Turn off the Lights

The Raid Review

Max's Rating: 7.5/10 Player Affinity Composite Rating: 7.9/10 (4 reviews total)   Despite the blight of the action genre thanks in large part to Michael Bay’s presence, there are still a lot of sharp and smart action films to be had today. Trick is, you might have to seek them out in foreign film markets. After debuting at Toronto International Film Festival last year, Indonesian film The Raid: Redemption has hit U.S. shores packing a strong, albeit familiar, punch. Taking place in the core of Jakarta’s slum district, “The Raid” focuses on an elite, S.W.A.T.-like task force that includes rookie Rama (Iko Uwais), Sergeant Jaka (Joe Taslim) and Lieutenant Wahyu (Pierre Gruno).  Along with their team of 20 men, they must storm a decrepit apartment complex housing one of the most powerful crime lords in the city (Ray Sahetapy)—and their orders are to take him alive. Getting to him is another matter. The kingpin has fortified himself by providing housing to gangsters, thieves and murderers on each floor, all sworn to keep him insulated. What begins as a covert operation is soon blown, and the task force finds itself trapped in a complex filled with criminals looking to wipe it out, preferably in very violent ways. Although the action of the film is more grounded than say, 300, it doesn’t change the fact that “The Raid” still has a video game-like quality to it. It’s obvious that all the players (get it?!) are physical talents, but mere mortals cannot pull some of the **** they can.  The choreography is very strong and only bolstered by tight editing that wastes little time while making great use of the space for each fight. The big drawback to “Raid” is that the action has a habit of repeating itself—a drinking game could be designed for the number of times characters are thrown or bashed into walls. Some of the more original moves (or “money shots”) were sadly blown in the red-band trailer and there was only one “AW DAMN!” moment. Without giving anything away, it involves Rama, a gang of machete-wielding gangsters and a broken door frame. It was creative, brutal and truly awesome. The rest of the action is consistent throughout, but it rarely achieves the level of creativity as the machete gang sequence. If there is one thing “The Raid” understands, it is its identity. While it has traces of a story, the dialogue would likely fit on 30 pages (or less). This is an action film with all the trimmings: gunplay, blades, hand-to-hand fighting and even an explosion that defies physics (suck it, Bay). There are no love interests, no big twists that you didn’t see coming five minutes into the film and no monologues (worth remembering). What The Raid: Redemption aims to be is lean and mean—a goal it attains. A relatively short runtime, quick pacing and relentless action all bolster its image as a strong entry into the action genre. It would’ve been nice to see a few more creative chances taken with its many action scenes and final conflict, but it is easy to accept the film for not giving us an action movie we cannot understand, visually or otherwise. Rating: 7.5/10 Simon thought: "Not only does The Raid ooze more ballsy coolness than its cast members do blood (and believe me “ooze” is a gross understatement), but this Indonesian import is also a fist-shattering reminder of how lifeless and tedious many Hollywood products have become. Although repetitive in its video game-like “level up” construction, why wouldn’t you want more and more carnage when glued to your seat in a state of vacant-eyed blood lust? Containing nearly more wince-inducing, gorgeously choreographed martial arts than its running time can contain, this actioner effectively does away with any conventionally available means to describe an action movie. Forget phrases such as “action-packed,” The Raid is more like “chaos-stuffed.” Rating: 8/10 Kieran thought: "The Raid: Redemption is bloody, fun and bloody fun. Just from a sheer action perspective, it is easily one of best movies of 2012 and it will please martial arts fans, particularly fans of Bruce Lee and Tony Jaa movies. Like The Avengers, "The Raid" has impressive action scene after impressive action scene; the hallway fight scene will be one of the best action sequences of the year. Some parts play like a horror movie as the gangs act as relentless zombies as they attack and there are clear influences from The Warriors as the police have to fight the different gangs and listen to someone who provides them with information through a speaker system. The plot itself is basic but it is an adrenaline rush and it will satisfy your blood lust. The Raid: Redemption should serve as an example as how action scenes should be filmed." Rating: 8/10 Sam thought: "The Raid: Redemption is a fireworks display of violence. You know that once all the flash and thunder has died down, you'll be left staring at a void having gained nothing of substance, but that doesn't mean the "ooh," "ah" and "oh shit" moments won't leave you grinning like an idiot. In fact, it's kind of liberating. There are lip service nods to corruption in Jakarta's police service and the rise of criminal communities in impoverished neighborhoods, but Evans runs with context just as long as it gets him to the next big set piece. When you try Youtube-ing "The Raid fight scene" to show your friends that one really cool part, you'll have the majority of the film's lean 95-minute runtime to choose from. Opening with indulgent gun-porn before transitioning into close-quarters brawls, "The Raid" is as relentless as it is skillfully shot, following through on every blow to deliver maximum impact. It's blood, sweat and aggression refined to a diamond sharp edge, at once completely disposable, and yet all the more unforgettable for embracing its own frivolity. In Evans' world, just because you have nothing to tell, doesn't mean you can't put on one hell of a show." Rating: 8/10  


Meet the Author

Follow Us