The Raid: Redemption

Iko Uwais in The Raid: Redemption.

There’s not much to say about a film like The Raid: Redemption. It’s essentially a showreel of action sequences piled one after the other with little else – the “else” being plot, character development, nuance – left in the way. That’s not necessarily a bad thing when you’re in the mood for some good ol’ kick-punching throat-stabbing knife-wielding action, but as for reviewing a film it offers little substance to write on. Just keep in mind that if you’re not in the mood for kick-punching, or outright hate the genre, this won’t be the film to change your mind.

The story, for lack of a better word, is this: an elite SWAT team sets out to raid a multi-storey apartment complex run by a criminal mastermind and his henchmen that has become a safe haven for the city’s underworld. Their mission is to take him down. There’s just one snag: he lives on the fifteenth floor, and they have to battle their way to the top against AK-47 wielding thugs, machete madmen, and the boss’ vicious underling “Mad Dog.” Yes, it is about as ludicrous and shallow as it sounds, but if it’s an excuse for a good action scene (or an entire movie filled with them) I say it’s forgivable.

Star Iko Uwais is an action hero moulded in the Tony Jaa school of leading men (the two even vaguely resemble one another) though I hope Uwais’ career has a greater longevity that Jaa’s (his success with Ong-bak was followed up with The Protector…and then increasingly mediocre Ong-bak sequels). Uwais seems like an unlikely action hero with his slight frame, baby-faced features and non-threatening demeanour. He wouldn’t look out of place in a high school gym class. But his unremarkable physical presence hides his lightning quick reflexes and impressive dexterity. The guy can really kick-punch his way through a room of baddies.

The action sequences are incredible but suffer from the film’s complete reliance on them. Watching open-mouthed at Uwais’ physical abilities as he dispatches Nameless Goon #1 are lessened with each slightly varied combat sequence that follows (i.e. Uwais battles unarmed opponents in hand-to-hand combat…then he battles opponents with machetes in hand-to-hand combat…then goons with guns in hand-to-hand combat, etc.) and by the time he’s killed Nameless Goon #70 the initial excitement has dissipated into a appreciative, though dull, predictability.

I feel like The Raid: Redemption is primarily a feature-length highlight reel for director Gareth Evans and Iko Uwais. The film bombards viewers with action scene after action scene in one location (the apartment building) and seems to be asking viewers to imagine what the creative team could do with more money and more locations (and possibly a more fleshed-out story) if they were able to do all this on a $1.1 million shoestring budget. The film is a great piece of junk food action cinema that  fans will relish but after the adrenaline high subsides you’ll be looking forward to the creative team delivering on the promise The Raid: Redemption shows in a future follow-up.

Grade: B-

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One Response to The Raid: Redemption

  1. Devarsh says:

    My Review of the movie : The Raid Redemption : A Raid on your Senses!
    http://devlifeintechnicolor.com/2012/05/12/the-raid-redemption-a-raid-on-your-senses/

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