By:Tim Janson Review Date: Sunday, August 19, 2012 Source: Mania.com
The Raid: Redemption is an incredibly violent Indonesian action film that makes Battle Royale look like a Disney film. In the center of Jakarta’s worst slums is a derelict apartment building that is the stronghold of city’s most powerful drug lord, Tama Riyadi. The building has become a safe haven for city’s criminals as neither Tama’s rivals nor the police dare to attack him there…until now!
A 20-man SWAT team including expectant father Rama, arrive at the building to execute a pre-dawn raid on the building to take Tama down dead or alive. Slowly and methodically, the team sweeps the building beginning with the ground floor and working their way up. However when they reach the 6th floor, the cover of their secrecy is blown. Now the team finds itself trapped with hostiles both above and below when Tama calls in reinforcements. The raid now becomes a grueling test of survival at the team now seeks to just make it out of the building alive.
The Raid: Redemption’s plot is simple yet sometimes simple is best. In some ways the film plays like an old western where the lawmen find themselves ambushed and outgunned. The SWAT members have to call upon all of their skills and ingenuity just to keep from being killed, whether its hacking a hole in the floor of an apartment to reach a lower level or finding clever ways to utilize appliances as weapons.
Welsh Director Gareth Evans is credited with bringing the Indonesian martial art of Pencak Silat to the world of film in his previous directorial effort Merantau (2009) and continues to display the form in The Raid. Much of the fighting takes place in tight spaces like narrow hallways and cramped rooms which serves to highlight the incredible skill of the actors as well as technically precise fight choreography. Iko Uwais who plays Rama has been practicing the martial art for 20 years and he has put on exhibitions all over the world. His skill simply dazzles and he steals the show as a rookie cop who only wants to make it home to his wife.
Equally impressive is Yayan Ruhian who plays Tama’s strong arm enforcer known as “Mad Dog”. Ruhian has been a martial arts instructor as well as having developed his own inner breathing technique that he has been teaching for a number of years. Originally hired by Evans as a choreographer on Merantau Ruhian eventually one a starring role both due to his fighting and acting skills. The climactic fight between Rama and Mad Dog deserves to be mentioned among the greatest martial arts fights ever…it is THAT good.
The Raid: Redemption throws in a twist towards the end regarding exactly who ordered the raid to begin with that only serves to muddy the simple plot. Ignore the twist and just watch the film for some truly memorable fight scenes.
Audio commentary with Director Gareth Evans
Behind the scenes Video blogs (39:32) – Covers various aspects of the production including an actors boot camp where they went through weapons and combat training, and key scenes of the film
An Evening with Gareth Evans, Mike Schinoda, and Joe Trapanese (40:00) – an onstage Q&A session with the Director and the film’s composers
Behind the Music with Mike Shinoda and Joe Trapanese (11:00) a look at how the film’s musical score was composed.
In conversation with Gareth Evans and Mike Shinoda (11:30) the pair take turns asking each other questions about the film
Clayrats: The Raid (2:56) a humorous version of the film done in Claymation.
Mania Grade: A- Rated: Unrated Cast: Iwo Uwais, Donny Alamsyah, Yayan Ruhian Directed By: Gareth Evans Written By: Gareth Evans Distributor: Sony Home Entertainment Original Year of Release: 2011 Extras: See Below Series: