aka Serbuan maut
Director: Gareth Evans
Cast: Donny Alamsyah, Yayan Ruhian, Iko Uwais, Pierre Gruno, Ray Sahetapy, Tegar Satrya, Joe Taslim
Sony Classic Pictures / Regions A, B / Unrated / 1.78:1 widescreen / ENGLISH and INDONESIAN: DTS-HD MA 5.1, SPANISH and PORTUGUESE: Dolby Digital 5.1 / SUBTITLES: English, Spanish, Portuguese / 101 minutes / BUY FROM BOULEVARDMOVIES.COM
Disk Extras: Includes 7 Featurettes on Stunts, Behind The Music and Making Of, An Evening With Gareth Evans, Mike Shinoda and Joe Tarpanese / Filmmaker Video Blogs / Director’s Commentary
About a week ago I reviewed a Chinese action movie entitled The Viral Factor and was very impressed with the high velocity action sequences and the depth of the characters and their relationships. Other than a few John Woo flicks, that was all of the experience I have had with Asian action cinema. In the past year I have been reading about this Indonesian film called The Raid: Redemption which got rave reviews from both mainstream and counterculture websites alike. The Raid features the indigenous martial art of Pencak Silat, and though an Indonesian production, is written and directed by Welsh-born filmmaker Gareth Evans. This is Evans’ second action film and his second with actor and Silat master Iko Uwais.
The plot is straight out of a Roberta Findlay film, namely Tenement: Game of Survival. In Findlay’s movie, a ruthless gang terrorizes a rundown apartment building until the tenants turn the tables and slaughter their assailants. Gareth takes that basic premise and amps up the awesome by taking the setting and giving it to a ruthless, powerful crime lord who has made the 30 floor slum apartment building his base of operations while forcing the occupants to pay him for room, board and protection. That kind of operation is sure to get the attention of the authorities so they send an elite S.W.A.T. team in to take down the criminal boss. The plan is to start at the bottom and secure each floor as they ascend the building but as they reach about midway, a spotter sees them and sounds the alarm. Suddenly the building is locked down and the bulk of the team is trapped on the 16 floor. They must get out the same way they got in; by fighting.
The Raid: Redemption features nearly non-stop action sequences from huge shoot-outs with automatic weapons to some of the most technical martial arts choreography that I have ever seen. The hand-to-hand scenes are amazing to watch especially when they are using knives or machetes. Speaking of which, is it a “thing” in Indonesian movies that machetes are the choice weapon of gangsters? It would seem so if the bad guys in The Raid are any indication. Like The Viral Factor, there is a family element to the story where the main cop dude finds his missing brother who is now a henchman for the crime lord. Upon finding each other, that creates another antagonistic plot point where the “good” brother wants to save the “bad” but does he really want to be saved? Through all of the mayhem and murder, the interesting interaction between the two never seems contrived or silly. And at one point (and this gives nothing away) the two double-team a seemingly unbeatable foe.
The The Raid: Redemption Blu-ray from Sony Picture Classics thankfully was given a good release. The picture quality is top-notch, as one would expect since Sony invented the Blu-ray technology. The 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio is put to the test thanks to the incredible, pounding soundtrack by Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda. In fact, one of the disk supplements is a separate music track for your listening pleasure! It’s also loaded with other extra features including seven different featurettes, my favorite concentrating on the stunts and martial arts choreography. I love this movie for its unapologetic exploitation action roots and giant balls it has for doing some of the most original action scenes ever put on film. If you haven’t seen it yet, my advice would be to just fucking BUY IT because you are going to want to have it in your collection but I’m sure it’s probably available on Netflix or one of your favorite streaming services.