Saturday, February 02, 2013

The Raid: Redemption

Written, edited, and directed by Gareth Evans, The Raid: Redemption is the story of a young member of an elite special forces team who finds himself alone after a covert mission to extract a drug lord has gone wrong. There, he has to do whatever it takes to survive in this fifteen story building filled with all sorts of baddies. The film is an action piece involving the world of crime and a young man trying to take down a drug lord. Starring Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim, Donny Alamsyah, Yayan Ruhian, Pierre Gruno, Tegar Setrya, and Ray Sahetapy. The Raid: Redemption is an intense yet gripping action film from Gareth Evans.

What happens when a rookie from an elite special forces team finds himself all alone when most of his fellow cops have been ambushed by gang members and such in a 15-story building run by an infamous drug lord? That’s pretty much the idea of this film as it is about a covert mission to capture a drug lord that suddenly went wrong leaving few men including a rookie named Rama (Iko Uwais) to fend for themselves against an army of bandits who are armed with guns, knives, machetes, and everything else. Adding to the complications is the drug lord Tama Riyadi (Ray Sahetapy) who is aware that he’s being watched as he’s more than prepared to handle a group of elite special forces where he has men in and out of the building to take care of things. Particularly as Riyadi also has two infamous guards that are just as dangerous.

Gareth Evans’ screenplay does have a traditional structure yet it is all about this mission where this special forces team has to infiltrate an infamous building yet all they have to do is make sure they’re not seen nor do anything stupid. Leading this mission is the no-nonsense Sgt. Jaka (Joe Taslim) and the veteran Lt. Wahyu (Pierre Gruno) where the latter definitely has a motive of his own that would jeopardize everything. It definitely plays to the suspense where all of these men have to survive as they’re being attacked from everywhere. There’s few survivors in Sgt. Jaka and Lt. Wahyu along with Rama who is trying to help one of his wounded men to get him to safety. Still, Rama has to contend with these crazy men who are armed with all sorts of weapons where he has to fight his way out and survive. Adding to this chaos are these two guards of Riyadi who are definitely dangerous in their own extreme way.

The first is a man named Mad Dog (Yayan Ruhian) who is known as the muscles behind the organization as he is a very skilled fighter that will hurt anyone and is more of a man that wants to take care of things with his own hands rather than use a weapon. The other is Andi (Donny Alamsyah) who is the brains behind the operation as he’s just as skilled in fighting but doesn’t really let anyone know as he’s much more secretive about who he is. Notably as it would add to the stakes of the film that involves Rama who seems to know Andi. It would eventually become more personal for Rama who is intent on returning home as he has a pregnant wife to come home to.

Evans’ direction is definitely entrancing in the way he builds up the suspense early in the film as it starts off with a group of men inside a van getting ready for this secret mission where they’re not going to have any backup to the help them. Evans creates a lot of very tight, intimate shots to play out the suspense where the first act is about infiltrating this 15-story building without screwing up as Tama is minding his own business. Once they’re being seen and something is wrong, Tama would look into his TV monitors where realizes what is going on as it just adds to the sense of terror that is to happen where it’s a full-blown shootout.

Through Evans’ frenetic editing, the film goes into an element of chaos where whoever are left are doing whatever to survive. Evans does slow things down with the edits while using some slanted framing devices to play out the sense of weariness that occurs. Yet, he knows when to give the action a break in order for the drama and suspense to play out. Then there’s the fight scenes and Evans’ direction and editing definitely captures the intensity of these fights. Choreographed by Evans, Iko Uwais, and Yayan Ruhian, the fighting style known as pencak silat is a form of Indonesian martial arts that is quite brutal but also has this unique sense of rhythm that is just mesmerizing to watch. Overall, Evans creates a truly gripping yet exciting action films that does a whole lot more than what is expected in the genre.

Cinematographers Matt Flannery and Dimas Imam Subhono do excellent work with film‘s photography from the grimy look of the exteriors and some of the scenes in the apartments to the more low-key look of Tama‘s room and the hallways for some of the gunfight scenes. Art director T. Moty D. Setyanto does superb work with the look of the building with its grimy hallways and decayed look in the apartment that is meant to play out the personality of Tama. Sound designers Aria Prayogi and Fajar Yuskemal do amazing work with the sound design to capture the atmosphere that occurs in the building as well as the sounds of screams and sound effects in the fights as it‘s definitely a major highlight of the film.

The film’s music, for its U.S. release, by Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda and Joseph Trapanese is brilliant for its pulsating electronic score that plays up to the intensity of the fight as well as some of the suspenseful moments with its more moody moments. The soundtrack includes a couple of songs that features Deftones vocalist Chino Moreno and a track with the Get Busy Committee as it adds to the excitement of the film.

The film’s cast is outstanding for the ensemble that was used for this film as it features some notable small roles from Eka “Piranha” Rahmadia, Verdi Solaiman, and Ananda George as a trio of officers and Tegar Satrya as the wounded officer Bowo that Rama tries to help out. Joe Taslim is excellent as the no-nonsense Sgt. Jaka who tries to ensure that everyone stays alive while Pierre Gruno is superb as the very ambiguous Lt. Wahyu who definitely knows more than everyone else as he becomes a liability to his team. Yayan Ruhian is fuckin’ amazing as the henchman Mad Dog who is this total badass that isn’t afraid to throw down while is someone who has an air of respect in terms of wanting to deal with conflict without the use of weapons.

Donny Alamsyah is great as the more secretive Andi as he is a man who knows a lot more than his boss though is also very ambiguous into how he deals with things. Ray Sahetapy is brilliant as the drug lord Tama Riyadi as he is just this devious man who knows how to handle things while being very prepared for anything that is going to happen. Finally, there’s Iko Uwais in a marvelous performance as the rookie Rama as he knows the stakes of what he has to do where he is intent on returning home as he fights his way every way he can just so he can survive and come home.

The Raid: Redemption is an incredible suspense-action from Gareth Evans. Featuring great performances from Iko Uwais, Ray Sahetapy, Donny Alamsyah, and Yayan Ruhian. It’s a film that carries not just a lot of the attributes expected in action and martial arts film but also features a strong story that plays to the stakes that occur in the film. In the end, The Raid: Redemption is a remarkable film from Gareth Evans.

Gareth Evans Films: (Samurai Monogatari) - (Footsteps) - (Merantau) - (V/H/S/ 2-Safe Haven) - The Raid 2: Berandal
© thevoid99 2013


Unknown said...

Fantastic movie! It never dies down. Great review. Glad you loved it.

thevoid99 said...

I have 2 words about that film: Mad Dog.

That is my new mofo, I have mad respect for that guy. I had a hard time sitting on the couch watching that film. I had a lot of fun watching that film.

Unknown said...

Right? My friends and I kept betting on when he'd get wiped out. It was confusing rooting for both him and the hero.

thevoid99 said...

@Teddy Casimir-I know. Especially since he's a villain that doesn't fight with weapons. He fights with his hands and wonders if he can be beaten. That's why I have respect for that guy.

Why can't action films be like that?

Andina said...

Glad you loved it. It's an excellent action movie, great choreography. Nice review, you describe its greatness really well.

Lights Camera Reaction said...

Great review! I'm watching this later in the week - excited!

thevoid99 said...

@Andina-Thank you. I had a lot of fun watching this film.

@Lights Camera Reaction-See it. It's one of the best action films... ever.