Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Raid: Redemption - Movie Review

On the poster above it says "The Best Action Movie in Decades". While that is extremely high praise, I would also personally have to rank "The Raid: Redemption" as one of the most entertaining martial arts movies I have ever seen.

Yes, I said ever. Deal with it.

Iko Uwais, an expert in Silat (a traditional Indonesian martial art), stars as Rama who is a rookie member of an elite SWAT team that is tasked with taking down a ruthless drug lord. Worried about his wife and unborn child at home, his only wish is to return safely from a mission that could prove deadly if things go wrong.

Of course...things go wrong. Before you know it, the team is trapped in a building they were supposed to easily secure while taking down the drug lord Tama (Ray Sahetapy) and his two lieutenants, Mad Dog and Andi (played by Yayan Ruhian and Doni Alamsyah respectively).

Surrounded and under constant attack, the team must find a way to get out before every one of them is picked off not only by the gang, but by the building's residents who are all invited by Tama to help him clean out the "infestation" of unwelcome police officers.

The story is pretty straight forward and the acting is adequate for an action movie although I was pretty impressed with the level of realism each actor brought to their role. There were never any moments that came off either being cheesy or too melodramatic. That being said, what really sets The Raid apart is just how amazing and inventive all of the action is and not just the hand to hand fighting.

Writer and director Gareth Evans came up with some really creative ideas for how the action could play out in an old run-down apartment building and just about every room, hallway, elevator, and fire escape is put to good use. Uwais and Ruhian were responsible for all of the stunt work and fight choreography in addition to their starring roles.

This movie will be most often compared to the "Ong Bak" trilogy that features Tony Jaa as well as "Chocolate" which stars JeeJa Yanin as the fight scenes are fast, brutal, and more intense than just about anything that's ever been put on screen before. Once the action gets rolling it does not let up as each fight scene raises the bar and you will find yourself shouting, cheering, and gasping from beginning to end.

Bottom line: This is a movie you have to see. Period.

Just watching the trailer below will have you jumping out of your seat!

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