Pulling A Trigger Is Like Ordering A Take-Out

May 20, 2012 1:41 pm

The Raid: Redemption, hitting cinemas this week, is an Indonesian martial arts action film from welsh director and relative newcomer, Gareth Evans. Not a known name and neither are his cast, but after their performance in The Raid, that won’t stay the case for long.

The Raid: Redemption kicks off with Rama (Iko Uwais) bidding farewell to his pregnant wife and unborn child before heading off on a SWAT mission to take out a drug lord who is hiding in his thirty-floor tower block of a fortress. Team leader Sergeant Jaka gives the run down: the drug lord is the untouchable Tama Riyadi (Ray Sehetapy) who is looked upon as a hero to criminals everywhere and harbours many of them in his tower block allowing them to freely violate the law. The mission is a fairly simple one, to infiltrate the building and take out Tama as well as his criminal associates in one fell swoop. The SWAT team infiltrate the fortress easily enough and proceed through the first few floors with relative ease, however, their stealthy approach is soon rumbled and all hell swiftly breaks loose.

The Raid: Redemption wastes no time with character development or back-story, and the plot is wafer thin, but once the action kicks into full throttle, none of that really matters. The SWAT team, once discovered, begin to engage in a fruitless fire-fight with the criminals of the tower block giving way to some vicious ultra violence and some ruthless killing. The kills come thick and fast leaving the audiences little time to recover from one bloody deathblow to the next. The action is relentless, gripping the audience and refusing to release but for the brief moments between heavy scenes. The light story slowly gathers some flesh in these breathers, developing some characters with the aim of progressing the plot, giving the film more meat, but never really pulling the audience in emotionally.

 

This is compensated however, by the violence and action, which from halfway through the film, kicks into sixth gear and never really lets up. All guns done away with, the film becomes a stunning platform for the brutal Indonesian martial art of Pencak Silat, wonderfully delivered by the lead, Iko Uwais in an incredible performance. Some of the fight scenes are absolutely stunning, with outstanding choreography and brilliant direction. The editing deserves a mention also, allowing for super fast and fluid scenes and the film truly takes the term, “overkill” to heights unseen for quite a while. While Iko Uwais stands out as the hero, delivering a solid performance and showing above average acting ability for what is essentially a mindless action film, the standout performer, at least in terms of action alone, has to be Yayan Ruhain as “Mad Dog”. A small man with gargantuan ability, his scenes in the film border on the unbelievable, forcing the audience to gasp on numerous occasions before their end. One in particular with Rama and Andi (Donny Alamsyah) is a particular highlight.

While there is little build up, a weak story and a plot that plays out like a nineties beat-em-up side-scroller game, the action and martial arts in The Raid: Redemption is unlike anything seen this year so far, or in fact, for a while; vibrant and bloody, fluid and unforgiving. An ultra violent action movie, this will appeal to fans of the martial arts genre, or anybody willing to witness men go above and beyond to punish each other with feet and fist.

 

The Raid: Redemption

4/5

 

 

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