The Raid: Redemption (2012)
If you’ve been let down by flaccid Hollywood blockbusters in the action department, then give Indonesia’s The Raid: Redemption (part one of a planned trilogy) a try. The movie is like 90 minutes of getting kicked in the face, but in the best possible way. The flimsy premise almost seems like that of a video game. An elite forces police team storms the tenement building of a crime lord. He traps them inside and alerts the unruly residents there will be a reward for whomever takes out the cops. Each floor presents a new level of danger, from machete-wielding gangs to thugs that could show Bruce Lee a thing or two when it comes to wizardly martial arts. When the action is pumping, you feel every electric second of it. Writer/director Gareth Evans uses every part of the buffalo when it comes to action cinema. He kills guys in ways you didn’t know existed. The action is brutal and often relentless, but Evans draws out scenes organically, making fine use of geography. Guys will break through walls, jump down floors, blow up gas tanks, and use everything from filing cabinets to broken doorframes to and florescent light tubes as weapons. It’s a thrill to be able to take in the beautifully balletic choreographed fight sequences; there one that goes on for seven minutes and should already be considered an all-time Top 5 contender in movie history. There’s a fairly pedestrian plot about police corruptions and some family connections, but that’s just gristle. The real meat is the action. It’s so exhilarating and gratifying that the rest is meaningless. The Raid is the best video-game-turned-movie ever, and I don’t even care that it was never a video game. Have you seen these special movies?
Nate’s Grade: B+