Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Raid: Redemption (2012)

Everyone fears the wrath of Tama (Ray Sahetapy). No one can stop Tama’s reign, as the dangerous and powerful drug lord, and the Jakarta (a city in Indonesia) slums have become his personal playground. He uses a rundown apartment building as his stronghold. Tama provides housing for drug addicts, murderers, and gang members, and any form of law enforcement fears the fatal consequences of intruding on Tama’s property. But a twenty man SWAT will risk everything, as they attempt a bold raid on Tama‘s apartment building. Sergeant Jaka (Joe Taslim) leads the twenty man SWAT team, and Lieutenant Wahyu (Pierre Gruno) provides the necessary guidance. Rama (Iko Uwais) is the star rookie of the SWAT team. He’s brave, fearless, and a highly skilled martial artist, but he wants to see the birth of his first child, so returning  to his pregnant wife becomes Rama’s main goal.

Tama won’t go down without a fight, and the SWAT team must overcome the revelation of an unexpected betrayal, if they want to survive. The raid on Tama’s apartment building quickly turns into a bloody and brutal battle, and the survivors of the SWAT team will have to fight their way out. Escaping the deadly clutches of Tama’s army seems like an impossible challenge. Rama, Sergeant Jaka, and other survivors from the SWAT team are willing to fight through the line of defense that blocks their exit, but will Jaka’s determination and Rama’s impressive skills be enough? Or will Tama have the last laugh?

The Raid: Redemption features some of the most thrilling and brutal action sequences I’ve ever seen. You won’t see any high speed car chases in this film, and they aren’t too many spectacular explosions here, but The Raid: Redemption can wow audiences with stylish and fast-paced fight scenes. The Raid: Redemption is loaded with plenty of hard hitting fight scenes, the creative and gruesome deaths can feel shocking, and The Raid manages to maintain a high level of energy, while providing jaw-dropping moments at the same time.

Tama’s rundown apartment building did provide the PERFECT setting for this film. The apartment building is filled with Tama’s bloodthirsty army, and the SWAT team begins to lose men fast, as Tama’s army gains the upper hand. The apartment building helped enhance the claustrophobia and fear, and I could feel this strong sense of danger for the SWAT team, because eventually, escape becomes their only option for survival. 

The Raid: Redemption can blow you away with exciting action, but during the calmer moments in this film, you’ll get a brief glimpse into the lives of certain characters here. Rama can be the most deadly weapon on the SWAT team. His kicks and punches are lethal weapons, but this is a man, who wants to be a father. He wants to see the birth of his first child, and he wants to become a family man. Andi (Donny Alamsyah) is Tama’s right hand man. He’s a trusted and loyal servant, but Andi is tempted by the possibility of returning to a normal life. He could take the chance of reconnecting with his loved ones, and the unexpected reunion with a family member could change everything.

Tama is the evil and cold blooded antagonist. Tama’s presence can inspire intimidation and fear, and they really did a nice job of building up Tama’s reputation as this powerful drug lord, who couldn’t be stopped. You will get a glimpse of Tama’s psychotic behavior early on, as he dishes out a series of  nasty and graphic executions, and he doesn’t let the lack of bullets ruin his violent rampage. Mad Dog (Yayan Ruhian) likes to take care of the dirty work, and he is Tama’s skilled hitman. Mad Dog can be a viscous murderer, but this character does display some admirable traits. Mad Dog doesn’t like to use guns to finish off his victims, because guns take all the “fun” out of everything. And Mad Dog will always give his victims a fighting chance. Mad Dog is a ruthless killer, but he did have a sense of honor, and this character didn’t take pride in any cheap kills.

The Raid: Redemption features a nice set of characters, that have a good amount of depth. The constant barrage of bullets, fists, and kicks will keep you entertained, but I could invest my emotions in the story, because I wanted to care about the characters here. 

The Raid: Redemption deserves some serious consideration as the best action film in 2012. The Raid: Redemption provides a thrilling adrenaline rush, that will hook you in from beginning to end. Redemption takes violence and brutality to another level, and the tension throughout this film is just superb. And the pacing is just excellent. The Raid: Redemption can make your eyes bulge with some great action scenes, but Gareth Evans (the director for this film) knew when to slow down. Evans did give the audience a chance to catch their breath, and you really get to know the characters during these peaceful moments. Also, the gritty and raw cinematography was a nice touch here. The Raid has a great look, and the cinematography was a perfect match for the bleak atmosphere throughout this film. 

Final Rating: 10/10


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