Dennis Quaid has so much ripsnorting charisma that it’s intriguing — or, maybe, perverse — to cast him as a grim-lipped American mercenary fighting on the side of the Bosnian Serbs in 1993. Quaid’s hard-hearted, machine-gun-toting desperado lost his wife and son in a terrorist bombing and now participates in state-sanctioned murder as a way of acting out his vengeance upon the world. All of this changes after he saves the life of a young Serbian woman (Natasa Ninkovic) who has been made pregnant by a soldier’s rape. When she gives birth, Quaid becomes the infant’s protector. A glumly meandering road movie, Savior includes one terrifying sequence (a uniformed brute executes random Muslims by pounding them with an obscenely large wooden hammer), but apart from that it evokes little of the chaos and terror — the moral quicksand — of the Bosnian apocalypse. The film has just one mood: spare, dour, inert. Quaid, though, takes his character’s oh-so-movieish redemption and makes it real — a lifeline back to civilization. C

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