Revenge is a dish best served cold, and through the long nights of Mikkeli in the south-east of Finland it can be very cold indeed as a masked avenger wages a one-man war against the organised gangs behind VALA Chemicals, distributing the NH25 vaccine to the third world for vast profit despite questions over its safety and the legality of the import licences.
Any dissent from within the marginally white supermacist organisation or resistance without dealt with conclusively by CEO Pekka Erola (Matti Onnismaa), he has granted broad latitude to his son “Rotikka” (Rami Rusinen), blessed with anger management issues greater than his limited practical skills and holding his position by default of his bloodline, taking his frustrations out on those who cross him with trigger-happy abandon.
The fly in the curdled ointment is the man known as Rendel (Kris Gummerus), also possessed of a bad attitude and a heavy stick with which he wades into Rotikka’s operation, cutting down his henchmen, carving his initials into their bodies and stringing them from the rafters of the warehouse where the vaccine is held.
The name of the game is last man standing, and despite Rendel operating with only the encouragement of his ethereal muse Marla (Alina Tomnikov) while Rotikka has a veritable army headed by his tattooed right-hand thug Lahtaaja (Renne Korppila) it is they who are falling faster, forcing Rotikka to bring in outside contractor Radek (Johnny Vivash) and his team, among them It Came from the Desert‘s Michael Majalahti and Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead‘s Bianca Bradey.
Directed by Jesse Haaja from a script by Pekka Lehtosaari, Miika J Norvanto and Timo Puustinen based on a character created by Haaja, Rendel is not shy or subtle about the level of violence which unfolds, the character perhaps dressing like Daredevil but with an unforgiving attitude which is all Punisher, and ultimately the film is little more than a sequence of well-executed fight sequences.
Rendel teutonic to the point of monosyllabic, if the opportunity to save a bystander arises he may take it but it is far from his priority, so it falls on Rusinen’s bearded and bad-tempered Rotikka to carry the film, constantly misjudging situations and becoming exasperated with the unintended consequences of his poorly worded orders to his men.
The narrative told out of sequence, had it been presented chronologically it would have made it unavoidable how simplistic and derivative Rendel is, and truly there is nothing unexpected or original presented in the endless grubby warehouse fist-fights, but it is slickly produced and, while not as fantastical as Russia’s Guardians, it is refreshing to see a superhero film through a prism other than that of the American worldview.
With an unnamed sequel already in production, it seems Rendel’s work washing the streets of Finland with the blood of his adversaries is not yet over, though it is to be hoped the next nocturnal encounter will be more ambitious if he is to stand out in the crowded marketplace.