The Raid: Redemption (2012)

April 03, 2012 By Mike B
Movie Review

What Worked?

The Raid: Redemption will most likely be getting an American remake, and in this day and age, remaking a foreign film for American audiences is a compliment, among other things. A 20 man SWAT team is sent to infiltrate an apartment block and take out the head honcho of the thug-infested building, but things get complicated when the team becomes trapped. The audience follows Rama, a rookie cop with a very pregnant wife, along with different members of his team through the fifteen stories of hell.

The fact that Gareth Evans uses a tripod in this film already sets it apart from all the typical American action films out there with shaky cam syndrome. The action of The Raid: Redemption is the main event of the film, as if it’s a character on its own. Choreographed by Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhian (who is a complete beast in the film), the action is blood-drenched raw, with knives, machetes, bullets and fists flying everywhere, leaving the viewer in awe after every action scene. Viewers won’t know what amazed them more: the grit of the fights or the creativity. Action has never been so intelligently executed and realistic as it is here, showcasing Pencak Silat, the traditional Indonesian martial art. The camera catches all the glory of the action with an active eye, yet it’s still enough so viewers see everything. The script isn’t exactly a pushover either, as it provides enough story and character development to involve the audience in the characters plight. The cherry on top is Mike Shinoda’s bumping soundtrack, complimenting the raging pulse of the film.

The wiry, swift Iko Uwais plays Rama, a rookie cop that is determined to complete his mission and get out of the building with all limbs attached to get back to his pregnant wife. As far as acting goes, Uwais does a solid job for an action film, especially in his fight scenes, where his exhaustion and determination with every committed punch is believable. The connection with Rama’s brother, Andi, played by Donie Alamsyah (who resembles a taller Manny Pacquiao), deepens his character, and together they touch upon the duality of man.

Ray Sahetapy plays Tama, the boss, and he’s probably the most charismatic of the characters, as he’s very good at playing the bad guy. Joe Taslim, playing Sergeant Jaka, is one of the other better supporting actors, displaying leadership with ease and inspiration.

Simply put, the Raid: Redemption succeeds in every part where most recent American action films fail. Every battle is so intimate that the punches, kicks and slices can almost be felt. It’s very likely viewers will leave the theater pumped after this action film crack.

Potential Drawbacks:

For some, the story is rather forgettable, and might remind others of films such as Assault on Precinct 13 or Die Hard. There’s nothing fresh about the story,  although it does work well enough. In all honesty, the plot of the story is a bit messy in some points, like its missing some back-story with Wahyu’s character .

To some, probably very few, the action might not be enough and may even seem repetitive at times. For those that aren’t fans of pure action films, this may not be your cup of tea. It’s not exactly the best date film either. The film is, more or less, for action junkies. People offended by violence should really avoid this film.  This film is far from thought-provoking, and it merely fulfills its genre.

Film Recommendations:

Die Hard
Assault on Precinct 13

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