Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Raid: Redemption / Serbuan Maut (2011)

JohnnyTwoToes tells you why this Indonesian Import is a Must Watch for all Action Fans!

The Raid: Redemption (original Title: Serbuan Maut)  is a slam bang action thriller from Indonesia that came and went in America, despite mostly positive reviews, with the exception of Roger Ebert who only gave it one star. He complained because the film did not seem to make much sense in spite of the great action scenes. 

The film, shot entirely in Indonesia (according to IMDB) takes place for almost the full 101 minutes in a decrepit, drug infested high-rise that houses a ruthless drug dealer and his army of thugs. The film opens with a lone cop readying himself for the day the raid will take place. In the truck to the raid, the instructions are relayed to the SWAT team and upon arrival everything goes according to plan.....initially. Then all hell breaks loose, chaos ensues and thus begins the action. 

The Raid: Redemption was written and directed by Welsh filmmaker Gareth Evans and he has penned enough of a story behind the action that the action has purpose. It is not just action for action's sake. As the team goes from floor to floor there are amazing shootouts and as the casualties rise on both sides the action changes from firearms to hand to hand and both are impressively choreographed and will have you on the edge of your seat. Evans smartly keeps closing the space that the fighting takes place as it happens from room to room, and there are a few surprises along the way. 

There is a newcomer named Iko Uwais who plays the hero cop, Rama and I was particularly impressed by the humanity he brings to his character. He is a family man, expecting his first child, yet he is willing to go the distance by himself if need be to get the bad guy. Hopefully we will be seeing more of this fine actor. 

The film has some interesting choices for the score. I was reading up on the history of making this film and my understanding is that here were actually two scores composed by different composers. The Indonesian release had one score and the western release for Europe and America had a different score composed. Having only heard the version in the American version released, I was impressed by the array of instrumentation used; from hard synth/techno to ethnic instruments of Indonesia and Asia. It accents the action and humanizes the quieter moments. 

The Raid: Redemption is nothing ground breaking in its drama just enough, but the action is dazzlingly effective and loads of fun, even though I still don't know what the "Redemption" was. While The Raid is not Shakespeare, it is not marketed as such. It is a balls to the wall action film and a real good one, too. The Raid: Redemption is available on DVD. The Raid: Redemption-*** out of 4.

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