The Raid: Redemption (2011)

DailyView: Day 150, Movie 229

Whoa.

I have heard about The Raid: Redemption for years as being one of the greatest action films in recent memory, but I had not watched it before. Once again, the subtitles and reading the movie is something that I have to be in the proper mood to do. I have rarely been disappointed when I have done it though. It always feels like as the film is underway, you do not even realize that you are reading it anymore. You kind of lose yourself into the story. That happened again with The Raid: Redemption, but the story was not the main standout of this film.

Rama (Iko Uwais) was a rookie on an elite team of commandos that are launching an assault on an apartment building controlled by the brutal crime lord called Tama (Ray Sahetapy). Organized by Lieutenant Wahyu (Pierre Gruno), this S.W.A.T. team headed into the building only to find that the place was filled with killers and thugs loyal to Tama, and that Wahyu had an ulterior motive than law and order.

The team had to do whatever they could to survive the trap and to attempt to escape with their lives.

The film started off with more gunfight than I thought there would be. At first, I was a little disappointed because there is less originality or impressiveness involved with guns, and I had heard the action was exceptional. I had anticipated it being more of a hand-to-hand/martial arts movie and that is not how it started. However, it absolutely became that as the film progressed.

Once it got into the martial arts of the film and started to use the guns in a more minimal manner, this absolutely took off, action-wise. Iko Uwais was utterly amazing in his stunt work, as was several of his opponents. In particular, the battle with Rama, Mad Dog (Yayan Ruhian), and Andi (Donny Alamsyah) was brutal and breathtaking. The beauty of this fighting is an art form and the film does an amazing job of following the action, allowing the audience to see what is happening. So many martial arts films use the shaky cam or film in ways that make it difficult to see, but The Raid: Redemption does not shy from that. The violence is right in your face and it is a spectacle to see.

They did not avoid the blood or the gruesome results of the brutality either, although I do have to wonder how these men continued on after so many destructive encounters. Rama, especially, has some kind of unbelievable endurance to keep going despite what had to be multiple concussions.

Rama had something to focus on though as the film gave him a wife with a baby on the way and he used that as an inspiration to keep going. Still, I wonder how he could possibly be walking still, but that is real life intruding upon the fantasy, and the fantasy is incredible.

The story is simple, but this is the type of movie that you are not watching for a deep, in-depth plot. There was enough plot to keep things moving and it did have a twist or two, but it knew what kind of movie it was and what the major selling point was going to be. You’ve got to appreciate that.

The Raid: Redemption is an artistic masterpiece of martial arts violence and a brutal look at the violence surrounding it. You are sucked into the action, especially when the major amount of gunfire in the first act or so is reduced into more of a one-on-one (or one-on-many) struggle. It has some of the best action you are going to see anywhere and the story is just enough to keep you invested. This is a great film.

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