‘The Raid: Redemption’ – Movie Review.

27 May

So yesterday to kill time before a gig I went to see The Raid: Redemption in Cineworld. I didn’t know anything about it, and frankly I wasn’t expecting much going in. That said, rather than seeming particularly good from the poster, it just seemed less terrible-looking than the other movies on offer. So I sat down in a half-full screen 11 and it wasn’t long before my mind was blown.

The Raid is the best action film I’ve seen in a long time, and a contender for the best one I’ve ever had the pleasure to watch. The story goes that an Indonesian equivalent of a SWAT team is going into an infamous apartment block run by a nefarious criminal mastermind, who lets out rooms to thugs needing a place to lay low. The ‘main’ character is a young member of the team who we see at the beginning has a pregnant wife.

This poster does not exemplify the awesomeness contained in the film it advertises.

It has it all: awesome fight scenes, fast-paced running around and spectacular shoot-outs. The Indonesian film is of course not in English but has English subtitles. That said, the dialogue is actually really good. While the characters aren’t developed much past the main guy, and exactly who  the various villains are is pretty much left to the imagination, The Raid manages to have a very involving story which sucks you in and makes you empathise with the good guys. Frankly, their personalities and backstories, while kind of present, are irrelevant; this film is all about the action, which it delivers in spades.

What impressed me most about the film is the fact that over the course of its 101-minute duration, it does not let up for a single second. You are literally kept at the edge of your seat the entire time, and are left almost tired by the end of it. Now, this is probably stereotyping, but going into an Asian action film I expected lots of kung-fu scenes, and I was not disappointed. The hand-to-hand combat is amazingly choreographed and superb to watch. Never mind the rather vast array of arsenal on display here –

This leads on nicely to the issue of the violence. The Raid is a very appropriate 18s-rated film. The intensity of the fighting is not so over the top as to render it silly; however it is all realistic enough to make it very believable, and quite brutal. People are impaled on things, thrown out windows and literally no region of the body is left un-stabbed in this film. The one absurd moment of action is actually quite brilliant: it involves a fridge, a methane tank and a grenade. Oh man that bit is awesome.

The film is really well lit. The action scenes are caked in darkness while the more serene moments of solace, such as quiet snippets of dialogue, are bathed in artificial light, contrasting the violence with peace.This gloom combined with the paranoia that the film exudes due to the entirety of the movie being filmed indoors makes The Raid: Redemption a distinctly pessimistic film. It’s dark, it’s violent as all hell and overall it’s an incredibly well-made film that I’d urge all non-squeamish people to check out!

Simon says: grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go. Wonderful!

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