Review: THE RAID: REDEMPTION (2012) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Thursday, 20 September 2012


RATING: 3.5/5

By now, you should have heard the worldwide sensation of THE RAID: REDEMPTION (known in Indonesia as SERBUAN MAUT). Ever since the movie made its successful round in last year's Toronto Film Festival, it has been flooded with overwhelming praise after praise -- until some of the critics even hailed THE RAID: REDEMPTION as "one of the best action movies in years". The movie proves to be so popular that a Hollywood remake is well on its way soon. Now here lies the question: Is THE RAID: REDEMPTION really that praiseworthy? Well, let's just say the movie is a little overrated. Pitch-perfect action movie this is not, but certainly a notch above than most action movies shown in the theaters nowadays.

The movie begins with a rookie cop named Rama (Iko Uwais), is assigned to join a 20-man SWAT team led by Sergeant Jaka (Joe Taslim) and Lieutenant Wahyu (Pierre Gruno) on an impossible mission: to raid a 15-storey apartment building filled with lots of criminals where the place is guarded by a notorious kingpin named Tama (Ray Sahetapy). At the beginning, the team manages to infiltrate the heavily-guarded apartment building floor by floor. But by the time they reach sixth floor, everything goes to hell -- a young boy stumbles upon them and quickly sounds the alarm to alert the rest of the occupants before he is shot and killed by one of the SWAT team members. The team's cover is blown wide open, as Tama begins to call in reinforcement and seals off all the exits. Nevertheless, a lot of the SWAT team members end up getting killed in gory fashion. The only faint hope is Rama, who is very good with martial-art skill. With no way out but up the floor, Rama braves himself to take down as many armed criminals as he can and vows to complete his mission by whatever means necessary.

The plot, written by Gareth Evans, is pretty straightforward and skimpy at best, which might disappoint those who are looking for solid narrative structure. Evans is clearly not interested in developing the plot, and even all the characters here are reduced into strict caricatures. At times, the monotonous tone that often plagues earlier in the movie is really a turn-off.

But once the action starts to kick in halfway, the movie jolts back to life and director Gareth Evans executes them with such fluidity it's like watching a symphony orchestra. Together with Matt Flannery and Dimas Imam Subhono's vivid camera work and Evans' own tight editing, the bone-crunching action sequences are downright gritty and in-your-face violence that has the visceral power to shock the viewers. Among memorable highlights are the machete fights in the hallway between Rama and a band of Tama's men; and of course, the climactic fight-to-the-death scene involving Rama, Andi (Donny Alamsyah) and Mad Dog (Yayan Ruhian) in a sealed room. The rest of the technical credits are ace, including Joe Trapanese and Mike Shinoda's thumping electronic score that often elevates the kinetic flair of the action sequences.

THE RAID: REDEMPTION is no doubt a true wet dream for die-hard action fans. On the plus note, Gareth Evans is currently working on a pre-production for the sequel titled as BERANDAL, which scheduled to screen sometimes in 2013.

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