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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jul 4, 2021



‘RIDERS OF JUSTICE’ is a 2020 Danish movie with English subtitles. It’s the first movie of top Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen after his last one, “Another Round”, won the best foreign language film in the last Oscar rites. 

He plays Markus, a soldier assigned in Afghanistan who is ordered to return home after his wife suddenly died in a train accident. 

He now has to take care of his teenage daughter, Mathilde (Andrea Gadeberg.) 

But their relationship is strained as they’re having a hard time coping with the tragic death of their loved one. Mathilde asks her dad to undergo grief therapy but he rejects the idea. 

A data analyst who survived the train mishap, Otto (Nikolaj Kaas), meets with Markus and shows him that foul play is involved. 

What happened is actually part of a plan to assassinate a train passenger who is about testify against a motorcycle gang known as the Riders of Justice, which gives the movie its title. His wife has become mere collateral damage. 

Markus is convinced and forms a team with Otto and his friends Lennart (Lars Brygmann) and Emmentahler (Nicolas Bro) and investigate further. 

Otto and his friends believe they have a reliable algorithm that can foresee future events that people often perceived as mere coincidences. 

Markus tells them to get all the evidence they might find against the Riders of Justice as he plans to take revenge on them for what they did to his wife. 

What follows is a series of comedy of errors leaving a trail of blood and stupid mistakes. 

If you’re a fan of black comedy, you might enjoy this, specially the shenanigans of Markus’ friends who are veritable eggheads who sound so profound when they talk about the affinity between causality and chance. 

This movie is book ended by scenes showing a Santa Claus looking guy and his granddaughter who wants a red bicycle for Christmas. 

Mathilde has a red bike and it’s stolen to be given to the granddaughter of Santa Claus. This is the reason why she had to take the train with her mom and it was that fateful train ride which triggered the events that followed in the movie. 

It’s the kind of black comedy we often find in the movies of the Coen Brothers like “Fargo”. 

But this film’s tone is so uneven, with unchecked anger issues of the grieving Markus, who wants vengeance, often clashing with the preoccupation of his ludicrous friends in trying to prove there is no chance or destiny. 

The film comes out as an action movie (because of Mikkelsen’s presence), mixed with foolish black comedy. 

Mikkelsen here is very serious and frighteningly on the edge while his co-stars and the characters they play are daffy and silly in their search for meaning in a world where things happen at random, thus actually causing the violent situations that they eventually find themselves involved in. 

The director, Anders Thomas Jensen, just does not seem to know how to make the opposing elements more cohesive. 

The way the narrative is told, the outcome is very different and things don’t really fall into place, so we lose interest along the way due to the sloppy storytelling. 

Honestly, we didn’t find it entertaining at all.