This week, I review the most hardcore action movie to come out in decades that everyone should see, even if you have to make a road trip to reach a theater playing it! “THE RAID: REDEMPTION”!
On February 12, 2012, I posted the very first Papa Kenn Reviews video for Chronicle, a found footage superhero movie starring relative nobodies and created by relative nobodies that blew me away and raised the bar incredibly high for not only found footage movies, but superhero movies as well! Well on March 31st, I saw a movie that was so hardcore, so unrelenting in its brutality and extreme fight scenes that every other action movie I have seen in my lifetime seems like a snack for it to much on!
The Raid: Redemption…Oh ho-ho! It has raised the bar so high for action movies that it will be impossible for me to not compare it to any that come out from now on! The Matrix? DELETED! Terminator? TERMINATED! Saving Private Ryan!? DISHONORABLY DISCHARGED! Kill Bill!? Killed! Star Wars!? (original trilogy) VADER’D! Aliens!? PREDATOR’D! Indiana Jones!? NAZI’D! Batman!? -er, right…um, this was getting a bit ridiculous anyway.
I want to go ahead and apologize to the creators, the actors, and everyone else involved with this movie because I know I am going to mispronounce a lot of names and words here. If you’re watching the video, the proper spelling will be displayed so you can laugh at my expense because I’m originally from the southern US and can’t pronounce words.
That being said…
The movie takes place in the slums of Jakarta, Indonesia. Specifically, a 30-floor apartment building run by crime lord Tama Riyandi (along with his 2nd in command Andi and henchman Mad Dog) that serves as a safe house for dangerous criminals and murderers. We are immediately introduced to Rama, a rookie officer and expectant father, who is part of a 20 man SWAT team led by Sergeant Jaka assigned with infiltrating the building and taking Tama down. Then, all hell breaks loose! Not in the sense of “oh hey look at those CGI robots fighting and explosions”, no. I mean one of the most gut-wrenching experiences you’ll ever see on film explodes on the screen in the form of intense gunfights and beautifully raw martial arts battles that leave you in blood-pumping, adrenaline-rushing awe!
Now, I didn’t grow up watching a lot of Kung-Fu or other martial arts movies, but I do know that they can have some truly amazing fight scenes. In American cinema we’ve had Kill Bill, Bloodsport, The Matrix, and a number of films starring the excellent martial arts choreography of Jet Li and Jackie Chan (including The Forbidden Kingdom which starred them both). Then of course there is Bruce Lee and “Enter The Dragon”, the classic film that people refer to when talking about martial arts movies in America, and often takes the #1 spot in most peoples’ lists in the genre.
This may sound like heresy to some, but I contend that The Raid: Redemption is just as good and has just as much potential to be a martial arts classic as Enter The Dragon. I obviously can’t tell you about certain scenes without major spoilers so…
Technical Reasons Why The Raid: Redemption Is Just As Good As Enter The Dragon And Therefore Very Very Awesome:
1) They both have a simple plot. That explanation I mentioned a minute or so ago? Yeah, that’s pretty much the whole plot. Sure there are a couple sub-plots and some minor character development (another similarity to ETD), but the rest of it is pure unadulterated ass kicking! No love story and no unnecessary drama, just a body count that would make Tony Montana pee his pants and enough brutal injuries to make the most hardened ER doctor break down like Captain Kirk in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan.
2) The dialogue and acting is simple. This goes along with the previous point and can best be put as: “There’s only talking when necessary”. No “witty banter”, no “pointless monologues”. If a character has something to say, then there’s a good reason for it. Otherwise, the dialogue mostly consists of “AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!” Seriously, there was so much screaming that I’m pretty sure at least 5 characters go Super Saiyan before it’s over.
The movie is subtitled on account of it being spoken entirely in Indonesian (I know, in Indonesia. Who’d have guessed it?), but don’t let that scare you away because again, “There’s only talking when necessary”. The only excuse you have for not seeing it because of subtitles is because you’re illiterate, and considering it’s rated R, most of you shouldn’t have this problem by age 17.
3) EYE GOUGINGLY AWESOME ACTION! What Bruce Lee was to Kung Fu (and countless other martial arts), “The Raid” and literally its entire cast are to Pencak Silat: a martial arts style (or styles) created in Indonesia. What it may lack in some of the finesse in comparison to Bruce Lee’s fighting, it more than makes up for in bone crunching, fast paced fluidity.
Go see this movie. If you love action movies and want to see the best one to come out in a long long time, go see it. It’s only showing in select theaters, so go online and find the closest theater that has it. Michael Bay, you’d do well to go see this movie and witness what a good action film looks like. It doesn’t need explosions, it doesn’t need expensive CGI, it’s doesn’t need a convoluted story filled with bad dialogue and pointless love stories that serve no purpose whatsoever. In this one movie, Gareth Evans was able to pull off a more convincing and powerful experience than every single movie with Bay’s name on it combined. Bay provides meaningless spectacle. Evans provides excellence.
I give The Raid: Redemption 10 “dented skulls” out of 10.
I’m Papa Kenn, and I’ll see you next review.