Riders of Justice is a darkly comic revenge drama that comes with a signature brand of Danish snark. The direction from Anders Thomas Jensen is sleek and sharp. As a huge fan of Mads Mikkelsen myself, I loved the ferocity and methodic precision he brings to his character, Markus. A shocking narrative curveball in the latter half left me both stunned and excited for how it would conclude.
A massive train explosion leaves a death toll at 11, with many more injured. Among those involved: a person set to testify against the Riders of Justice; a spunky statistician Otto (Nikolaj Lie Kaas); and Markus’s wife and daughter Mathilde (Andrea Heick Gadeberg). The wife dies, leaving Mathilde distressed and upset. She searches for answers as to why her mom died while Markus deals with her death by… not dealing with it. He refuses to see a therapist with Mathilde, and only finds purpose when Otto and his pals approach Markus with an interesting theory. The explosion was no accident, but rather a move to protect the Riders of Justice. “The numbers never lie,” according to Otto. The group cooks up a plan seek vengeance for their fallen friends, and make those responsible pay with their lives.
Riders of Justice gets progressively better the deeper we dive into the mystery of the narrative. The action and violence is sparing, but Anders Thomas Jensen makes every spurt of blood count. When the violence occurs, it’s always brutal and intense. An epic shootout finale is the signature moment of the film—it’s an extremely satisfying final act where every bit of character work pays off. The ensemble cast is terrific, with Mads Mikkelsen giving a powerful, emotional performance. I loved to see his interactions with Markus’s very quirky team (Otto running into a field and bending over with his bare ass out was a tad jarring), and his defensive love of Mathilde. It dabbles in loss and grief while never stewing in their sadness. Riders of Justice is jet-black dark comedy and thrilling action mystery, with a sprinkle of realism.
Riders of Justice comes gun blazing to limited theaters on May 14th, before aiming for wide release on May 21.