I’m not sure what all I can say about The Raid: Redemption that hasn’t already been said over the past week since it’s release on disc. But the three words that repeatedly came out of my mouth while watching The Raid were holy fucking shit! With his third film, director Gareth Evans has built a monument to action insanity as tall and dangerous as the building it is set in. The film opens with Rama (Iko Uwais) saying his morning prayers and heading straight into a workout that would send me straight back to bed for a nap. This is our first glimpse of the style of hand to hand combat we’re in store for, as he lays a beating on a heavy bag, alternating fists and elbows with rapid fire speed. He quickly says goodbye to his pregnant wife and has an even quicker exchange with his father, only saying “I’ll bring him back”.
The next scene finds Rama and nineteen other heavily armed cops in riot gear in the back of a truck on the way to raid the hideout of the biggest drug lord in the city, Tama (Ray Sahetapy). The building is a thirty floor complex that house not only Tama and his drug lab, but a large selection of the city’s criminal element. All safe from the law as, until now, the building was a no go zone. The squad breaks into the building within the first ten minutes of the film and from there on in all hell breaks loose. Our introduction to Tama and his main henchmen, Mad Dog (Yayan Ruhian) and Andi (Doni Alamsyah), is indicative of the absolute brutality to come. Five men are bound, gagged and lined up on their knees. Tama begins to shoot each one point-blank in the back of the head. When he runs out of bullets he rests the gun on the final man’s shoulder, gets a hammer from a desk drawer and slams it into the man’s skull. From this point forward the violence escalates to horror film levels.
The residents take to the halls like an angry pack of wolves to protect the building from the police threat, armed with knives, machetes, a fuck ton of guns and more fists, feet and elbows then you can count. It is full on chaos that rarely slows down for things like character development, dialogue or plot. Those things would only get in the way of the driving force behind The Raid, which is pure tension that leads to a sheer barrage of ass kicking. At one point Rama is assaulted in the hallway by a seemingly endless amount of thugs. For every one he disposes of two more are right there to take his place. It’s an amazing display of both cinematic brutality and actor Iko Uwais’ incredible martial arts skills. He is truly amazing and his skills are equaled only by Tama’s head thug, Mad Dog. The fight scenes between the two are some of the most brutal and incredible fight scenes put to film. They fill the screen using every bit of space in a ultraviolent dance of sorts. It needs to be seen to be truly appreciated.
There hasn’t been an action film like this in years, if ever. It rivals anything out of Hong Kong and definitely beats bloody all of the eighties action dinosaurs trying to revitalize their dead careers. This is the real deal. I honestly can not recommend this film more.
The Raid scores a perfect 5/5 Screaming Jamies