April 5, 2012 by Kyal Bender
A SWAT team invades a high-rise with the task of taking out a ruthless drug lord, but things get complicated when the police become trapped and outnumbered.
I have to say that action is my favorite genre of movie, especially when it is done well. There are a scarce amount of action films that have gotten to the level of Die Hard or Terminator 2: Judgement Day. However, we have recently had a great string of luck with action flicks being better than usual. With films like The Dark Knight, Fast Five, The Bourne Ultimatum and nearly any film with Jason Statham (hey, I’m a fan), the action bar has been raised. Crazy as it seems, I honestly can say the bar has been raised to a new height with the simple addition of Gareth Evans’ film, The Raid: Redemption.
This film is simply wall-to-wall action…no-holds-barred, R-rated, intense, fun. This is what an action movie should be. A few movies have claimed to be non-stop action such as Shoot ‘em Up, Hard Boiled, and the Crank films, while I love those films and they do have a considerable amount of action, they are nothing compared to this Indonesian film. The film is 101 minutes long, and I would have to say that 85 minutes of that is literal action. Whether it’s a shootout or a fist fight (of which takes up the bulk of the film), those 85 minutes are completely riveting. As the film opens, we see our hero preparing for the raid and kissing his wife goodbye. We get enough of the setup before the action starts, about who a few of the characters are and why they are raiding this building. After the first shot is fired, you better hold on, because the action is not going to let up anytime soon.
While there is only around 15 to 20 minutes of scenes that don’t focus on action, that time is used very well to tell a story perfectly suited for a film like this. It involves lost friendship, betrayal, and corruption. Even during these expositional scenes, the film never slows down, Evans is able to tell the story through the action.
I could go on forever about the action scenes in this film, but I’ll try to just keep it down to a paragraph. Not since the first two Transporter films have I seen action shot in such a masterful and almost poetic way. No shaky-cam here, we are up-close and personal but far enough back to where we can see everything blow-for-blow and be able to tell who is who. This is fast-paced and intense stuff, two fight scenes in particular left me absolutely breathless. I cared about the people involved in the fights and, without giving anything away, felt completely devastated when one character died. I can’t remember the last action movie where a fight scene actually made a film more tense, much less actually caring about the characters fighting.
I loved absolutely every second of this film. I believe my only complaint about it is that the film’s hero doesn’t offer a whole lot of personality. He isn’t the charismatic John McClane or even the stone cold Terminator, he is almost like a vehicle for the audience to experience the movie through. While Iko Uwais is a fantastic martial artist, he doesn’t lend much to the role, although he also isn’t given much to work with. Other than that, this is a perfect action film. Fantastic choreography, good story, and non-stop action that is shot and edited for maximum enjoyment. Thank you Gareth Evans.
Rating: R for strong bloody brutal violence throughout, and for language
Runtime: 101 minutes
Also, here’s a little taste of what you’re in for…