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The Raid: Redemption

A movie directed by Gareth Evans

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Ultra-Violent Indonesian Action Film Finally Takes America by Storm!

  • Apr 10, 2012
I’ve been so disappointed with the recent flurry of Hollywood commercial films that I had to once again use my nose to find a great movie amongst the independent/foreign film circuit in my local neighborhood theater. This is how I came across the Indonesian Action film called “The Raid: Redemption” (Indonesian title: “Serbuan Maut” translates to "The Deadly Attack"). This is the second collaboration between fight choreographers Iko Iwais and Yayan Ruhian after the film “Merantau". Hailed as one of the best action films in recent years in the Toronto film festival, the film is a grand display of martial arts, gunplay and unrelenting brutal bloody violence that can make the action junkie salivate and jump for joy.

                     Alfridus Godfred as Machete Gang in "The Raid."

Rama (Iko Uwais) is a member of a SWAT team led by Jaka (Joe Taslim) that has been tasked with the assault on a rundown apartment building and removing its owner, Tama (Ray Sahetapy) who is also a vicious drug lord. The building has been used as a safe haven for killers, rapists and robbers, as the place is a ‘no enter’ zone for even the police. When a spotter blows their plans of assault, things go horribly wrong and the SWAT team ends up nearly annihilated with a very small number surviving the assault. Rama and Jaka must fight their way through the many floors of the dilapidated tenement not to complete their mission but to try to survive their bloody ordeal.

The film’s first act is your standard set up for your average plot made to display bloody mayhem. Director/writer Gareth Evans (a Welsh director based in Indonesia) does not stray from the film’s intentions, the film has a very simple plot and you know exactly how things will go as soon as the SWAT team leaves their armored vehicle. The film has three acts and in each act never slows down in mounting tension, suspense, and the development of its plot and main characters. Despite the simplicities of its devices and premise, the script does manage to bring about surprises and twists that aid in the film’s flow, and the direction avoids wallowing too deep into the display of blood and violence.

                  Joe Taslim as Jaka and R. Iman Aji as Eko in "The Raid."

                  Doni Alamsyah as Andi and Yayan Ruhian as Mad Dog in "The Raid."

                  Ray Sahetapy as Tama in "The Raid."

Evans does an amazing job and would make most Hollywood action directors green with envy. “The Raid” is a masterful presentation when it comes to violence and an example as to how one needs to do an action film. It never relents in displaying the raw grittiness and brutality in the gunplay and fights. The film is not for the squeamish as the film is truly a grand display of violence. The films first act opens up with the actual assault and I was left breathless. It was so refreshing to see an action film this bloody, which gives it a realistically edgy tone. The direction was quick and precise, the film was amazingly suspenseful as the SWAT team takes on the residents of the tenement. There were some scenes that were shot in almost pitch black and only shadows and close ups appear to guide the viewer to what is going on. It is all about trying to survive as the supposed hunters become the hunted. The direction moves the action from floor to floor and each scene proved more suspenseful and intense than the previous one.

                    A scene from ``The Raid.''

                   Joe Taslim as Jaka and Yayan Ruhian as Mad Dog in "The Raid."

Once things settle down a little, we see the film through the eyes of Jaka and Rama as they try to do what they must to survive their ordeal, and this leads to a lot of hand to hand combat. “The Raid” showcases the Indonesian martial art Pencak Silat, which is similar to Muay Thai, Arnis and Kuntao in some ways; however, the art is also quite useful with the use of different weapons that includes the machete, Kujang and the Gedak. The fight choreography is incredible, you feel the drama in the encounters and you can definitely feel the tension between the combatants. The shots are kept in a good distance with some tricky editing that display the fights from the top, side and even up close. The actors are very capable in the fights and no wires were used in the choreography. To give the film a feeling of authenticity, there is hardly any show boating, and the fights are what they are supposed to be--a fight for keeps; this means, the fighters are going in for the kill. As a result the fights are very bloody and ultra-violent--and the fights always have a huge ‘money shot‘ to express its brutality. It makes “Fight Club” look like a kiddie flick, and despite the blood and violence, the moves are filled with grace that makes the scenes almost like an art form.

                     Joe Taslim as Jaka and Yayan Ruhian as Mad Dog in "The Raid."

Yayan Ruhian as Mad Dog and Joe Taslim as Jaka in "The Raid." Joe Taslim as Jaka and Yayan Ruhian as Mad Dog in "The Raid."

The characters are pretty simple, but I have to say it was so easy to root for Rama and hate the bad guys. Clearly, Rama was left fighting for his life. To the script’s credit, it presents some surprises to keep thing grounded, as to not wallow too much in the bloody mayhem. The deaths were also well timed, they came as sort of a surprise and adds more to the film’s visceral impact. For a film like this, performances are judged with the action and the entire cast forms wonderful chemistry in all the mayhem. Yayan Ruhian does almost steal the show, as he proves to be one of the best bad asses to hit an action film. It is all formula in action I know, but the way things were set up were so exciting that I never cared anymore.

I haven’t been left breathless in a film in quite awhile. I love martial arts films and this is indeed one of the best ones made in the past 10 years. It is indeed one of the best action movies to grace the screen. Evans wanted to promote Silat in his films, and believe me, he succeeds. He captures the right atmosphere and style for a truly gritty and brutal action film that pushes the limits of martial arts fighting. Raw, edgy and visceral, “The Raid: Redemption” is on its way to become an action classic.

Be warned. This film is not for the squeamish.
HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION for Action Junkies. [4 ½ Out of 5 Stars]

                        Poster art for "The Raid."

Ultra-Violent Indonesian Action Film Finally Takes U.S. Cinemas By Storm! Ultra-Violent Indonesian Action Film Finally Takes U.S. Cinemas By Storm!

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April 22, 2012
"Refreshing to see an action film this bloody" - lol - I love it! I may try to see this one as a rental at some point, when I'm in the mood for awesome blood and gory fights....I like those every once in a while! Great review Will!!
April 25, 2012
Thanks for the read, Brenda. You know I love me my action movies.
April 11, 2012
Thank you for a terrific recommendation. I haven't yet figured out how to handle the "fun to read" feature. You've got me wanting to see the movie, but I'm not expecting it to inspire a lot of laughs.
April 11, 2012
Thanks for the read and comment, Peter. It is all good. :)
April 12, 2012
The movie opens today in Buffalo. Your endorsement was just in time. Thanks.
April 10, 2012
Looks like a winner at the box office!
April 10, 2012
I may even go see it again if it is still showing next week (foreign movies usually don't last too long in movie theaters)
April 11, 2012
If it's a good action movie it will last. Can you rent it?
April 10, 2012
I really think I'm gonna try to go see this a 2nd time around. I haven't done that in a long time. Awesome review pakman, do you think a sequel is possible?
April 10, 2012
Oh yes! (spoiler) I would love to see them play the card of the two brothers from opposing sides of the law. There is room for another story, but it'll have to be more creative in plotting.
April 10, 2012
true true because at that point I doubt they won't have the the use of the apartment complex for the whole base of the film but I love that idea. Also certain parts of this film reminded me of Breaking News. You remember that movie?
April 10, 2012
Dude, "Breaking News" was one of my faves from Johnnie To. I recommend you take a look on "The Man from Nowhere"--it was one movie that I think is on par with the excitement I felt with this movie. "I Saw the Devil" from the director of Oldboy is pretty awesome too; I am assuming you haven't seen them yet, if you haven't please make time asap. I still need to see "Clash" and "Stool Pigeon" I have the dvds at home sitting for 6 months LOL! 
April 10, 2012
Following up on a possible sequel, now that I think about it--they can use another isolated area like a prison, but it may be a sort of "Assult on Precinct 13" and I doubt they'll do that. They should go for a small street or an entire city block next time, that would be real interesting.
April 10, 2012
YEEESSSS, I want to see this so bad man. Ever since I first saw the trailer. They have some showings that are going to happen here in Austin. My brother and I are planning on seeing it.
April 10, 2012
This movie was awesome! It was such a rush watching it that the last time I felt this way about an action film recently was THE MAN FROM NOWHERE. You will love this!

I can't wait for the sequel: "The Raid: Retaliation"....
More The Raid: Redemption reviews
review by . April 16, 2012
In the middle of Jakarta's slums lies an impenetrable apartment complex which is a safe house for the city's most dangerous murderers, killers and gangsters. The crappy apartment block has been considered untouchable to even the police. It all changes when an elite team is tasked with raiding the building in order to take down the notorious crime lord Tama Riyandi who runs it and ultimately resides at the top of this insane game of death. Getting ready to tackle this risky and dangerous layered …
review by . September 16, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
**** out of ****    In one of the darkest corners of Jakarta, Indonesia there is a run-down apartment complex that houses a plethora of criminals, drug addicts, killers, and the crime lord Tama Riyada (Ray Sahetapy). His kingdom has remained unscathed due to the unsuccessful attempts on the part of the local police to smoke out the place and its inhabitants (his tenants), although the authorities - a Lieutenant Wahyu (Pierre Gruno) in particular - have had enough of Tama's supposed …
review by . April 23, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         The Raid: Redemption is unwatchably bad – a film that has no ambition other than to be noisy, aggressive, and relentlessly violent. Watching it is a little like being trapped in an arcade game and having absolutely no control over it. The characters, developed solely on shallow and overused clichés, are essentially targets in a shooting gallery, most of them serving no purpose apart from awaiting their cue to die in a savage attack. …
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William ()
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About this movie


  • The Raid: Redemption
  • Opened March 23, 2012 (Limited 3/23) | Runtime:1 hr 41 min
  • R Strong Brutal Bloody Violence and Language
  • Information for parents: Common Sense Media says not for kids.
  • Rama, a member of a special forces team, arrives at a rundown apartment block with a mission to remove its owner, a notorious drug lord. The building has become a sanctuary to killers, gangs, rapists and thieves seeking accommodation in the one place they know they cannot be touched by the police. When a spotter blows their cover, Rama and his team must fight their way through every floor and every room not just to complete their mission but to survive their bloody ordeal.
  • Cast: Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim, Doni Alamsyah, Yayan Ruhian, Pierre Gruno, Ray Sahetapy, Tegar Satrya, Iang Darmawan
  • Director: Gareth Evans
  • Genres: Art House/Foreign
  • Poster art for "The Raid."
  • from wikipedia.org:
  • The Raid: Redemption (Indonesian: Serbuan maut) is an Indonesian martial arts action film directed by Gareth Evans and starring Iko Uwais which was released worldwide in March of 2012. This is the second collaboration of Evans and Uwais after their first action film, Merantau released in 2009. Both films showcase the traditional Indonesian martial art Pencak Silat. The fight choreographers of The Raid are Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhian who also worked on Merantau. The US release of the film features music by Mike Shinoda of Nu Metal band Linkin Park and Joseph Trapanese.
    After ...
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    Director: Gareth Evans
    Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller
    Release Date: Mar. 23, 2012 (limited), April 13, 2012 (Nationwide)
    MPAA Rating: R
    Screen Writer: Gareth Evans
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