Capsule Movie Review – The Raid: Redemption (2012)
by HELEN GEIB
The setting of The Raid: Redemption is the Indonesian version of the projects: a decaying housing block dominated by thuggish criminals and the crime lord who runs the place like his personal fiefdom. The police unit, about 20 strong, sent in to bring him out is spotted just a few floors in; most are killed almost immediately. This focuses attention on Rama (Iko Uwais; also the co-choreographer), a straight-arrow cop and martial arts proficient with a personal agenda. It also shows a sound assessment of the audience’s capacity to take what’s about to be dished out. The few remaining heroes, and the meretricious officer they’re escorting, must run the gauntlet of villains lurking in every room, hall, and stairwell. Guns give way to machetes give way to hands and feet. The action is intense and realistic, and hard-hitting in more than just the obvious sense- it’s tough to watch a good man go down when we know him well enough to know that he is a good man. Rama’s climactic fight with the crime lord’s right-hand man achieves an emotional pitch of almost unbearable intensity. The story is formulaic but has the elemental simplicity of The Warriors (1979), which provided the template. The direction by Gareth Evans (who also wrote the screenplay) is a synthesis of the coherent, high shot count Hong Kong style and the highly mobile- not shaky- camera. Uwais is a killer combination of skills, screen presence, acting talent, youth, and good looks. It’s enough to make an action fan cry tears of joy.
3 1/2 stars
One thing I liked and one thing I didn’t like: The exploding fridge. Nothing comes to mind.