|The Raid: Redemption
Starring Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim, Doni Alamsyah
There is a moment in the movie Fanboys, which if you haven’t seen, is about a group of Star Wars loving friends who set out to see The Phantom Menace. So at the end of the movie, the friends are in a theater, with a couple hundred other Star Wars fans. The movie starts and the group lights up with excitement. One of the friends turns to the others and says “What if this movie sucks”? An obvious nod to the hatred that would later befall Phantom Menace but it’s a moment I felt right before The Raid: Redemption started to play. My excitement was at fever pitch.
Luckily, that prophecy never came true.
It’s hard to describe a movie like The Raid without using simple terminology like “This movie is f**king awesome” because that’s what it is…F**KING AWESOME. I can’t think of a movie in recent memory that got to the point so quickly. Simply put, The Raid is about a 20 man Swat team unit that are given the task of taking down a ruthless crime lord who is housed in an apartment high rise that is also filled with every shady criminal you could think of. Once the Swat team enters that building, and it’s literally minutes after the movie starts, that's when everything turns to shit for our hero’s in blue. Bullets and bodies fly in every direction. It's pretty sweet.
I’m serious when I say this; there are more than a few moments that had me on the edge of my seat. One in particular, with two cops hiding out behind a wall in an apartment and a henchman who takes his machete and starts punching it through the wall, was almost nerve wrecking. The fight scene choreography should also be commended. It was refreshing to see fight scenes that weren’t shot to block out obvious inadequacies either by the actors or the director. No, these scenes were thrilling, genuine and an absolute blast to watch
So, since I am giving this movie its just desserts, why not give it the full 5 dudes? Well, it’s that little thing called story. Sure this was an action movie and there is some forgiveness in that dept, but the characters were completely faceless. There are spots: The crime lord, the rookie cop (Iko Uwais), the crooked sergeant who leads the squad into the building and ultimately, to their death and the crime lord’s right hand man (Doni Alamsyah) who also offers a bit of a twist, but if you pay attention in the beginning, it’s not really a twist. It’s surface storytelling at its best. Had they maybe held back on the raid and given a little bit more time to developing what little they laid out, I would consider this right up there with Die Hard.
Beyond that, this really is a movie worth seeing, especially if you’re an action movie fan. The Raid doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it just does what it needs to do really well. I don’t know who Gareth Evans, the director of The Raid, is, but he has my attention now and for that, I salute him.