Sometimes there is just no sense in mincing words. You can dance around the issue, drag some sort of artistic meaning out of a film and try to make something more than it is. You can do that. And sometimes you just have to lay it out as it is and call it like you see it.
The Raid: Redemption is just flat out intense.
The Indonesian martial arts action film was released in 2011 by director Gareth Evans alongside lead actor and chief bad ass Iko Uwais. The essential premise of the film is that a group of elite cops are busting into an apartment building/stronghold occupied by one Jakarta’s worst criminals and his gang. Their goal is to haul that criminal mastermind out and bring him to justice. And, not unexpectedly, things go very, very wrong for our intrepid law enforcers.
If action, using the definition of the word relevant to this movie, is truly eloquence, then consider this movie the poster child.
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Make no mistake; this is no art house flick. This is a violent, bloody beat down to the extreme. But the fight choreography is outstanding and the cinematography it perfect for what’s on the screen. This movie was shot by a director who truly understands how to work with the martial arts action genre.
This should come as no surprise considering that The Raid: Redemption is the second team up for Evans and Uwais, the first being 2009’s Merantau. Showcasing the Indonesian martial art Pencak Silat, these two films with Evans were Uwais first roles. In addition to The Raid 2 with Evans, Uwais is also set to star in the upcoming Man of Tai Chi directed by none other than Keanu “I Know Kung Fu” Reeves.
While this movie is a unique and superb offering, there are striking similarities between 2011’s The Raid: Redemption and 2012’s comic book adaptation Dredd. The second outing for the Judge after the much maligned 1995 Stallone film saw Dredd trapped in an apartment building trying to deal with the criminals inside.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It was just a very weird experience for me as I ended up watching the two films within a couple of days of each other. They’re quite different but the similarities are more than a little striking.
Ultimately, The Raid: Redemption is a faced-paced, high-energy action fest that shows what the genre is capable of when properly handled. And Uwais has the potential to be a long-term international star, if he continues to choose the right films to exhibit his martial arts talents.
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