student in a high school creative writing class. These “so bad they’re good” movies include “Recon 2020,” “Jesus Christ, Vampire Hunter,” and my former drummer’s favorite, “Piñata: Survival Island.” “Redemption” is not even worthy to be listed with the aforementioned films. To quote Enid from Terry Zwigoff’s “Ghost World,” this film “went past bad to good then back to bad again.”
“Redemption” is the story of a ruthless bounty hunter/priest, known as “The Apostle,” who is asked to hunt down a man who has wronged another. He dons his guns, some priestly garb, and a lawman’s hat, then places a large cross around his neck (which looks identical to the brass cross available at the Dollar General down the road from me) and heads out looking to punish the sinners of the world. Along the way he lays a very good guilt trip upon an unemployed man and a Native American to help him on his travels. At the same time this is happening, an outlaw named Frank Harden falls for a prostitute named Sally and shoots people for reasons that are rarely explained. The filmmakers never make it clear whether or not Harden is the man who The Apostle is looking for, but it can be assumed since Harden is shot by The Apostle in the final scene. Yet no other shooting in the film made any sense, so this may be wishful thinking.
The story felt like the writer had two completely separate story arcs that didn’t quite make sense and decided they might work if they overlaid the two. It didn’t. After watching this movie three times, I still had no idea what was going on most of the time. No amount of nudity, graphic violence, gratuitous cursing, or pathetically shallow religious metaphors could save this movie, although, it had a disturbingly fantastic sound track.
At the end of the movie, the Native American sidekick points out to The Apostle the hypocrisy of his ways. Then, the film cuts to the prostitute Sally laying the Dollar General Store cross on the grave of her lost love. She should have also included in this grave a DVD copy of “Redemption”.