I don’t often clap in theaters. Even so I’ll grant a good film its dues when the credits roll, or after a scene I’d been waiting for finishes. But it’s a rare moment indeed when an action film, with no prior literature to stem from, provokes me to applaud even before it ends. The Raid: Redemption was that film, a gore-ridden chaos fest with all the power and choreography to make it one of the year’s best offerings so far.
“Destructive” is the term best suited to The Raid: Redemption. Lead Iko Uwais takes complete charge in this subtitled Indonesian film as his character Rama, using a martial arts style called Pencak Silat to beat his myriad of opponents to a pulp. Each fight scene elicits a chorus of cringing “oohs” and “ahhs” as Rama stabs, slices, punches, kicks, and pretty much decimates everyone in his way. It’s enough to remind viewers what pure adrenaline in theaters can be, forsaking the big budget, overkill action styles for beautifully choreographed hand-to-hand interactions.
The climactic moment I alluded to above came at the end of a specific fight, a draining multi-minute affair which showed off the actors’ and choreographers’ talents in a spectacular fashion. Pencak Silat is a relentless and unmerciful art, a fact well-depicted in the superb camerawork. As a whole The Raid: Redemption is a collection of intense angles and point-break violence, perfect for the action flick fan looking for the perfect pop-and-popcorn pleasure.
The only real portion of The Raid: Redemption not worth celebrating is its story, although once it wraps up there’s little to complain about thanks to the overwhelming amount of action. One twist may find you unprepared, but for the most part this screenplay is predictable. On the other hand though, the plot’s simplicity and characters’ terse natures allow the combat and survival to seem more realistic in comparison. Thanks to this, there’s also more heart and inner dilemma kept below the surface, enough to keep the story believable and tense.
Don’t let The Raid: Redemption pass you by, especially if you’ve ever had a soft spot for martial arts films. There’s a lot to enjoy and more than enough for a repeat viewing. And after The Hunger Games, though a fantastic adaptation of the book in my opinion, the world still needed a legitimate action flick without all the surrounding fluff. The Raid: Redemption fills that spot.