Raid: Redemption, The (2012)

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The Raid: RedemptionStarring Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim, Doni Alamsyah, Yayan Ruhian, Pierre Gruno, Ray Sahetapy

Written by Gareth Huw Evans

Welsh born director Gareth Huw Evans and Indonesian martial arts choreographer Iko Uwais follow up their 2009 cult flick Merantau by kicking up the action and violence to mind-boggling levels for The Raid: Redemption, a magnificently brutal and breathlessly exciting effort that will have even the most hardened action or kung-fu movie fans out there on the edge of their seats by the conclusion of Evans’ story in this blistering action flick.

In The Raid: Redemption, we are quietly introduced to Uwais’ character Rama, a SWAT team member who’s unit is carrying out a covert assault on a 15-story apartment block in the Jakarta slums which also happens to be the hideout of one of the city’s most notorious crime lords named Tama (Ray Sahetapy), who hires out the rooms in the building to the city’s worst criminals and killers.

But as you can imagine, the operation doesn’t go as planned (if it had, there’d be no movie), and soon Rama and his fellow SWAT team members find themselves trapped within the confines of the dilapidated building; the odds are against them as they are outnumbered and unprepared to deal with the onslaught of killers lurking the halls who are ready to do Tama’s bidding and take down the officers during a brutal bloodbath of gunfire and flying machetes.

So what starts off as a mission to bring a crime lord and his empire tumbling down soon becomes one of survival, as Rama and his fellow officers begin to get picked off one by one, particularly by Tama’s two top henchmen, Andi (Doni Alamsyah), and the appropriately named Mad Dog (Yayan Ruhian) who will stop at nothing to protect their boss and the block from the invading SWAT squadron.

And while that all seem pretty simple, don’t let the basic description fool you- if you call yourself an action fan, there’s just nothing that can possibly prepare you for what Evans throws at you during the film’s entire running time in The Raid: Redemption. Simply put- this is hands down the best action flick of the last ten years and if you dig on flicks like Assault on Precinct 13, Die Hard, Hard Boiled, then you’ll want to have your ass firmly planted in a theater seat when The Raid: Redemption gets its limited theatrical run on March 23rd.

What’s amazing about Evans’ work on The Raid is that he somehow manages to find a way to consistently continue to rev up the madness throughout each act of the film and there’s never a lagging moment from start to finish. Just when you think there’s no possible new way to punch, kick or kill a dude- The Raid shows you just how wrong you are; it’s hard to remember the last time an action film had this kind of raw, visceral impact, with choreography from Uwais, Ruhian and countless other fighters offering up some truly stunning set pieces.

And while John Woo may be the guy who created the “bullet ballet,” it’s evident that Evans is the right guy to take on that mantle now as his work on The Raid takes the concept to the next level with a masterful blend of sword play, gun play and good old-fashioned jaw-smashing fisticuffs that looks as beautiful as it does painful.

Of course, violence and action on their own do not necessarily make for a great film, so thankfully Evans manages to subtly work in several storylines that simmer just below the surface of all the action, making for a truly entertaining experience all around. All of the leads in The Raid: Redemption deliver incredible performances beyond just what they can do with their fists and feet with Uwais establishing himself here as a talent on the rise (seriously, Hollywood- put this guy in every action movie from here on out and you won’t be sorry with the results). It’s really only a matter of time before both Uwais and Evans blow up here in the States, with The Raid: Redemption already being touted by many critics as one of the best films of 2012 and It’s only March.

And while all of this may sound dangerously close to gushing, the bottom line is that The Raid: Redemption is worthy of every single accolade it receives and then some. It’s been a while since there has been an action movie this visceral and jaw-dropping; as relative newcomer to the world of directing, it’s astonishing just how masterfully Evans blends action, suspense and familial drama so intricately, making The Raid a modern pulp masterpiece that is absolutely worth all the hype and praise that has been heaped upon it since the film debuted during the Toronto Film Festival last year.

Both Evans and Uwais are clearly at the very top of their game and the results are nothing less than astounding and I’m already waiting with baited breath to see what the pair can concoct for their follow-up feature.

For all you action movie aficionados out there, I cannot say this enough- make sure to seek out The Raid: Redemption during its limited theatrical run later this month; the sheer spectacle of what Evans and his incredibly talented cast and crew have managed to achieve with their low-budget, high-ambition action flick absolutely deserves to be enjoyed on the big screen.

5 out of 5

Discuss The Raid: Redemption in the comments section below!

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  • kiddcapone

    I saw it today, AMAZING! There’s no ads for it, no posters, nothing. I only saw it listed by accident when I went to see Cabin in the Woods.

    I was the only person in the entire theater. Really sad. If you are not impressed with the level of fighting and action in this movie, you will NEVER be happy. The movie was insanity from start to finish. I loved it. There’s a bunch of things within the story that didn’t exactly add up, but who cares. The fight scenes with Mad Dog are nothing short of jaw dropping.


  • ChaosWeaver

    The Raid: Redemption has to be one of the best films I’ve seen in theaters in a long time. It is easily the most violent I’ve seen in theaters since Hobo With a Shotgun, the action was relentless, the story perfectly uncomplicated, and the fights were beautiful to watch (ie, no (well at least not over-used) quick editting).

    I do have a few small nitpicks, not about the movie itself, but about the state of these kind of movies where I am from. I live in Ottawa, Canada; these kind of movies are rarely if ever shown in our market. I saw Hobo With a Shotgun the one week that ONE theater had it playing. I saw I Saw the Devil at a private screening at an independant theater (while my Blu-Ray of it was in the mail). I missed my chance to see A Serbian Film (in hindsight, having seen the uncut version later, I am kinda glad, but still) during it’s ONE NIGHT screening at the same independant theater.

    When I went to see The Raid last night (during a suprising second week of playing) at the only theater playing it (Ottawa has about 8 major chain multiplexes), a number of things happened. First, the automatic ticket machines didn’t even list it. Second, the teller at the counter asked me, “Are you sure? You do know you have to read and stuff, right?” Since when do you try and disuade someone from paying money at your establishment? And third, I was one of 3 people in the theater. They both left right at the start, before they even arrived at the apartment complex, muttering “I didn’t pay 12 bucks to read”. And last but not least, they turned the lights on 2 minutes before the credits and started cleaning the theater for the next show (which was an extra screen for American Reunion). There have been no posters, no commercials, nothing advertised for this movie in Ottawa, barely anyone knows it’s playing, and it’s being completely missed. Since this is the last weekend for it here, I can only convince so many people to go see it before it’s gone. Movies like this are rare in Ottawa, and it disapoints me to no end when nobody sees them, then claims, after the DVD comes out, “How come we never get stuff like this in the theaters?”

    Just my two cents, I do my best to eat this shit up whenever it comes through town, but I dread the day when the chains don’t see it as viable to play these gems in my market, and I lose my chances.

    • Gus Bjork

      That’s too bad. It makes me appreciate even more living in a city that really supports outside the mainstream film. It really is a great audience film (as an earlier poster said). There’s the scene near the end (…broken light tube…)when the fairly sizable (nearly all male) audience all let out a simultaneous “Je-sus!” and that collective, exhilarated laugh when that little conflict was resolved.

      I’m not as crazy about the movie as a whole as some. I thought some individual scenes were simply amazing. Still I would strongly recommend seeing it in the theater if you get a chance.

      • ChaosWeaver

        While the state of our major chains sucks, I am extremely grateful for the few independent cinemas we have in town. I’ve met the owner of one through a friend, he is dedicated to showing the kind of movies that never seem to get a chance. As I mentioned before, they’ve played I Saw the Devil, Serbian Film, etc, every Tuesday they play a double feature of movies, usually by the same director – it was amazing seeing A Better Tomorrow back to back with Hard Boiled in 35mm, as well as Jaws and Jurassic Park – and play cult movies like the Rocky Horror Picture Show and The Room every month. They’ve even played Birdemic there while it was on tour with the director (unfortunately, this was before I was aware of the place). I try and hit the place up twice a month, they’ve always got a good selection, and hopefully, I can depend on them for a long time if the major players continue to disappoint.

  • LSD Zombie

    I want to see this movie SOOOO badly!

  • gorebath

    This review is spot on. I had a chance to screen this a few weeks back and if you wait to see it on DVD, you’ll kick yourself for waiting. This movie is the proverbial THEATER MOVIE…..sit back with the crowd and have a blast cheering. I can’t remember the last time I heard “holy shit” from so many different parts of the theater.