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The Raid: Redemption

Updated on September 24, 2012
5 stars for The Raid: Redemption
The Raid promotional poster
The Raid promotional poster

A non-stop on the edge of your seat thrill ride!

and that's an understatement... Serbuan maut, or as we English speakers are calling it The Raid: Redemption is an Indonesian part martial arts part gun-play film from Welsh director Gareth Evans. The films plot is minimal but it very much makes up for any lack in dialogue and character development with incredibly choreographed sequences of violence and heart pounding action. I would like to start out by saying when a movie looks good I tend to hype it up, and this movie was no exception. In the end I usually end up with a decent waste of money and at least some level of disappointment.

Iko Uwais as Rama fighting a "dreadful" enemy
Iko Uwais as Rama fighting a "dreadful" enemy

Move over American film

The Raid is the exception... Never have you ever seen an American film like this! The basic premise of the movie is 20 elite Indonesian SWAT raid team members gather together to bring down a ruthless crime lord, Tama Riyadi, who runs a criminal sanctuary in an old apartment building in Jakarta, Indonesia. Many of the tenants in this building are merciless killers (most with training in the deadly Indonesian martial art Pencak Silat) with one goal in mind... get rid of the latest infestation. The film spends the majority of it's time following the superhero-like character Rama, played by Iko Uwais, throughout the apartment building looking for an escape. Many of his comrades have already been taken out by the eager slum-dwellers and their objective seems near lost (and the movie isn't even 1/3 of the way through). Rama must fight dozens of hardcore criminals to save his life and the life of the last team member alive, who's taken a bullet to the stomach.
There are twists, trust is broken and backs are stabbed (actually quite literally) as the winding staircases full of murderers and the decrepit walls start to rub their reality off in a very visual way. The chaos of this building is very well delivered. Most movies I feel would've strived to use dark lighting to put out a more gloom ridden feel but in my opinion and I hope in most others this takes away from the movie and makes the action much less entertaining. Evans does a great job in setting the environment, gritty but visible.
I was incredibly interested in learning that the star actor was also one of two main choreographers on the film. It's like when you find out an actor does their own stunts but 10x as awesome. I cannot even put the fighting this movie exhibits into words. Honestly out of an hour and forty minute run time around an hour was completely spent on either fighting or gun play, so if you are an action buff this movie is just right for you! If you are not into action or violence or squeamish in any way go see a different movie. I understand this isn't a movie for everybody, but for those who are seeking a thrill then this film is paradise.

Does he stand a chance?
Does he stand a chance?

Final Thoughts...

The film has virtually no character development and the story is lacking and to some may be cliche, but truthfully those are not the reasons you are going to see this movie. Put your inner critic aside and appreciate the movie for what it is... an amazing feat (a new standard perhaps?) in martial arts/action and foreign cinema.

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