Action Movies, by Mike Richardson, 20 August 2012

Director: Gareth Evans

Stars: Iko Uwais, Ananda George and Ray Sahetapy

Country: USA

Runtime: 101 min

Release Date:

Language: English

The Raid: Redemption (or to give it its Indonesian title; Serbuan Maut) is the action movie that will define 2012 and spawn a slew of shandy-weak western imitations. The Raid is written and directed by Gareth Evans and stars unknown (for now) Iko Uwais. It’s a real sucker puck of s film as Evans hails from a mining town in Mid Glamorgan, and until only a few years ago lived in Swansea, “…doing web videos to teach people the Welsh language,” while Uwais worked as truck driver.

The Raid

The Raid

The making off the film may sound like a stranger than fiction story but the basic facts are that a Welsh martial arts fan (armed with a camera) and a leading man (armed with the traditional Indonesian martial art Pencak Silat) is only a decent script and a little money away from a real genre re-defining, bone crunching, ass kicking blockbuster.
The Raid marks second collaboration of Evans and Uwais after their first action film, Merantau released in 2009 and pushes a simple idea (as all the best ideas are) to new areas, and keeps (just) all the best bits from action movies.
The narrative begins in the heart of Jakarta’s slums where an impenetrable apartment building which became a safe house / fortress for the city’s most vicious gangsters, ruled from the “penthouse” level by evil (‘natch) crime lord Tama Riyadi. The towerblock is considered untouchable by the police, but an elite SWAT team (including Uwais) is tasked with raiding the building to capture and extradite Tama.

But just as things seem to be going to plan, the team are discovered and the murderous hordes are unleashed on the cops, as Tama announces over the building’s intercom, “ Go to work …and have a fun.” Against the odds, out manned, out gunned and out manoeuvred the team has to fight their way out; criminal by criminal, bullet by bullet, hand to hand and floor, by violent floor.

Behind all this choreographed chaos are issues of corruption and inefficient policing, issues of loyalty involving two brothers on different sides of the law. While it’s pleasing to see an action movie with a little depth, it’s the action that grabs you and shakes you.

The film is almost entirely confined to a single, ugly 15-storey concrete building where Tama’s brutal right hand man “Mad Dog”, (played by Yayan Ruhian) co-ordinates the robbers versus cops manhunt.
The real star of the Raid: Redemption is the Indonesian fighting style of silat, which ignores the balletic in favour of the ballistic, where hitting hard and often is the order of the day, with low kicks to sweep the leg and drop the competition.

The Raid offers a no frills and all thrills, chop-sockey movie with inventive action that runs at you headlong expertly paced and edited for maximum entertainment.

The Raid: Redemption Trailer

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