The Raid:Redemption is the very well received offering from the writer and director Gareth Evans, and should be considered more of an action experience than just an action film. The lucky audience get to some of the best fighting scenes to ever appear on the big screen, and every single minute is jaw dropping, heart pounding exhilaration.
The film is set in the Jakarta slums of Indonesia, and the story begins with an elite, 20 man SWAT team orchestration a raid on a 30 storey apartment building. Hiding inside, on the 15th floor, is the man they are seeking, a ruthless drug lord and kingpin (Ray Sahetapy) who rules his tenants, some of the city’s most dangerous criminals, with a rod of iron.
Although their mission starts off smoothly enough, everything goes awry and it is then up to a rookie cop Rama (Iko Uwais) to not only ensure his own survival, but also to rescue as many of his fellow officers as is possible. The actors in this film are exemplary and can do things that our actors simply aren’t capable of achieving. Uwais in a fight scene has to be seen to believed, and the other actors are just as talented and capable.
Two of the principal bad guys in the film are played by Doni Alamsyah and Yayan Ruhian, and they do things that you wouldn’t have believed the human body was capable of. These actors also have the ability to sell pain just as well as they can sell a punch in the face. And by the end of every exhausting fight sequence, you will feel as brutalised as the characters before you, and this is an incredible sensation.
While the actors are clearly highly skilled, it is Gareth Evans’ extraordinary direction of the combat scenes that really sells this film. Ignoring the normal stance of pulling everything so tight you don’t know what’s going on, or cutting it so quick that you can’t put the events or movements into any kind of sequence, Evans allows the audience to see the amazing detail of every blow.
The result of this steady camera work is that the audience feels as if they are actually part of the action, and boy does the adrenaline soar. The great strength of The Raid, however, contributes to its only problem; the energy of the fight scenes make the nitty gritty scenes where they are simply walking or talking feel as if they are in slow motion.
Out body chemistry is to blame for this, as when your heart starts beating at the pace that these sequences inspire, the immediate drop off to normality inevitably effects you emotionally. This isn’t really the fault of the film, as it is gripping from start to finish with solid twists and turns, but once we have witnessed a man jumping backwards over a smashed door frame and slamming a piece of wood through someone’s neck, nothing can match that.
Evans plays fast and loose with biology and physics, and The Raid:Redemption is ultimately one of the biggest thrill fests you will ever get to experience within the confines of a cinema.