THE RAID: REDEMPTION punches, slashes and chops its way out of Indonesia, courtesy of the skillful Gareth Huw Evans, who directed, edited & wrote the furious 2011 action-fest, garnering widespread critical acclaim and a salutary $9,400,000 return on a frugal $1,100,000 budget.
A 20-man police unit stages an assault on a Jakarta apartment block high-rise, controlled by a drug kingpin, who has turned the building into a criminal fort. Headquarters doesn’t know about the raid, which turns into a survival epic as the hood’s zombie-like army of minions whittle down the cops, their remaining members further riven with divisions of loyalty and purpose.
Pure action pulp, rivaling anything from the traditional regional purveyors of martial arts mayhem. The dialogue is terse, amusingly tough, clichés delivered straight-faced so that they’re effectively tongue-in-cheek, and there’s nothing remotely close to real-world about the thing from start-to-finish: think Assault On Precinct 13 (on crack).
Direction bravura and editing flair are commendable, the casting is good and it’s well scored. The continual fight scenes are splendidly choreographed, but their bloodily inventive energy reaches saturation point halfway through the 101 minutes. It would have played better trimmed by fifteen: once you cross the suspend-belief threshold (brain-jogging punch #30 and back-shattering kick #22 absorbed and the recipients keep on flailing) it seeps the style momentum interest initially hooked and you begin to register that, unless you’re watching while drinking with friends, you really do need to get out more. Those first several fights are pretty darn cool, though. Seek out Roger Ebert’s review.
With flamboyant moves and flexed jaws from Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim, Ray Sahetapy, Yayan Ruhian, Donny Alamsyah, Pierre Gruno and Alfridis Godfred (machete guy).