For action movie buffs like me, "The Raid: Redemption" has not only been one of the most anticipated action films of the year, but of all-time. Why? We've never seen a movie quite like this in the U.S. "The Raid" is one of the most violent movies I've ever seen, but the movie doesn't just focus on the action sequences to complete the picture.
Even the teaser trailer received an 'R' rating, featuring quick shots of bloody fighting, gun battles and brains splattering. Yes, we get a glimpse of all that in just the trailer. I was concerned many of the scenes were giving away in the energetic trailer, but to my surprise, that wasn't the case.
In the slums of Indonesia's capital and largest city, Jakarta, lies a desolate 15-story apartment building which houses some of the country's most dangerous killers, drug lords, and gangsters. The building has been pronounced untouchable to even the most elite of police. When a special forces team is instructed to go in and take down one of the world's most hazardous drug lords, it will be a most difficult and treacherous mission for them.
Just when you think the highly skilled team has the mission under control, a spotter inside the apartment building blows their cover and all goes haywire. The news of their break-in reaches the drug lord and the lights shut off, the exits are blocked and the merciless fighting begins.
What separates "The Raid" from other brutal action films is its story and how the audience was able to emotionally connect with the main character, Rama. We see Rama's family at the start of the film and in a few flashbacks while he's in the building. Although the scenes are short, they're necessary for us to feel compassion for him and what motivates him to save members of his team and himself.
Indonesian martial artist Iko Uwais brings the kick-ass Rama to life, making us root for him and rejoice in his victories. Uwais, along with Yayan Ruhian, choreographed the intense fight sequences that made up the majority of the film. You won't be able to take your eyes off the screen during these battles and, at times, will have to remind yourself to breathe. This film is not for the squeamish.
Director Gareth Evans is passionate about the Indonesian martial art of Silat and wanted to promote the art to international audiences through his films. "The Raid" has some of the most unique and intense fighting sequences I have ever seen. Evans mixes the beautifully choreographed fights with Mike Shinoda's (Linkin Park) epic score and just lets the audience soar through the movie on the edge of their seats.
"The Raid" is bloody, brutal and a nonstop adrenaline ride that is choreographed and edited so perfectly, its practically poetic.