7 jun. 2012

My Review: The Raid Redemption (8/10)

¨Pulling a trigger is like ordering a takeout.¨

The Raid Redemption has gotten so many great reviews that I decided to check it out despite never having heard anything about it. I had never seen an Indonesian film before, heard of director Gareth Evans, nor star actor Iko Uwais, but I was tempted to see it after hearing it won the People`s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival. At first I really thought this movie was just another Battle Los Angeles where we had nonstop action with over the top gunfights. I`m not really a fan of these movies which only focus on the action and have little plot, but I was really in for a surprise with The Raid. Once the gunfights stopped, the combat became more ferocious involving a lot of knives, machetes, and even hand to hand combat. I`ve seen a lot of martial art movies before, but this film really set the bar with all those choreographed fights. They were truly amazing and I really enjoyed the last hour of the movie. The Raid is an extremely violent film so it isn’t for everyone, but if you enjoy martial arts then you will love this film. Iko Uwais makes any other martial artist look silly as he is really impressive on screen, but so was the rest of the cast. The martial art used in this film is the traditional Indonesian one called Pencak Silat and it`s intense. Iko Uwais choreographed the fights himself along with another actor who had some great fighting scenes, Yayan Ruhian. Together they make the film worth watching even though it has very little dialogue or story. There`s no time for talking, it`s one fist fight after another.

Rama (Iko Uwais) is a rookie SWAT officer who seems happily married along with his pregnant wife. We only see them together in the opening scene where Rama kisses them goodbye before going to work. He gets on the SWAT car along with twenty other elite officers led by Sergeant Jaka (Joe Taslim) and are given instructions: They have to infiltrate and raid an apartment building in the middle of an Indonesian slum full of gangsters and drug dealers. Their mission is to capture the crime lord Tama (Ray Sahetapy), but it won`t be an easy task because the building is full of loyal free renters who will protect him at all cost. That is why the police force has never attempted to go near that building, but somehow Lieutenant Wahyu (Pierre Gruno) has ordered the raid and is waiting for them near the entrance of the building. Once the SWAT team breaks in, some local spotters warn Tama that the police have entered the building. Tama observes everything through cameras in the top floor and announces to the entire building that whoever kills these officers will be given special treatment. He even sends his two personal bodyguards, Mad Dog (Yayan Ruhian) and Andi (Donny Alamsyah), after them. The SWAT team find themselves ambushed between the sixth and seventh floor with nowhere to run. That is where the action begins and doesn’t stop as all these renters keep on showing up while the officers fight for their lives.

The plot is really simple, but believe me the choreographed action scenes are really not. That is what truly makes the movie for me: the hand on hand fighting scenes, especially those involving Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhian. They are a true spectacle. I had never seen a martial art film like this before with so much intensity and carried out for such a long time. The final hour is practically nonstop action. I would never in a million years expect to have enjoyed a film like this, but the fighting scenes were so incredible that I was willing to forgive the poor plot and just enjoy the choreographed martial art scenes. I hear a sequel is in the making, and I am sure I will be watching it to see what else Iko Uwais has in store for us. This isn`t a movie I would recommend to everyone, but if you like a good choreographed action movie then this is the film you will want to see because it truly does raise the bar for martial art films everywhere.

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