The Raid: Redemption (2011) Review

Not since my initial viewing of Mad Max: Fury Road have I been so invested with an action film with barely a story. I wouldn’t say The Raid: Redemption doesn’t have a story because that’s not true. It’s more in line with the first John Wick film. There’s a story that is actually a pretty good one but it’s mainly there to serve a purpose, which is to move from one badass action scene to the next one. Oh boy, does this film have a lot of that. Fight scene after fight scene, this film is one of the most action packed films I’ve ever seen. I think there is a five minute period in the middle where someone isn’t either stabbing, shooting, choking, or breaking a bone. I was so happy when I finished this movie because this is one of those movies that’s a “landmark” movie. It will be talked about for a while and rightfully so.

The Raid: Redemption tells the story of Rama (Iko Uwais) who along with with 19 other cops, is going to a high-rise apartment building to take down Tama (Ray Sahetapy), a drug lord who is also the owner of the building. The building is home to many different criminals and junkies that Tama rents out the apartments to in order for them to lay low. That’s all the task force knows so that’s all the viewer knows. Once they arrive they come to the realization that they may have bit on more then they can chew and must begin going through each floor looking for Tama, fighting a lot of of people including Tama’s two henchmen, Mad Dog (Yayan Ruhian) and Andi (Donny Alamsyah).

This movie is brutal, bloody goodness. It has to be one of the most brutal movies I’ve ever seen so some people could have trouble with that if they get queasy with violence. I did not have one issue with that and found myself smiling a lot and saying “oh my god” more than once. There are some truly unique and inventive uses of objects that I wouldn’t think of a weapon, you won’t look at a fluorescent light bulb the same way. I can’t say enough just how beautiful the action is. While action films have gotten a lot better in the past few years at allowing films to breathe and showcase the beautiful stunts and choreography, this film takes the cake. There are a lot of extended takes where you see every punch, kick and kill and it’s glorious. Something that Gareth Evans, the director (something to check out is Safe Haven, his short segment in VHS 2, it’s wonderful and horrifying) is have the camera always moving. It’s shaky but not shaky for the sake of just being shaky. You always see what’s happening and the franticness of the camera adds this level of intensity and flow to the movie that just adds beats to your heart. It’s truly fantastic. It feels akin to playing a video game and going through goon after goon in really cool, awesome ways.

The acting is also top notch. Iko Uwais is an absolute revelation and should be in more things. His athleticism and physical presence is absolutely astonishing. He’s one guy I would not want to piss off. Even more so is Yahan Ruhian as Mad Dog. He was one of those guys who takes pleasure in offing someone with his hands rather than a gun and he was an absolute badass with some stellar fight scenes. 

The one flaw with the movie is the story while it works to move along the film. It’s not that it’s a bad story in any means but if I had to nitpick, that would be the main issue. It does however hint at a bigger story that I’m sure gets explored in the sequel that I now am really excited for and need to see ASAP.

The Raid: Redemption is a masterclass film in how to do action. It does simplistic storytelling beautifully and houses some of the best action in a movie I’ve ever seen. Everyone see this movie.

Grade: A

Kyle’s Next Movie:

Midnight Special (2016)

This was a real surprise last year and hasn’t gotten nearly the amount of attention it deserves. It has two fantastic performances in Joel Edgerton and the always amazing Michael Shannon. It’s a really cool and intriguing sci-fi film and I think you’re gonna really enjoy it Kyle. 

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