Review: The Raid: Redemption

Sony Pictures Classics: Iko Uwais in "The Raid: Redemption"Movies that are one-dimensional and focus entirely on one thing can be dangerous to make. In order for it to work, that one aspect has to be brilliant and feature a certain level of quality that can carry the film all the way to the finish line. It will also need a director who knows what he’s doing with the material that’s being put on-screen. If these important elements are not properly fulfilled, it could turn into a complete and utter catastrophe. Which brings me to the film entitled The Raid: Redemption.

In The Raid: Redemption, an elite special forces unit is on a mission to bring down a brutal crime lord who’s taken residence in what appears to be a near impenetrable apartment building. The unit originally attempts to sneak into the building, but have their cover blown and are forced to fight their way through. Things get even worse for the crew once the boss Tama (Ray Sahetaphy) has the building locked down so they can’t escape. Rama (Iko Uwais), Jaka (Joe Taslim) and the rest of their team must navigate through dangerous terrain as they fight to catch the crime lord and hope to make it out alive.

There was a problem that I had while trying to go into detail reviewing this movie. There’s just simply not much to talk about. The Raid: Redemption is an action movie if I’ve ever seen one. The actual story is virtually invisible for maybe 90% of the film. From the outset, all we know is that there’s a raid of an apartment complex that could basically be considered the fortress of a very dangerous gang and their boss.

Once we get past an intimate moment between a man, his wife and their unborn child, it’s all shoot-outs and hand to hand combat thrown in our faces. I’m not complaining, because all of it is definitely worth watching in my opinion. There’s an abundance of blood and brutality to be seen during this time and it’s intensified and exaggerated so the audience can feel it.

With all of the violence, blood and aggression, the creators behind The Raid: Redemption made sure that this R rated film earned its rating. It’s gritty and as hardcore as just about any action film that you’re going to see. The bad guys are bad and don’t really show sympathy or anything resembling a conscious as they continuously assault the officers storming the building. The police members that are directly involved in the raid are in for a battle to the death against these thugs and need to match the ruthlessness that they have coming in their direction.

That onslaught of violent and forceful energy that we see here flows through the entire movie with only an extremely small amount of downtime. I was thinking that there might come a time when it would slow down, but it never truly gets to that point. Just when I was thinking it would calm down for at least a little while, it was right back to war in the blink of an eye. The intensity and never-ending action may be a bit much for some, but I don’t think most will take issue with it.

My only real complaints about this movie rest within a couple of fight scenes. These particular scenes seem to drag on a bit longer than they should have. When one of those two scenes in particular was over, I was actually glad that it ended. It wasn’t bad and that particular scene ended really well, but it just went on a little longer than it needed to. Other than that, I didn’t have an issue with anything else.

As I stated earlier, there isn’t much going on outside of the shoot outs and fist fights. I don’t have anything negative to say about that, because all of the stuff s top-notch and didn’t miss a beat. I truly respect what everyone involved was able to do with this film. It had to take an enormous amount of time and effort to put together so many wonderfully choreographed action scenes.

Building interesting characters in a film without much of a story may be an even bigger accomplishment and director Gareth Evans, along with the rest of the team manage to do that as well. Because of all of the strong aspects of The Raid: Redemption, it may be hard to dislike it if you love action films. If you want to catch an all out action movie, this may be the one for you to watch.

Score: 4/5

Rating: R

Director: Gareth Evans

Cast:
Iko Uwais
Joe Taslim
Doni Alamsyah
Ananda George
Pierre Gruno
Ray Sahetapy
Yayan Ruhian

Film Length:101 minutes

Release Date: March 23, 2012 (Limited)

Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics

Countries:
Indonesia
United States