Few films live up to the title of “Best Action Film in Years” and I will be honest I don’t think there has been many good action films out recently. So to say the least my expectations weren’t high but the trailer for The Raid: Redemption drew me in and lets say I was more than pleased with what was to offer.
I know many of those reading this will want to see the movie so I will try not to spoil too much of the fun. The movie opens in the back of a SWAT van where the task team is going over their last instructions to take over a rundown apartment building housing murderers, criminals and drug addicts. The building is overseen by a crime lord named Tama who we also see in the beginning executing some gentlemen who have turned against him. From the beginning you can tell there is some uncertainty of this mission as the young rookie Rama is asking why they must do this. He is assured by his Sergeant Jaka that even though this is dangerous they must follow through with their orders.
When they arrive at the building they meet with Lieutenant Wahyu who is leading the raid. They quickly gain access to the inside of the building when a tenant looking as if he is returning from the store lets them in with the promise that they will get him to his room to take care of his sick wife. Once inside the unit is spotted by a squatter and makes their visit well know by firing a shot off killing the kid, but they are too late because the alarm has been turned on. To make matters worse Tama calls the building next door which is a machete gang to come help and tells all the tenants anyone who takes care of the squad will be compensated.
From there the action kicks off into full effect and the music that provides the setting is perfect. Now at first glance you would think that this film would rely heavily on guns but that’s not true. As the trailer shows there is lots of hand to hand combat that is described as an Indonesian martial arts style called Pencak Silat. Its very similar to the Muay Thai fighting style that has been recently popular in films like Ong Bak and The Protector. Similar to those movies, the fighting scenes are very well done and the using of props as weapons tends to happen a lot.
One of the defining moments in the movie is as the SWAT agents are being picked off by the machete gang and criminals within they are split up with the rookie Rama taking care of an injured member and Sergeant Jaka , Lieutenant Wahyu and another heading to another floor. During this split is when the fighting starts to take over for the gun play and you are shown that the rookie Rama is very capable of taking care of himself. One thing he is unaware of is there is someone very familiar to him watching over his every move waiting for the chance to have a confrontation with him. On the other side Jaka is insisting on answers from Wahyu because this mission has not bee cleared by the authorities so there is no back up on the way or rescue. Wahyu won’t state the purpose of the raid and Jaka gets a little too occupied with a certain unique gang member to care much for it.
In regards to the story, I’m stopping there as not to spoil anything else. Focusing on what I like about the film first is hands down the fighting. I don’t care if you are a fan of movies like Lethal Weapon or The Matrix you will appreciate how these guys get down in this movie. The sad part is that it’s also the major downfall to the movie. There is almost too much fighting that leads you feeling like “really? Is that all necessary?” The movie is a little long for the type of film but the story is engaging enough to keep you interested. The storylines get lost amongst great fighting scenes but outside of that I really enjoyed the movie. I enjoy the look of the film as it portrays the slums of Indonesia and the characters are believable enough to see something like this may have really happened. If you can get past the subtitles (which I had to apologize to my girlfriend for at the start) you will find yourself watching a very well done action film that pays homage to films from that area of the planet while also appealing to a worldwide audience.