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“The Raid: Redemption” – Review (POSITIVE)

April 7, 2012

“The Raid” was on my top 10 list to see while I attended Sundance this past January, sadly I didn’t make it. I thought to myself, ‘It’s going to be a while till I get to see this movie, probably have to wait till the fall season.’ And to my surprise Sony Picture Classics released the hyper-stylized/hyper-violent neo-samurai film four months later! I was PUMPED!

The movie had is title changed slightly to “The Raid: Redemption”, which seems just given a certain element in the movie that plays out for our lead hero. But, everything you’ve read or even heard about this movie is true…IT’S THE MOST BADASS ACTION FLICK IN THE PAST DECADE! For me this movie is my “Drive” of 2012, it’s secured a spot on my end of the year Lucky 13, and I’m sure I’ll be bringing it up again in upcoming reviews during the summer season, because action movies have big shoes to fill after seeing this slam bam movie.

The plot is actually quite simple (up until the final minutes of the film), an Indonesian SWAT team must raid a fifteen-story apartment complex run by a vicious crime lord named Tama (Ray Sahetapy), and take him down permanently. Little do these warriors know that they’re entering the killing fields meant for them, someone on the inside is a dirty cop, and someone wants the good cops gone, but who? Our hero, Rama (Iko Uwais) fights his way through each level of the building after his fellow comrades fall one by one, and only he & a few superior officers are left. While bashing & kicking his way through, Rama finds his missing brother who’s become apart of the building and Tama’s organization, is their hope for redemption for this broken family?

The minute this movie starts you hear the ticking of the clock, time is running out already, and the game is upon us. The film is written & directed by an upcoming Welsh filmmaker Gareth Evans, with just a budget close to a cool clean million, Evans finds a way to brilliant capture a high stakes, big budget looking action epic, while still maintaining the quality of good storytelling, and writing just the right characters to root for, and hate. To call the violence in this movie ‘brutal’, just doesn’t do the word justice. This movie is FUCKING BRUTAL, and it’s not for the faint of heart. It’s mean, it’s fierce, and it’s FUCKING BLOODY! But, with all the violence thrust at us, there’s this joyful delight that the viewer is captured by. I was in a theater that held a reasonable amount of people, a decent crowd, and every moment when a punch, a stab, a thrust, or a shot is made, people in the theater went crazy for it. I think the movie was trying to subtly prove a point that we have this fixation with violence, “The Raid” exploits violence sure, but there’s honor in the violence, especially when the scenes featuring the ‘Mad Dog’ happen.

The camera work is as acrobatic as the moves done by the actors, the editing is utilized to a fun tactic, especially the high-speed photography sequences. The music will boil the blood, and Gareth Evan’s style of direction is scary at times. Every scenes puts the audience on the edge of their seat. I LOVE the tension in this film. “The Raid” borrows elements of the samurai genre; the people need a hero, a band of faithful warriors invade the antagonist territory, people fall, people rise, there’s glory, and then there is shame. It’s beautiful, simply beautiful, nothing this year will come even close to what “The Raid” has accomplished. There is already talk of a sequel, which I can understand, especially how the movie ends, but can you really capture lighting in a bottle twice or will the filmmakers beat the stick till it breaks? Nevertheless, if “The Raid: Redemption” is playing in your area or is about to, PUT IT ON YOU MUST SEE LIST NOW!

 GRADE: A

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