Writer: Gareth Evans
Stars: Iko Uwais, Ananda George and Ray Sahetapy
Run Time: 101 min
Looking to kill some time with a rock 'em sock 'em action flick? After having my mind and senses blown away by The Expendables 2, there couldn't possibly be another testosterone fueled, murder rampage that would hold my attention. Boy, was I wrong. The Raid: Redemption meets and exceeds requirements in that department. This uber-violent, martial arts spectacle will surely please the most jaded adrenaline junkies and might just be a new classic.What happens when you fill an apartment building with weapon-toting criminals, a twenty-man SWAT team and a penchak silat expert? The answer = bloody, relentless carnage. Wow, this movie is violent. Every punch, kick, headshot, body slam, knife stab, knife slice, face bash, spine crush and neck break has the impact of a skull shattering heavy metal riff. But, it's not just the onscreen mayhem that will leave you jittery like last night's caffeine binge.
The slick camera movement and quick editing is as graceful and punishing as the choreographed fighting, never leaving us with a dull moment within the action. Sure, there was a bit of setup in the beginning and some obligatory dialogue between characters that didn't add anything to the experience, but in hindsight that is just expertly crafted pacing. The use of the "slow" build-up allows the tension to escalate until all hell breaks loose; the time in between allows you catch your breath and maybe even pick your jaw up off the floor. So, don't let the genre fool you, this is a slick, inspired production.
Even though his character never had the opportunity to flourish from an acting standpoint, Iko Uwais proves that he can play the hero with a devastating effect. Quickly and dexterously, he dispatches multiple enemies at once using beautifully destructive methods. His lightning fast, rapid movements made all of the frenetically addicting sequences not only possible, but convincing.
There isn't really much of a plot, or any revelatory character developments, but to be honest, do we really need that here? The Raid: Redemption is strictly meant to entertain and maybe even induce an action movie hangover. You don't need to put on your thinking cap or prepare for any deep reflection, but make sure to stretch before trying anything depicted on screen.