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"The Raid: Redemption" goes the distance

By Michelle Mullins
On April 23, 2012

  • Redemption. Rama, played by Iko Uwais, fights for his life in The Raid

Extreme violence, intense suspense and killer fight scenes hit the screen in the Indonesian smash hit "The Raid: Redemption." With less than 30 minutes of dialogue in this action-packed film, viewers settle in for a powerful display of human strength, stamina and determination. 

The film opens with a rookie SWAT officer training and getting ready for his mission for the day. This rookie goes by the name of Rama (Iko Uwais) and is a father-to-be. As he kisses his wife goodbye, he embarks on a life-or-death mission to take over an apartment complex run by a ruthless drug lord, who goes by the name of Tama Riyadi. Along with Rama, 19 other SWAT officers set up to take over the building. As they bum rush the apartment, they take down the criminals associated with Riyadi all too easily, and before they know it they are in way over their heads. From here on out, the team battles for mere survival and will get lucky if they can get anywhere close to Riyadi.

The casting directors must be having a celebration somewhere after picking the perfect lead actor for this film. Uwais is phenomenal in his role, as not only is he absolutely amazing in action sequences, but his portrayal of Rama is flawless and completely believable. Rama finds himself in numerous near-death situations, and, whether it is a flying fist or a gun preparing to pistol whip him to death, he pushes through and keeps trying to reach Riyadi. Uwais' training in the Indonesian martial art of Silat paid off in this movie. The particular martial art form of Silat in this film is a combination of bladed weaponry, joint manipulation and physical strikes. Uwais moves so effortlessly during his fighting sequences that it proves his mastery of this fighting style. 

This film utilizes every cent of its meager $1 million budget to startling affect. The stunts performed are extremely gruesome and must have taken days to shoot. They are perfect with fight sequences, including characters getting slammed on tables, hit with chairs, thrown through doors, slammed into walls and thrown from balconies. The director, Gareth Evans, really knows how to manage his budget. While action movies such as "Mission Impossible -- Ghost Protocol" ($145 million budget) or "The Avengers" ($220 million) pour a ton of money into explosions, car chases and CGI,  Evans pulls back the reigns. He slams this movie into a close-quartered area and pushes the action to the same heights as these other movies for less than 1 percent of the cost.

In addition to the action and acting, suspense runs high throughout the film. Rama could be killed at any moment, and anyone could be out to get him. The SWAT officers could have an informant for the enemy, or vice versa. Enemies are hiding around corners, behind doors, in the rooms above and the rooms below. Scenes are sometimes cut short before the fate of a character is known so this leaves the audience wondering and waiting to see if characters are still alive.

Subtitles are not a hindrance in this movie. Since there is such a small amount of dialogue, it is easy to forget that a different language is spoken. Fighting for a family, for a life or for survival is universal.  Suspense and action are also universal, and all of these things put together make actual conversation mostly unnecessary.

With talks of a Hollywood remake and a sequel in the works already, this film is definitely a must-see. It is on fire and shows no signs of stopping. Suit up for nonstop action and prepare for gut-wrenching yet entrancing fight sequences in "The Raid: Redemption."

"The Raid: Redemption" receives 5 out of 5 stars.

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