Movie Review ~ The Raid: Redemption

The Facts:

Synopsis: A SWAT team becomes trapped in a tenement run by a ruthless mobster and his army of killers and thugs.

Stars: Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim, Ray Sahetapy, Doni Alamsyah, Yayan Ruhian 

Director: Gareth Evans

Rated: R

Running Length: 101 minutes

Random Crew Highlight:  Original Music ~ Joseph Trapanese

TMMM Score: (8/10)

Review:   While watching this breathless movie you may find yourself wondering when the last time a US film took the kind of chances that this film takes with the action genre.  The Raid: Redemption may not totally re-invent the wheel but it sure does knock the wheel of its axis and uses it to beat the crap out of the standard action film. 

An Indonesian production, the film makes no bones about the fact that its plot is a simple device that serves as a framework for some excellent action sequences and bone crunching fight work.   Basically, cops enter building to capture drug kingpin…kingpin gets wind of the operation and asks the murderous residents of the building to protect him.  And….go!   

Reading all the positive reviews of this I was a little bored when it seemed like all of the sequences would involve guns and shootouts…that’s pretty easy in my book because it doesn’t require any creativity.  Bullets soon run out, though, and that’s when the film really gets moving.  The fight sequences here, like Haywire earlier this year, are staged with a grand love of combat and are mini epics in and of themselves.  Fighting your enemy isn’t as a simple as knocking them out cold…no in The Raid: Redemption you have to earn your kill/escape with prolonged fights that are mind-bogglingly intense. 

At about the ¾ mark you may start to feel a little exhausted with the seemingly never-ending fights and that’s when that pesky logic starts to creep in.  How does our leading man not need a walker to move from floor to floor after his tussles with three dozen armed animals?  Why does no one resort to just hitting guys where it really counts rather than knocking them in their upper thigh?  Don’t give it, though, and soldier through.  The film saves its best and most intense fight for the finale and it’s a whopper two-on-one extravaganza sure to get your pulse pounding. 

Now in limited release, I wish more US movies took the kind of creative approach to their action flicks.  I’m sure that after the critical success of this that Welsh-born director Gareth Evans will be helming his first Hollywood movie before 2012 is over.  Here’s hoping he brings his style to a strong script because then you’re going to have a movie that will be one to reckon with.