Gary Dourdan leads the war drama Redemption Day from H Films. Directed by Hicham Haji and written by director Sam Chouia, Redemption Day centers on a war hero named Brad Paxton (Gary Dourdan). He has just returned home from his latest tour and hopes to enjoy R&R with his family. When the love of his life and wife Kate (Serinda Swan) is kidnapped and held for ransom by terrorists on assignment in Morocco, it's up to Brad to save her. Before long, he's racing against the clock to rescue her in a daring and deadly operation that pits him against the most powerful and shadowy forces.
I've been a fan of Gary Dourdan going back to his days on A Different World. His trouble asides, Dourdan has always possessed natural leading man charm, so I went into the film with an open mind. The film begins with a quote by J. Paul Getty, then does a smooth transition for Dourdan's character while utilizing subjective camera angles. Dourdan's character of Brad is well-liked and eschews good leader traits. Shortly after that, Dourdan wakes up in a sweat displaying PTSD, and we realize that the beginning was actually a flashback.
I enjoyed the beginning of the film and seeing the actor interact with his wife, Kate (Serinda Swan), and his father, played by Ernie Hudson. I loved the chemistry that Hudson and Dourdan displayed in the TV series, The Family Business, where they portrayed an uncle and his nephew. Sadly, after some impressive scenes that cross-cut Brad's time in the war and at home, the film destroys any of its earlier promises. Martin Donovan and Andy Garcia show up as the Section Chief and Ambassador in acting jobs that scream we are only here for a paycheck. Redemption Day is also light on the action and more interested in politics than heroics.
Furthermore, the film's villains are stereotypical, and the motivation for their heinous crimes is something we've seen before. Perhaps if the film had set its plot in the US and in the vein of a cheap Die Hard, I would recommend it. With terrible production values and a script that wastes the talented Gary Dourdan, Redemption Day is an early contender for my worst of 2021.
Final Grade D-
Redemption Day is available for rent and purchase