Movie Review – The Raid: Redemption

The Raid Redemption MovieIf you were wowed when Luc Besson’s “District B-13″ (French) came out years ago and launched Parkour to the world, or even simply enjoy John Woo’s movies, get ready for another level of ‘wow.’

“The Raid: Redemption” is the first Indonesian movie internationally released and gained rave reviews at film festivals, among critics and audience alike.  Originally titled “Serbuan Maut” or “The Raid,” Sony Pictures added the word “Redemption” when it acquired the rights, in hopes to make it a trilogy and a Hollywood remake.

Set in Jakarta with largely an Indonesian cast, “The Raid” introduces Pencak Silat, an Indonesian style martial arts.  There’s not much of a story, but there’s a clear hero that you would root for and a vicious villain who puts most villains to shame.  A secret tie to someone in the building named Andy (Doni Alamsyah) is also revealed.

The hero, Rama, (Iko Uwais) is a rookie cop with a pregnant wife, and part of a SWAT team being tasked to take down a cruel crime lord, Tama (Ray Sahetapi), and its thugs-occupied, high-rise apartment building.  When the sergeant, Jaka, (Joe Taslim) who heads the task force goes down, Rama must find a way out to survive and lead a few remaining members of the team out of the death trap.  Aside from the head mob, his right-hand, Mad Dog (Yayan Ruhian), has a penchant for dragged out, in-your-face combats, as opposed to easy killing with guns.

“The Raid” is a non-stop, violent rush, filled with no-holds barred, head-bashing, throat-slashing, heart-stabbing, gut-kicking, and all that gory goodness – in close quarters.  Weapons include rifles, guns, knives, swords, machetes, axes, and even makeshift ones such gas tank-stuff refrigerator and light bulb.

Welsh-born director, Gareth Huw Evans, skillfully executes and maintains the hold-your-breath thrill and tension with complex choreography of fight sequences, performed by real-life fighters, at a breakneck speed throughout the duration of the movie.  No shaky cam, no cutaway shot, no slow-mo.  There are multitude of memorable scenes, but the single, most nail-biting scene involves Rama crouching with a wounded cop behind a slim wall trying to avoid getting sliced by a sword.

If you’re an action movie or martial arts fan, “The Raid” is a must-see.  Once in a blue moon, comes a genre-defining picture.  “The Raid” is one of them.

Copyright (c) 2012. Nathalia Aryani.

Nathalia Aryani is a business manager, foreign language translator, lifestyle/travel writer and film columnist. She can be reached at indotransserv@gmail.com. Nathalia owns a movies blog, The MovieMaven (http://sdmoviemaven.blogspot.com). Twitter: http://twitter.com/the_moviemaven

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