The Raid: Redemption review

“On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.” – Fight Club

In Gareth Evans’ 100 minute, bone crunching, balls-to the wall, monstrosity of a testosterone-fest, the survival rate for everyone also drops to zero.  If you’re a bad guy, or even a good guy for that matter, prepare to have your ass severely kicked!

To put it lightly, The Raid: Redemption is Rambo’s wet dream.  It’s Hard Boiled, only deep fried.  It’s the inspiration for Hans Gruber’s Nakatomi Plaza invasion.  It’s the motivation behind John Matrix’s saw
blade attacks to the skull, limb penetrating machete karate chops, and axe-to-groin devastation.  When Tony Jaa retired from acting to live in a Thai Monastery, it’s probably because he saw an early work-print version of this film.  Get the point?

The Raid: Redemption (an official selection of the Toronto International Film Festival and Sundance 2012) centers around an impenetrable, derelict, gangster ridden block of apartment buildings, deep in the heart of Jakarta’s slums.  However, that impenetrable status is about to change when an elite SWAT team is tasked with raiding the building in order to take down the vicious crime lord in charge.

Indonesian martial arts maestro, Iko Uwais (Merantau – also directed by Gareth Evans) leads the charge in a star-turning performance as the one-name rookie officer simply known as Rama.  And this film is undoubtedly his showcase.  In fact, his performance as an unstoppable one-man army (he’s like Robocop without the Roboparts) is so death defying and over the top, it makes you wonder exactly how he’s ever going to be able to top this.  But this is a good thing, and there’s not a moment of the film that I wasn’t in awe of his abilities to off every single bad guy in a multitude of extremely violent ways.  There’s one particular scene in which he and a fellow ass-kicker take on one of the lead assholes, in a fight that’s for the ages.  If I wasn’t in a press screening, I probably would have stood up and screamed “you just got fucked up, motherfucker”, or “FATALITY!”

If you’re like me and have been waiting impatiently for this films release, trust me:  Believe the hype.  The Raid: Redemption is the most punishing, badass film you will see all year.  It’s got style, it’s got substance, and most importantly, it knows exactly what you came to see.

Action fans prepare.  It doesn’t get any better than this.

The Raid Redemption opens today at the Riverview.

Official site.

Author: Josh Goldbloom

Josh Goldbloom is the Founder/Artistic Director of The Awesome Fest, Philadelphia’s most exciting year-round, multi-venue film series. Josh has previously served as Program Director for the Philadelphia Film Society and Artistic Director of the Philadelphia Cinefest.

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