Review: The Raid: Redemption

April 14, 2012, 12:16 pm
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With apologies for the trite phrasing - Bruce Lee was the bomb. How epic was Enter the Dragon? When the Kung-Fu legend hunts down that Wolverine-clawed evil island lord in the house of mirrors, sending him through a spear - setting loose your own savage scream is a forgone conclusion.

While Lee's films were undoubtedly rad, times have changed just slightly since the 70s - folks demand a bit more mayhem from their movies these days. Meet The Raid: Redemption, an electrifyingly kinetic and insanely frenetic action flick stacked with a level of violence at which the makers of Grand Theft Auto would marvel.

The Indonesian sensation sets sail with a SWAT squad storming the safe house of drug lord Tama (Ray Sahetapy), said domain just so happens to double as a tower block apartment complex housing a host of hooligans. The raid is ordered by a shady lieutenant (Pierre Gruno) and a guns-a'blazing sergeant (Joe Taslim) but it's rookie team member Rama (Iko Uwais) and his hand-to-hand arsenal that hold all the cards when all heck breaks loose and does it ever.

Soon after busting into the joint, Riyadi unleashes the occupants of his crime hostel on the squad à la the slaughtering of the Colonial Marines in Aliens - secure your seat belt. Director Gareth Evans takes the adrenaline factor to an 11, staging a blitzkrieg of epic proportions. 

Machine guns obliterate the building as Rama transforms into a one-man wrecking machine akin to Bruce Willis in Die Hard amalgamated with the aforementioned karate king - the guy is a whirling dervish of hand-to-hand destruction. Uwais' fist and foot skills are a thing of primal beauty - the guy decimated scores of thugs as the folks in my screening shouted in unabashed exuberance.

The film is a cinema-administered shot of adrenaline that borders on banned substance level, all coupled with a soundtrack as feral as the fury that's unfurled on-screen. I can't recall the last time I left a movie with the desire to punch someone in the gut - the highest compliment I could ever give The Raid: Redemption.

Grade: A-

It was many moons ago in a darkened theater that my love of cinema took root as I snuck in to see my first R-rated film, Blade Runner. The futuristic vision that Ridley Scott unleashed on the screen was simply soul-expanding — spiritual even. From that moment, my mission to have that kind of magic strike again began in earnest. My hope is to be able to shine a light on films that may just have that kind of effect on you — films that may be lesser known, but not lesser in impact. 
- Erick Weber

Final Cut Scoring System
99-95% Opening night
94-90% Opening weekend
89-86% In theaters
85-83% On Demand
82-80% Netflix/Redbox
79-75% If desperate
74-70% If dozing off
69-65% If intoxicated
64-60% If comatose
Below 60% If brain dead

Erick's reviews
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