Yesterday I had lunch with my brother and, as so often is the case, he looked across the table at me with that particular glint in his eye, grinned, and asked, “So, have you heard about The Raid? Because if not, you really, really should.”
I, in fact, had heard about The Raid – Redemption earlier this week when I read a review of it online. An Indonesian action film, the premise of the movie is that a group of cops are storming a criminal boss’ headquarters, an apartment building full of psychotic criminals. They’re doing fine until they get half-way up the building and are spotted, the boss is alerted, and then all hell breaks loose when the crime boss gets on the PA system and tells all the murderous crazies that anyone who helps kill the police will be welcome in the building forever and able to live there rent free.
What happens next is pretty much non-stop violence for an hour.
The Raid, IMO, is a very well done action film. The cinematography is well done with the gun and fight scenes not relying on the lameness of quick cuts to make things more exciting. The martial arts are really, really well done with a majority of the focus being on muy thai and heavy emphasis on kneeing the crap out of your opponent. The movie is also good in that it’s not afraid to kill named characters or people who’ve had dialogue; spoiler, many of the good guys die. Speaking of which, the special effects in this movie are also really well done in that the squibs used are some of the most realistic I’ve seen (including a long fight scene involving knives). Finally, the movie is pretty suspenseful; there were definitely a few scenes where I sat muttering “Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap” under my breath waiting for the worst outcome to happen and sometimes it did.
The movie, if you’re a fan of action films, particularly foreign action films, does have a few flaws. While the action and violence is very well done it is almost continuous past a certain point, so much so that you get numb to it after a while. There are a few moments of “Jesus Christ, did they really do that?” to shock you out of the numbness, but even then the bar for the violence has been set higher so everything below it seems even more tame. They use a couple of badly done clichés, the overly protective sergeant, the cop with a pregnant wife who just wants to get home, the guy who is evil just to be evil, and I felt like the story could’ve benefited from some originality there. And, as I said, the squibs are some of the most realistic I’ve seen, which may be an issue for some people who may like the action in an action movie without the seeing the results of the violence; in this one, you definitely are treated to what happens people are stabbed, shot, or thrown from very high places. That being said, these things may be fairly minor for you; they were for me but I thought they were noteworthy enough to comment on.
Right now The Raid is on a very limited release so finding it in a theater near you might be difficult depending on where you live. I’d say it doesn’t necessarily need to be seen on the big screen, there’s nothing in the movie that would suffer from being seen at home, but if you’re a fan of the foreign action film genre then you’ll probably think this movie worth at least a matinee ticket price if not a full-price one (I paid full price and was happy enough to be satisfied with the cost).