The Raid: Redemption Reviews
'The Raid' features excellent fight choreography and a lightning fast pace, all backed up with a good score; but loses marks due to its bare-bones story.
Rama (Iko Uwais) is a rookie in the tactical police team which has been assigned to engage a crime syndicate operating from an apartment building. The team is led by Jaka (Joe Taslim) based on the intel procured from Wahyu (Pierre Gruno) and the operation was expected to be quick and silent. The mob boss Tama (Ray Sahetapy), his muscle Mad Dog (Yayan Ruhian) and brain Andi (Donny Alamsyah) along with a huge network of spotters (generally children), surveillance cameras and mercenaries was underestimated by the tactical team. The whole operation goes downhill as soon as it starts with body count rising and a never ending barrage of bad guys popping up in every corner. Rama and Wahyu have their own agenda amid all the chaos. Can they make it out alive?
You get a similar scenario as that of 'Black Hawk Down' where a large and sophisticated military team go into Somalia for a quick and clean mission but end up losing many men and the rest scared and desperate to get back in one piece. 'The Raid' isn't about getting back in one piece but to pursue on relentlessly and at the same time playing for the masses every opportunity it gets. The graphic violence and the gore is on another level compared to movies of this genre. Even though there are a lot of gun battles, there are even more fist and knife fights which is where things get murkier. Skulls crushed, arms and legs broken, spines twisted, jaws cracked, torsos slashed and blood everywhere. Definitely not your average action movie.
Considering the entire story is just the movie's namesake - a raid, even though the twists, revelations, human relationships etc. are all projected with the right intensity and strategically timed - it is the visual display of those martial arts combined with graphic violence that wins big for it. The action choreography is very innovative where the kicks and punches come in lightening pace and bodies are crushed in ways a normal viewer wouldn't have imagined. Complementing it is the excellent cinematography where each kick and punch is captured and projected with the maximum intensity for genre audience's pleasure. Generally the acting in Asian movies are a little overboard, but 'The Raid' makes sure the standard is very different from normal by maintaining the correct tone and the actors are to be commended for it. With a short runtime, crisp screenplay and enough twists in the script to keep the viewer engaged, the movie is a complete package for whoever can stomach the gore and violence.
Not your average martial-art themed action flick, but every other can become a child's play after seeing this.
Owens grade: A