I had to wait 24 hours to write this review because when I tried to write this review after watching The Raid: Redemption the only thing that I was able to write was:
Go see this shit
No really, why haven’t you left yet? GO SEE THIS FUCKING MOVIE
Seriously, it was that tough. No one does hardcore martial arts/action films like foreign filmmakers. No one. There’s no slow motion or super close up shots so you can’t see the action. It was like watching a kick ass video game in third person that didn’t take a second to slow down. The movie is pure adrenaline for 101 minutes.
The plot of the movie is a Indonesian SWAT team is tasked with taking down one of Jakarta’s most notorious crime lords, Tama Riyadi (Ray Sahetapy). Tama has been virtually untouchable and lives in a rundown apartment block that he has turned into a fortress and safe house for the city’s most dangerous criminals. Rookie cop Rama, (who has his own motivations in this raid) must use his skills and training to survive the trap Tama has set for him and the rest of the 20 man SWAT team. As the movie goes on your learn of Lieutenant Wahyu (Pierre Gruno), the man in charge of the operation, and his ulterior motives for the raid.
Honestly, story and acting wise, this movie is your typical police action movie filled with double crosses and other obvious plot devices. But none of that hurt this movie in my opinion because the fight choreography was just that good. Sure there are valid points to be made about a lack of character development and how the “reveals” in the movie that should have been shocks really weren’t but that would also require you to quiet your brain from yelling “Holy Shit!!!” in order to think about those things. Iko Uwais plays Rama and watching him skillfully dispatch bad guy after bad guy reminded me of how I feel when I play Arkham City in Challenge Mode. No I’m serious, put Uwais in a cape & cowl and you basically have the free-flow combat of Arkham City…..WHICH IS AMAZING. I mean sure, if you want to nitpick *cough* Roger Ebert*cough* you’ll comment about how the bad guys would line up perfectly and in the right position for the combat scenes to flow endlessly and seamlessly. But really, who cares? They looked amazing. Compare that to the more realistic but HORRENDOUS fight scenes and Hannah and guess which ones I’ll pick? If I’m going to pay $10 for a movie, give me less realistic but highly entertaining and well-choreographed fights over slow-motion, stumbling and bumbling around fight scenes with Eric Bana in a rundown playground. Also, The Raid has some of the best knife fight scenes to up the ante in the brutality.
And then there’s Mad Dog (Yayan Ruhian).
Think about to Terminator 2 and the T-1000 and how it was just relentless and unstoppable. Now take that same relentlessness and unstoppableness and put it into a 5’6 Indonesian man. That’s Yayan Ruhian as Mad Dog, Tama’s bodyguard. I won’t give too much away but in the last major fight scene, Mad Dog is fighting 2 guys at once and it’s one of the most brutal scenes of the movie. At one point someone in my theater yelled “Why won’t this man die?” But it wasn’t yelled out of anger for the movie being bad but because it was like when the T-1000 just kept coming. Oh and apparently Ruhian did the fight choreography for the film and well, it shows. He did a great job not only in his scenes but the entire movie. I hope Hollywood takes notice and brings this guy on to do their fight scenes. As much as I love Batman Beings/The Dark Knight, one of the points of contention with me (very small points) is that the fight scenes are shot so close you can’t see what’s really going on. That’s not a problem in The Raid and I wish more movies took that direction.
Again, the plot isn’t much to talk about but that’s not the focus here. Clearly the focus was on bringing as much ass kicking and violence to the screen as humanly possible and that was delivered tenfold. The movie has subtitles but I can guarantee that after about 15 minutes, you won’t even notice. Honestly, if you’re one of those assholes like Roger Ebert who complained about the shallow plot in The Raid, I have to ask why you even went to see this movie. Clearly the trailers showed that the focus was going to be on fights and violence, not extensive dialog and character development. I don’t need to see Rama or Mad Dog being trained by a sensei in the mountains somewhere or get the back story on who is allowing Tama to run his criminal enterprise. Complaining about the plot or lack of character development in The Raid is a lot like complaining about a half-naked chick trying to have sex with you is wearing a mismatched bra & panty set. I mean come on. The only real downside to The Raid is that after watching it, your testosterone and adrenaline levels will be so high, it’ll take every ounce of self-control you have not to start a fight in the lobby.
This movie is a solid 5 out of 5. Best fight choreography I’ve seen in a long time. I can’t wait for this to come to BluRay. I hope it’s an unrated version because I feel as though in order to show this in the US with a R-rating they had to, and I know this is gonna sound weird with the amount of violence that is displayed, cut away from some of the more brutal scenes. If you watch The Raid and didn’t like it then you really should stick to watching Disney Movies and romantic dramas like The Lucky One and The Notebook.