The Raid: Redemption (2012) – Run Time: 101 Minutes
Available on Netflix Instant: No / Buy The Raid: Redemption (2012) on Amazon
Paid Streaming/Purchase: Vudu, Google Play, or iTunes
(Note: This film was watched under initial protest relating to the fact that the cover of the DVD claimed that one of the members of Linkin Park was responsible for the soundtrack as an incentive to watch this film. Would someone watch this film to hear a score or original music by a member of Linkin Park?)
Action In Any Other Language…
In my very limited research, many overlooked films are skipped by the general public for three primary reasons: a lack of English AKA “reading” or subtitles, they are old, or they are excruciatingly long and patience levels in this day and age aren’t what they used to be when D.W. Griffith ran the film industry.
The Raid: Redemption is one of those… barely. This Indonesian action film has a moderate amount of dialogue, the kind of dialogue that if you were deaf and there were no subtitles, you couldn’t miss what’s going on.
Reminiscent of the first time I saw another Thai film, the mid 2000s martial arts film Ong-bak and was blown away by the dexterity of its diminutive yet powerful star Tony Jaa and his predilection for using his elbow to crack the top of skulls of his enemies. Its ridiculous opening sequence that turns villagers into monkeys playing Muay Thai king of the hill, throwing each other off a tree is singed deep within the recesses of my mind only to reappear when I see multiple people climbing a tree. (Do kids climb trees anymore or is that forbidden in this modern world for safety/liability reasons?)
Opening with a ticking watch, the clock is on for some hot action! Cut to our protagonist Rama. See hero exercise, boy is he powerful, see pregnant wife. See poignant reason why police offer is serving and protecting as part of the BOPE (Indonesian SWAT Team).
Rama: “I’ll bring him back.”
That is about all you actually need to know about the impetus for action in The Raid: Redemption, a line right out of any generic screenplay Schwarzenegger or Van Damme film of the 80s/90s delivered with just about as much dramatic zeal.
The zeal is saved for the real star here: hot, hot martial arts beatdowns.
The mission? Take out the feared kingpin Tama who is holed in a den of his dealers and cronies. Don;t worry, we’ll show you why Tama is insane right from the first time we see him. Cut to quick introductions of the SWAT team (and their first mission right out of the academy nonetheless!) with the bad ass, the scared one, the commander and the big boss who is “mysteriously” tagging along. When are we gonna get there?!?
Why Seek Out The Raid: Redemption?
As you might be able to tell, this all seems pretty formulaic when it comes to premise and plot but the excellence here is in the execution. Usually, my adventures in film land lead me to the low/moderate budget or older films that use ingenuity to replace what is lacking in resources. And oftentimes when this lack of financing meets a hungry filmmaker or creative team, the final product is full of creativity, ingenuity and passion. I’m sure the film had a decent budget on Indonesian standards ($1.1 million according to IMDB) which is pennies falling out of the US studio pockets but this is no $200 million dollar epic. This film rests on the creativity of the director, fight choreographer and production team to make this teem with adrenaline.
If you saw the recent and underrated Judge Dredd reboot starring Karl Urban, you will be quite familiar with this story as they are quite parallel and excel at what they are doing in a very similar locale. Both take a location (an building fully inhabited by villians) and make them a major character in their story.
But where Dredd is primarily a cold-blooded robotic member of the somewhere in the near future police force, Rama has some ulterior motives of exposition that come to light. If you have a secret pocket in your film watching soul that loves speed, realism and precision in your action films like early Jet Li (not the historic stuff necessarily) or the previously mentioned Ong Bak, it won’t hurt to give The Raid a whirl to cleanse the palette.
And if this isn’t your cup of tea, don’t worry I’ve got plenty of slow brooding dramas on deck.
Scenes in The Raid: Redemption to Watch For
The First Bullet is Shot
The Hole in the Floor Scene
Rama vs. Entire Crews of Marauding Drug Dealers (Multiple Times)
The Chemistry Room Fight