Red Cloud: Deliverance (2012) – By Misty Layne

You wouldn’t know by looking at me because I’m so pale I’m practically translucent but I am Native American. I’m Cherokee (Echota Tribe) and Creek. I’m have enough Native American blood that I have a card and as a child I participated in Indian class where those of us who were part Native American learned about our heritage and culture. Why am I telling you this? Because Red Cloud: Deliverance presents the story of the Native American mercenary Jake Red Cloud leaping off of the pages of the "Red Cloud" comic book which is based on the Native American spiritual warrior traditions (Quechua/Sioux). The director and executive producer, Sioux Cloud, is a member of the Lakota tribe in South Dakota, the other writer and lead actor Alex Kruz is of Ecuadorian decent (mixed Native American-Quechua, Italian, and Spanish), the music video director Hezues R. who worked on some of the principal scenes and creative portions is also of mixed South American decent while the movie and comic book were produced by donations from several good hearted people of Native decent and penned by Native American female artist Nikkol Jelenic. So basically I was super excited to see this and it didn’t disappoint.

Jake Red Cloud answers an ad for a room and meets Jeannine Parker and her young daughter, Ann. Jeannine, a woman who could give Dina Lohan a run for her money in the bad parenting department, is an alcoholic, chain smoker who ignores her daughter in favor of a string of men who, frankly, are just skeezy. At first Jake stays to himself and it’s only when we learn of his tragic past via flashback that we understand why but eventually he warms up to Ann (played by Breanna Lakatos, who did a phenomenal job in her heartbreaking portrayal). Unfortunately, Jeannine also warms up to him after he handles a situation with one of her roughneck suitors. Jake wants nothing to do with Jeannine (who is heartbreaking in her own way because it seems that something so clearly went wrong in her life and she seems so tragically unhappy) and Jeannine is angered by his rejection. But then Jake’s past catches up with him in the form of yakuza (members of traditional organized crime syndicates in Japan, basically the Japanese mafia) and everything goes to hell.

While it ended rather abruptly, Red Cloud: Deliverance is an amazing film with just the right touch of everything from heartwarming to heartrending. I was confused at first at the appearance of the yakuza but then absolutely delighted – 1) because I’m a fan of Japanese cinema and 2) because I love the mix of cultures happening in this film. It was just somewhat unexpected. Jake is definitely a great hero type, with the perfect combination of stoicism and vulnerability, and the actor portraying him (Alex Kruz) does a wonderful job (the fact that he is one of the writers and aspects of Jake were based off him and his life certainly doesn’t hurt). Jen Waite, who plays Jeannine, seemed wooden at times but after a while I came to the conclusion that it was more of an acting choice meant to further embody the character’s numbness and disillusion with life.

Red Cloud: Deliverance is a film that I highly recommend. If you’re interested in learning more about Jake Red Cloud, a small trailer for the movie will be released within a week or two with Breanna Lakatos speaking while showing some clips from the movie, along with appearances at Comic Con NY this year by Alex Kruz as Red Cloud promoting the comic book on behalf of Somaly Mam Foundation. You can also learn more on IMDB.