In The Retaliators, Directors Samuel Gonzalez Jr, Michael Lombardi (who also stars), and Bridget Smith paint a world consumed with hatred, where all the characters are intoxified by fear, rage, and an array of negative emotions.
Its one bastion of hope comes in the form of the local pastor (Lombardi), a man who is continuously put to the test throughout the film to push his character to the limits of his saintly demeanour.
His world already squashed in this unforgiving landscape, living as a single parent, raising two daughters and hanging onto lifes thin line, becomes further frayed when his eldest daughter, Sarah (Katie Kelly) is brutally killed by one of humanity’s epitome of sin, Ram Kady (Joseph Gatt).
As the trailer teases, what would you do when posed with the option to spend one minute with your daughters’ killer? How far across the line of transgression would you be willing to take yourself in the name of vengeance? And how will this affect your own character or sense of morale, when you do choose to take this path? Our pastor is presented with just this kind of opportunity by brow-beaten and world-weary detective Jed (Marc Menchaca) and with it a wake of carnage and mayhem ensues.
Despite its vengeful premise, The Retaliators is a pot-boiler of a movie, allowing time for our protagonist to go through the wringer of emotions, building up his character in a tormented world before unleashing his full fury at this demented place. Quite rightfully, this allows the audience to seep into the purification of the setting and forces us to identify with the protagonist’s plight before embellishing in the justification of his actions. The turmoil is angst-ridden and repeatedly questions the merits of a good man, one who is without sin, when choosing to cast the first sinful stone in the name of revenge. Is the ‘Eye for an eye’ token grounds for vindication when the world is filled with sin and the deprecation of sinners?
This is a great conundrum to set the tone of the film, and when the fury is unleashed, the audience (who in no doubt have come to witness the carnage) are gifted with their own cathartic release. It helps that the soundtrack is seriously kick ass, fueling all these emotions in a bottleneck of rock from the genre’s key players.
- Saul Muerte
The Retaliators is screening in cinemas nationally on the 14th and 16th September 2022 with a streaming release from the 21st October 2022.