Quick Thoughts: Sensei Redenshon (2013)
Made by German Gruber Jr, this is the Curaçaoan film of the series.
Sensei Redenshon is not a terrible movie, it could have been a lot worse, but, for what it is, it’s merely mediocre. This follows a fighter who accidentally killed a man during an underground fight and was imprisoned for 10 years, leaving behind his son. A decade later when he is released, he tries to reconcile with his son, but he has followed in his footsteps to become an underground fighter like his father. Much trouble ensues when bad blood resurfaces, putting us on the track of the average martial arts movie plot.
If the action scenes in Sensei Redenshon were more than a few notches above completely amateur, then this film would have been engaging. However, the poor stunt work and direction do not create much verisimilitude and fail to create any sense of tension, grit or weight. The action scenes are then slow, unimaginative and entirely unengaging. Bloating out the run time is the mentioned father-son conflict – which there is very little to note about. And this leaves much of this narrative an amalgamation of empty plot beats, strengthened only by some brilliant cinematography and landscape shots. All of the genre elements are clichés that imply the director-writer-producer has spent too much (or not enough) time watching martial arts movies. If Gruber was to watch any movie, he should have seen Rust & Bone. This, too, is a martial arts movie of sorts that features relationship problems intertwining with fight scenes. However, there is no attempt in Rust & Bone to capture the spectacle of a martial arts film like there is in Sensei Redenshon; if there was, I think this film wouldn’t have worked. The direction around the action scenes of Rust & Bone is primarily concerned with the emotional meaning of a fight, and so all comes back to the central drama. If Sensei Redenshon’s narrative chose to focus on either the drama or the action through the script and direction, then this could have been a much better film. In such, if this was cut down to 70 minutes and the action scenes were all that mattered, this could have been good fun. Conversely, if the fight scenes were all side-notes and the characters were what really mattered, maybe something more meaningful could have emerged from this.
All in all, I spent more time waiting for Sensei Redenshon to be over than anything else. Again, this is not a terrible movie, it simply lacks character, substance, heart, originality, vibrancy, voice and punch.
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