Riders of Justice

Mads Mikkelsen kills it as a man battling bad guys and his emotions.

Fresh off his success with the Oscar-winning “Another Round,” Mads Mikkelsen has released a new movie out called “Riders of Justice.” It wasn’t directed by the same man behind that masterpiece, Thomas Vinterberg, but rather another collaborator of Mikkelsen named Anders Thomas Jensen. It’s a Danish black comedy that’s emotionally complex and wickedly funny; but it also has the styles and charisma of an action comedy. I’m talking about a smart one with real ambition, not a dumb American one.

This time, Mikkelsen plays a military man named Markus, who comes home to take care of his daughter Mathilde (Andrea Heick Gadesberg), after her mother gets killed in a train accident. But was it an accident? The algorithms professor Otto (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) doesn’t think so, because he is a survivor of the accident, and he knows that a former member of a biker gang, known as the Riders of Justice, was supposed to testify against his leader Kurt “Tandem” Olesen (Roland Møller).

So, Otto has his assistant Lennart (Lars Brygmann) and his computer hacker Emmenthaler (Nicolas Bro) dig up some dirt, and find info about a man before the scene of the crime. He would happen to be a train electrical engineer named Palle Olesen (Omar Shargawi), who is the brother of the leader. They all inform Markus, while he’s in the middle of trying to raise his daughter, who hasn’t seen him much because of his duty in the service. When they go to his house, the bad guy threatens them with a gun, and Markus kills him. But when the leader is acquitted of all charges, that’s when Markus (with his army skills) and his comrades plan their revenge against the Riders of Justice, while they pose as his psychiatrists in front of Mathilde.

The real emotions of “Riders of Justice” regard the chemistry between Markus and Mathilde. The father develops psychiatric problems, while the daughter tells him he needs help, and even the three men agree about his issues. The loss of a loved one can result in emotional turmoil, as this movie presents it, so it’s easy to acknowledge the reality presented here. Mikkelsen is explosively entertaining in that role, while Gadesberg does some impressive work as the girl. The comic relief and honest support is provided by Kaas, Brygmann, and Bro, who all deliver their characters on strong notions. And Møller’s villain has an awesome and hilarious way if handling his victims, which I won’t spoil for you. We’re more interested in these characters, then some other supporting characters.

It’s deep in its narrative as we see the direction the main protagonist is heading, as well as the connection he earns with Otto, who also provides meaning in his character. I won’t take about Mikkelsen’s crappy American movie “Chaos Walking,” because I would rather share a comparison between “Another Round” and “Riders of Justice.” They may work on different genres, but they both give Mikkelsen’s protagonists with personalities, empathy, and gripping intentions; and they’re entertaining for standing on their own. This movie is lively, original, fun, and sharp; and there’s no need for an American remake.

Rating: 3.5 out of 4.

In Select Theaters This Friday

On Demand Next Week

Categories: Action, comedy, Drama, Foreign

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