Anyone familiar with the brutal martial showdowns of Indonesian thriller “The Raid: Redemption
” and its sequel will go into “Apostle
” expecting the wrong movie. In this gnarly occult thriller set on an island full of devious people in 1902, writer-director Gareth Evans
thriller trades the intensity of hand-to-hand combat for a ludicrous mishmash of gore, espionage, estranged family dynamics, and half-formed supernatural conceits. At over two hours, Evans demonstrates a formidable commitment to seeing this unseemly formula through, with the sort of mixed results of a visionary filmmaker launching into unwieldy terrain. The visceral intensity is there, delivered in shocking bursts of sudden twists not unlike the jarring fisticuffs that dominated “The Raid
,” but it tends to dangle with a grotesque emptiness at odds with the material.
At first, “Apostle
” sets the stage for a daring rescue mission. Thomas Richardson, the estranged son of a wealthy British family, gets recruited