Monday, October 1, 2012

Movie Review: The Raid: Redemption


Should more appropriately be called, "Ass-kicking: The Movie". WARNING! This movie is not for the faint of Boots In The Face, plentiful stabbing, and mass exodus of shooting. Really, any violent ideas whatsoever.

The story is simple, an elite team is sent to extract a drug kingpin in his apartment complex. Kingpin learns of this and chaos ensues. The majority of the movie follows Rama, a rookie officer, as he and his surviving team become a tornado of destruction to survive the mission. And it's great! Every scene that is not action builds the mood, so that each murdering tenant that is disposed of feels just right. This isn't the type of movie that is 85% dialogue and 15% action; I'm looking at you, Flash Point.

The martial arts used here are phenomenal. Truly spectacular fight choreography. Each fight scene is intricate and has depth. As the thugs are killed, there is a sense of desperation from the team. They know they are chest high in deep shit. Survival is the name of the game. Fights don't feel overtly flashy, even though they are, the police officers fight in such an efficient manner, one or two crucial hits, that it gives the entire film some plausibility. The whole thing is refreshingly brutal.

Some credit must be given to Mike Shinoda's score. It jumped out at times, not in an ridiculous manner, but just at the right moments. Dramatic scenes had the quiet and comforting piano theme, while the action elements were amped up by the synthesized version of the tracks. I have yet to hear the original Indonesian score, but from what I've gathered it's quite good as well.

The downsides to the movie falls to lack of characterization of the team. Many get picked off without much reason to care, except for the fact that so many are killed so fast. Dagu, Jaka, Bowo, and Tama; while all being major characters, don't have much going on. Much of the personality in the movie goes to Rama and it makes sense, the movie is built around him. Aside from structurally, The Raid: Redemption is a prequel to the movie, Berandal. Berandal was not able to be made financially and all of the fighting choreography had been done. The director, Gareth Evans, felt the character of Rama, who is the protagonist, wouldn't be well defined, so with a new prequel script that could be shot on the budget they were given was created. The Raid was born.

Any action movie or martial arts fans should watch The Raid: Redemption. It's just good. No nonsense ass kickery. The movie is worth watching. Hell, it's worth owning!