There are many different ideas on what makes a good action film. Often, in American films, there is a basic formula: Guy loves girl or family member and said person is either kidnapped or killed; guy goes on rampage to rescue or avenge. If the person was killed, he usually meets a girl along the way to throw a random sex scene in. The romance is used to pull in more movie dollars as guys can now make this a date movie. Even the all-action classic Crank threw in a love interest for no real reason. It did not add to the film genre of action. So now we look to the Far East, where things are surreal by our standards. Where what we consider ghetto is normal everyday life and what they consider ghetto would be pure hell for us. And we take a look at what might be one of the greatest, true action films ever made. Forget love interests, forget anything that would break up the action; it’s time to turn the higher brain functions off and just enjoy the primal rage.
FUCK THE POLICE Literally the theme of this movie, you could put the N.W.A. classic on loop through this film and it would fit. We are introduced to Rama (Iko Uwais), a rookie cop who is fortunately well versed in the art of Pencak Silat. He bids his wife and unborn child farewell as he goes off to work, unaware that today will be a really rough day on the job. He is part of a twenty man SWAT team led by Sergeant Jaka (Joe Taslim). Jaka’s team has been ordered to infiltrate the stronghold of crime boss Tama (Ray Sahetapy). The order comes from veteran Lieutenant Wahyu (Pierre Gruno), who has joined the team for the mission.Tama’s base is no secret; it is a thirty story abandoned apartment building that he runs a drug operation out of. He has his own men, but the real protection comes from the fact that each floor is full of criminals, lookouts and otherwise degenerate forms of life. Tama provides residence and safety to anyone that will pay him “rent” and abide by his rules. Jaka’s team has to infiltrate this building quietly if they hope to succeed, but when a scout sees them and informs Tama, what was to be a silent invasion becomes a fight for survival. I just told you the first eight minutes of a ninety minute film, and things don’t calm back down until the very end.
FIST ACTING The majority of the dialogue for this film takes place within the first few minutes. There are a few scenes here and there with conversations, but once the fighting and gunplay start, you mostly hear a lot of screaming, grunting and cries of pain. The film, literally, is almost all action. That said, there is very little room for acting. Rama and Andi (Doni Alamsyah) have the standard long lost brothers discussion and Tama’s rants with Andi and Wahyu are standard villain faire. There is one moment that fighting aside, was probably one of the best scenes in the movie. Trust me when I say that you want to pay attention to Mad Dog’s (Yayan Ruhian) explanation of why he does not like to use guns. Other than that, the acting in this movie is pretty non-existent, but that is the way it is meant to be.
NINJA MAGIC This film is really low budget; it cost a little over one million to make, so don’t expect a lot of flashy effects. Most of the effects go into the fighting which is really just wire work. There were maybe two instances of bullet-time, and that is about as high tech as the movie gets. Everything else was just makeup to show off wounds and really horrible bone breaks. At one point a dude gets folded backwards on a stairway guard wall. Bottom line, the fight choreography is all the special effects anyone watching this movie will need.
THE 80s WANTS ITS FIGHT MUSIC BACK I told you the film was low budget. There was no orchestral score, and there are no songs. The music is a blend of synth and drums that could have been pulled from any 80s action thriller you see on Cinemax or Showtime at night. Funny thing is, the American version of the film has music provided by Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park, yet it is still nothing special. The music is cheesy and it fits the situation, so really there are no complaints. On average, most are not paying attention to the music because the fights literally command all of your attention.
If you even remotely like action movies, then you have to see this. The Raid: Redemption is only playing on 14 movie screens throughout the U.S. but when the inevitable blu-ray release drops, you have to pick it up faster than the five-second rule. Rama’s hallway fight is amazing, probably better than his later fight in the drug room. And Mad Dog is literally an animal; his fighting style is jaw-dropping and the fact that he is one of the smaller guys in the movie gives an air of realism that you never know who is capable of beating the living snot out of you. I definitely recommend the support of this release, but you just have to see it. . . by any means possible.
There are rumors of a sequel being made which will probably be solidified as fact, since the film has already made its $1.1M budget back and is still in theatres.
- ‘The Raid: Redemption' Showcases Martial Arts Action and Hallways (Review) (popmatters.com)
- The Raid: Redemption (2011-2012 Action Movie) (madeinindonesiapedia.wordpress.com)
- The Raid-Trailer (madaboutmoviez.com)