- User Rating: Excellent
Bang For The Buck
Pros:Suprisingly entertaining for a foreign language action flick!
Cons:some of the movie's sequences were predictable.
The Bottom Line: THE RAID: REDEMPTION is a suprisingly good, shockingly violent action flick with a cast of actors who you may find yourself actually caring about.
In the heart of Jakarta’s slums lies a massive dilapidated apartment building which has become home to the city’s most violent and dangerous men. Run by the crime lord, Tama Riyandi, criminals who seek refuge may come here if they are willing to pay their rent. A 20-man S.W.A.T team is assembled, by the possibly corrupt Lieutenant, Wahyu, to go in and capture Tama, but, things go wrong really quickly when Tama learns of the team’s invasion and offers sanctuary to any of the building’s inhabitants who help him kill the team.
THE RAID: REDEMPTION isn’t going to win any Oscars, but, it may win awards for being a sleeper hit and possibly the best action film of the year. Like last year’s Warrior, this film manages to add up to more than the sum of its parts by presenting us with sympathetic characters whom we’ll care about and supplementing that with nonstop violence which is assured to satiate those of us looking for a non-compromising action flick.
The film was directed by Welsh director, Gareth Evans, who is most known for introducing the Indonesian martial art, “Silat”, to modern cinema in his first film, Merantau. While watching the film, I thought the actors were performing Kung Fu, but, I could recognize there were some movements I wasn’t familiar with. The knife techniques used in the film appeared to be typical close quarters combat techniques, but, had that movement logic you expect to see employed by the likes of people fluent in Chinese martial arts or Ninjitsu.
This movie is extremely violent and not for kids or the squeamish. I can’t even remember how many murders involving gunshots to the head or knives to the throat I counted, but, what made many of the kills interesting was the methods and cinematography. It isn’t enough to simply stab someone in the leg – the knife was to be dragged laterally to slice through muscle tissue lengthwise. Slamming someone’s head into the wall must be done over and over and over as their body drops under the force of gravity.
Though I’m not familiar with any of Indonesia’s actors, this film brings forward at least four actors who are memorable enough to look for in the future. The first of those is the film’s protagonist, Iwo Uwais, a 29 year old with the speed and screen presence to be the next “Jet Li”. The second is the film’s main antagonist, played by Ray Saheptay, whose charismatic scowl and brutality will be remembered long after the film has ended. Yayan Ruhian plays as “Mad Dog” who specifically prefers to fight hand-to-hand til’ the death- which is a scripting decision that more than effectively demonstrates the intricacies of Silat. The last is Pierre Gruno – obvious from the movie’s start to finish by his grayed hair and stone-faced grimace. I’m guessing that The Raid will be the first in a long line of films which these actors will gain notoriety from. Only time will tell if they actually end up in mainstream American action flicks.
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Movie Mood: Action Movie