If you like your action visceral, your characters clichéd and your plot with just enough twists to keep things interesting, then you’re going to love The Raid: Redemption. An Indonesian flick whose simple story is just an excuse for exceptionally choreographed movie that follows a group of SWAT cops in a botched raid on a gangster’s fortified slum apartment. When things go bad, the drugged-out residents swarm the cops leading to some fantastic martial arts fights that will leave you breathless, exhausted, and completely satisfied.
The cast is unfamiliar to American audiences and, frankly the characters are fairly thin. That’s not to say the performances are bad, quite the opposite: The actors do good work with the simple material. The protagonist is a rookie cop, Jaka, on one last mission before his wife gives birth to their first child. He goes up against Tama, a sadistic mobster who takes great pleasure in both power and exercising it. A brutal chess match, The Raid: Redemption is plenty of fun.
While you aren’t here for the story—the movie is little more than a well-produced professional wrestling film—it has enough twists and turns to keep you interested between battles. Considering early reviews said that story was nonexistent, I was pleasantly surprised. Clichéd, yes, but enjoyable nonetheless.
But the fights. Oh, the glorious battles you will see. Gunfire aplenty with all manner of weapons. One on one fights. Two on one fights. One against a mob. Brutal fights. Amazing stunts. Plenty of gore. By the end I needed a breather but was utterly satisfied by what I saw: The gritty fights are inventive enough to keep the film from getting stale.
The Raid: Redemption isn’t high art but it will get your blood pumping. The kind of simple, straightforward action flick that keeps you on the edge of your seat, The Raid left me with both a smile and shaking my head, ashamed I had so much fun.
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