Saturday, August 18, 2012

"The Raid: Redemption" Review

    Who needs guns when you have fists of fury! This is The Raid: Redemption!

    The Raid: Redemption follows rookie SWAT member Rama (Iko Uwais) and the rest of his SWAT team. They are led by Jaka (Joe Taslim) and Wahyu (Pierre Gruno), who is keeping a big secret. Their mission is to infiltrate the apartment complex HQ of crime lord Tama (Ray Sahetapy) and his partners Mad Dog (Yayan Ruhian) and Andi (Donny Alamsyah) and take them out. But, naturally, the learn the whole thing isn't as heroic as it seems and know the entire squad is in grave danger. Trapped in the complex Rama get Tama and escape.
    Make no mistakes. The Raid is an action movie first and foremost. The plot is pretty much an incomprehensible mess. Being that this is an Indonesian film, the movie is entirely in subtitles and the story gets to be way too complex for it's own good. The whole sub-plot about police corruption is ridiculously under-developed so that you only have the most basic understanding of what is going on. The most effective story involves secret family ties between one of the good guys and one of the bad guys and comes across well-enough so that you're invested enough in the surprisingly well-done characters that you want to see their story through to the very end.

    The likable characters help to make the fantastically visceral action all the better. As you may have already heard, the fight scenes are some of the best fight scenes in recent memory. Ever scene has me captivated and wanting more each time. The punches and kicks actually hit their marks in what must have caused a few injuries during filming. Their are moments when I was on the edge of my seat, audibly gasping at some of the more brutal fight moves. What these guys can do with knives and machetes is absolutely kick-ass.
    The cinematography is killer (pun-intended) in this film. The movie does have shaky-cam, however, it's done just right. It gets the effect across but doesn't make the fight scenes impossible to see. It's too bad the writing could live up to the cinematography's high bar. While writing doesn't have to be Shakespearean in these kind of movies, the bland and forgetableness of it is inexcusable. There weren't any cool action movies lines that are going to be quoted over and over in the coming years. Inbetween fight scenes I found myself on the verge of becoming bored with the film, waiting for the next fight scene to come wake the film (and me) up.

Seen here, budget cutbacks effect the
police department in terrible ways
    But, that's not nearly enough to ruin this film. Great action combined with fantastic cinematography, likable characters and a terrific soundtrack help make The Raid: Redemption one of the more memorable action movies of the year. It's too bad it's overly-complex story and moments of boredom hold it back from perfection. The Raid: Redemption gets 5 stars out of 6.

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