Leave it to Indonesia to help reinvigorate the spark missing from modern action cinema. Thailand and Tony Jaa helped earlier in the decade but with most American action movies just being remakes or uninspired rehashes of past formulas, someone else had to step up. Enter ‘The Raid: Redemption.’
In Jakarta, a SWAT team raids a massive safe house that is home to the town’s biggest drug lord and his (mostly) criminal tenants. All is not quite as it seems and this turns into an ordeal that the officers must get out of alive. With the odds stacked against them, will they take down the man at the top of the building while surviving an endless wave of killers?
There are very few frills or surprises in this story. It is as straightforward as you could hope for with one semi-twist. There is no more dialog than absolutely necessary. Words are at a premium as most of the attention is focused on flying bullets and fists. The choreography is spectacular as the story wastes no time getting you into the action.
This is simply a barrage of villains from one floor to the next. It is kind of the equivalent to watching a video game.
If you want some criticism, there isn’t a lot of time for character development with this fast pace. We get to know Rama (Iko Uwais) a bit as he is the central character. Uwais has a lot of potential for becoming a very viable action star. Not to be forgotten, Yayan Ruhian, who plays the main villain’s second-in-command delivers an unforgettable martial arts display.
Special features include: commentary, video blogs, some features with director Gareth Evans and composers Mike Shinoda (yes, the guy from Linkin Park) and Joe Trapanese. Evans breaks down a pivotal scene, Evans and Shinoda have a conversation, the score is looked at, a claymation version of the film is shown, an ad for the mid-90’s television show is shown and a theatrical trailer. Whew!
If you’re on the market for an action film that doesn’t insist upon being PG-13 and obsessed with a shaky camera to imply more action than is actually happening, ‘The Raid: Redemption’ might be for you. The body count is high, the ratio of fighting to talking is just right and the demands placed upon your brain are very minimal. Sounds like a perfect Friday night to me.
Rated R 101 minutes 2012
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When J.J. Ellis isn’t writing as the Allentown DVD Examiner, his Decent Exposure Radio can be heard on the air every Friday night from 10:30 to midnight (EST) on WXLV 90.3 FM or wxlvradio.com!