Gareth Evans' The Raid: Redemption is about as intense as a movie can get. It grabs hold of you within the first 15 minutes and doesn't let go until the very end. I shouldn't have to say much more to convince everyone who loves action movies to go and see this movie right away, so the review portion of this entry will be short. But I have a special surprise at the end!
The Raid: Redemption stars Iko Uwais, the star of Evans' previous film, Merantau, as Rama, a rookie in the B-Unit of a SWAT team attempting to raid a building swimming with criminals. The crime lord in charge of the building is Tama, a paranoid man who hides out on the 15th floor and has rigged up his building with security cameras and henchmen. The SWAT team must make their way from the bottom to the 15th story in order to capture Tama. All hell breaks loose when Tama learns of their presence and sends everyone in the entire building to take them down.
From then on, it's a non-stop barrage of violent shootouts, stabouts, punchouts, and kickouts. One great battle ensues after another, as Rama quickly reveals himself to be a one-man beatdown machine, working his way to the top of the building on his own. There are a few twists and turns along the way, but I don't want to ruin them, and really, the movie focuses on delivering to us exactly what we want to see: Carnage.
I love the way the battles progress. The SWAT team relies heavily on their guns, but they only have so much ammo. Once they run out, the movie shifts into martial arts mode, as Iko Uwais uses his tremendous skills to evade the blades of machete-wielding tenants. The scene stealer baddie is Mad Dog (Yayan Ruhian), a guy who, when given a choice between shooting someone and fighting hand-to-hand, will throw his gun away in a heartbeat. Crazy as he is, you've got to respect him.
The Raid is a pretty amazing feat, from a technical standpoint. It's action filmmaking at its purest, and Gareth Evans deserves the praise he is getting. To make a movie that never gives the audience a chance to rest, to shoot and put together in editing all these action sequences that are clear and easy for the viewer to track, is a difficult challenge indeed.
There's already buzz that Gareth Evans is hard at work on a sequel. While I'm sure it's in good hands, and have the utmost faith in him to pull it off, I thought it couldn't hurt to throw out a couple of scene suggestions. It's going to be hard to top the first one, so here are a couple of moments of pure ownage that just might do the job, as horribly rendered by yours truly in MS Paint.
Here we have Rama kicking a guy's head clean off. The head flies through the air, clear over to a nearby basketball hoop. The head goes through the hoop, NOTHING BUT NET, with a SWISH sound effect, and then falls into the open mouth of a hungry monster, or possibly an alligator or a dinosaur. I'm not sure what that is that I drew.
And here we have a bad guy slicing open Rama's throat with a long knife. Little does he realize that even Rama's blood is badass, as it flows out of the wound on his neck, forms a blood fist, and wallops him one.
If you read this, Mr. Evans, I just wanted to let you know, you can have these ideas FREE OF CHARGE. I already owe you one for giving us The Raid.
And for everyone else, if you're interested in seeing a couple more of my illustrated reviews, check out my popular Logan's Run entry, and Goke, Body Snatcher From Hell, which is actually my favorite of all the reviews I've done.