Movie Review: The Raid Redemption
This movie came and went in the blink of an eye in the theaters ( at least here in India) but turns out this has been a top dog when it came to International movie festivals. Some tout this to be the BEST (EVUH) action movie of the last decade. One of my friends did manage to get a dekho and called it kick-ass’est ever action movie.
They weren’t wrong.
Raid Redemption is an over-the-top balls-to-wall adrenaline rush of flying fists, whirling kicks and high-octane action sequences that literally explodes onscreen leaving you gasping and shouting for more, if you’re a martial arts movie fan. An Indonesian martial arts movie, directed by Welsh born Gareth Evans, the Raid doesn’t make any pretense at having even a minimalist plot or character development. It’s an all-out unapologetic slug fest with blood spurting and bones crunching every five seconds. While you take a breather when short tense dialogues spoken in Indonesian dialects (English subtitles) explain the barely there back story, you’re actually preparing yourself for another gloriously choreographed “pencak silat” sequence – an Indonesian form of martial arts fighting. Bone-crunching fist fights, flying machetes and an exhilarating though tiresome ultra-violent climactic confrontation between the main guys is what you are in for in this movie
So here’s the story for those you who are interested.
Rama, a young cop leaves his pregnant wife, on an early morning raid along with a bunch of 20 elite cops to bust the hide-out of a drug lord, Tama. The hide out is a dilapidated tenement that houses thirty floors of every possible thug around in that area. The mission is to clear out the building floor by floor till they hit the top floor and get to the crime lord. Rama’s captain liaises with Wahyu, a lieutenant who has set up the entire operation outside the building and they creep inside. But things have to go wrong in such situations and it does without fail. From here on, it’s literally a gore fest what with the entire tenants of every floor out baying for the blood of the hapless cops stuck inside that hell hole without escape. Tama announces life time free rent for anyone who helps take out the vermin, kill the fucking cockroaches. How Rama makes it out forms the rest of the story.
A nightmarish free-for-all, with residents dropping out of every floor with knives, machetes even machine guns ensues. The outnumbered cops getting wiped out one by one. Except for the last few. Rama among them who has managed to survive thanks to his deadly fighting skills. Him and the crime lords’ right hand man, known as the Mad Dog are the most arresting characters in this whole movie. Fighters par excellence, we know that the whole movie is heading for a showdown between these two. The whole action pieces are very personal – the camera doing that trick for you – the director also borrows tropes from some horror / slasher movies : People hiding and not daring to breathe while the villain stands right on top of you, waving his machete. The fear and adrenaline pumping tautly captured.
The dialogues as I said, are just a breather for you – the tense five minutes before the next fight begins. The action is shot spectacularly well with the camera going head-to-foot, dancing around the actors in perfect sync to their whirling chops and flying kicks. The tricks work as it invests you even closer to the mind bending action set pieces happening onscreen. The director manages to give the whole movie a claustrophobic feel - cops stuck in a hellish building with no choice but to fight it out.
Visceral and very atmospheric, complimented by some brilliant sound track by Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park, the Raid Redemption should certainly rank in your top ten action movies. It certainly is MINE. Five on Five Stars.
Feast yourself on the trailer and get yourself the DVD. RIGHT NOW :)