The Raid: Redemption

The Raid (R) - Runtime: 101 minutes
Starring: Iko Uwais, Ananda George, Ray Sahetapy
Director: Gareth Evans

I've heard nothing but extremely positive reviews of when this hit stateside in May. The trailer itself blew me away - which is hard to do with an action movie. I am not a huge fan of action movies, let alone martial arts movies. But after hearing all the great things, I had to give this one a shot. And boy, this movie didn't disappoint. It's really hard to imagine what lasting impact a movie can have, but I guarantee this movie will be talked about and glorified for years to come. It's that good.

The set up is simple - a SWAT team is tasked with taking down a notorious mobster who is holed up in a big ass tower of a building with all sorts of bad thugs. Of course, after a successful breach of the building, the team becomes trapped inside and has to fight their way out in order to survive. This is straight up balls-to-the-walls action. There's never a dull moment - even when there's nothing happening, there's a lot a tension. You know people are going to get their heads bashed in and die, but the way the movie plays out this tension and action is very refreshing. It's not just some dumb action movie with crappy one liners. There's a decent set of characters that all have a history with the mobster and the people in it.

At the heart of the movie is Rama - a somewhat young face on the SWAT team who has a brother living in the building. Their story plays out dramatically while Rama fights for his life and I loved how the story ended. It's not perfect, but I would love to see some sort of sequel that hashes out unresolved issues - plus it's just another excuse to see some great action.

I'm not one to drool over choreography or fight scenes, but man, this is right up there with the hallway scene in Oldboy as far as being memorable. And that's the whole movie. This is strictly action porn. Which is an apt description because there's gangbang scenes, one-on-ones and even a three-way, just in action form. And much like porn, those looking for romance will find this movie lacking. Bros only - I think there's Rama's pregnant wife in the beginning, but there is one other woman (lying sick in bed, of course!) in the rest of the movie. This movie is not going to be breaking any metaphorical glass ceilings (maybe a few real ones, though).

Just multiply this scene by 30 and you have The Raid.

Even if you do not like action movies all that much, this is a testament to great filmmaking, editing and choreography. It's got a good story - you do get behind these characters and every fight scene is memorable. This movie will blow you away and keep coming back for more.

Rating: Own It!

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