Quick Thoughts on "The Raid: Redemption"
Director: Gareth Evans
Cast: Iko Uwais, Ray Sahetapy, Joe Taslim, Doni Alamsyah, Yayan Ruhian, Pierre Gruno
What can actually be said about The Raid: Redemption? There's astonishingly little plot to speak of, and what plot there is is so crammed with twists that I can't write about it without spoiling something. The basic gist is this: The movie takes place in Indonesia. Cops raid a dilapidated, 15 story apartment building to take down drug king pin Tama (Ray Sahetapy). The tenants fight the police to protect Tama. From there, it's just non stop action. Oh, we get a leading character, of sorts, in rookie cop Rama (Iko Uwais), who has a pregnant wife at home and is a Muslim. Other than that, there's nothing else about the plot I can write about.
Even if I could, there wouldn't be much to write about. Despite, for some unexplained reason, having the word “Redemption” in its title, The Raid: Redemption isn't about anything except people getting their heads bashed into walls, people getting shot, stabbed, punched, kicked, strangled, thrown, sliced, and tortured. It is, pretty much, 99 minutes of non-stop violence. That it's all well staged ensures that there are moments that do entertain. After a while, however, it gets more than a little tiresome.
Now, I have nothing against movies that are basically wall-to-wall action; I have enjoyed movies in the past that were just straight up action (Live Free or Die Hard is one of the movies that comes to mind). But those movies had something resembling a story to pull us through, and characters who were able to hold our interest even when the action stopped. The Raid: Redemption has none of this. The few instances where the action lets up, we get bits of inane dialogue that are more than a little groan inducing. And the violence is so numbingly gory at times that there were instances that were actually quite unpleasant (this is true of the scene where one police officer shoots a young boy in the throat).
There is an audience for a movie like The Raid: Redemption. The movie currently holds a 83% fresh tomato on Rottentomatoes.com, and some critics have gone so far as to call it one of the best films of the year. I wanted to join them. I wanted a new addition to my Best Films of 2012 list. But I just couldn't give a hoot about anything that happened in the film. Action movies tend to be more exciting when there's something at stake for the audience. The Raid: Redemption is just non-stop senseless violence, well staged to be sure, but it wears out its welcome really fast.
Final Grade: ** (out of ****)