It’s been about 24 hours now since first seeing THE RAID: REDEMPTION. It’s about 3 hours since seeing it for the second time. The movie is that intense and that badass. While discussing it with the FilmDick we both decided it was as though the first two acts of the film were missing and the whole thing played out at breakneck pace after a minimum of exposition. It is basically an exposition of pencak silat, the indigenous martial arts of Indonesia. Intense stuff. That bit o’ exposition I mentioned previously introduces us to Rama (Iko Uwais) who is a rookie SWAT officer with a young wife who is pregnant with their first child. Beyond that we see Rama is a devout Muslim as well. In a van rolling through the rain drenched streets of Jakarta we are told the mission by the team’s leader Jaka (Joe Taslim).
Here’s where I’m going to describe the plot. It won’t take long. The plot has a couple of oddities, but those aside, it is a work of simplistic ass kicking beauty. There is a crime lord who owns a skyscraper in the slums. He allows the dregs of Jakarta’s underworld to live there free of police harassment. Jaka is the leader of an elite SWAT unit of 20 officers with Rama being a rookie on the team. Kind of like a hellishly brutal game of Donkey Kong where the officers have to get into the building and fight there way to the floor where Tama watches all that is going on through CCTV and throws everything he has at them. The constant phrase the officers hear and come to say themselves is “We’re not here to do good.” And boy howdy do they do bad. As in bad assed ass-kicking. They pour out of the van and slink their way to the buildings entrance. In the building they hit the rooms floor by floor subduing residents and leaving the more inexperienced members as a holding force watching the doors and lower floors until they are spotted by a young child. An aging Jim Jarsmuch, just kidding, dude kinda looks like him though–puts a bullet through the young ‘uns throat upholding the adage “snitches get stitches.”
At this point, as the kids would say, shit just got real. There are 20 badass cops armed to the teeth with assault rifles, shotguns, batons, knives even fucking axes against a shit ton of martial arts meth heads crammed in one building. Moral: meth does in fact make you a machete wielding badass. Cut off with no back up in site Jaka leads his team the best he can. After grinding down the grist, the core of the team acts as a meat grinder eating baddies alive while attrition takes it’s inevitable toll. There are five bright and shining stars here and boy do they impress. Mad Dog is played by Yaya Ruhian, is also one of the fight choreographers along with badass Iko Uwais who is Rama. Joe Taslim is great as the understated but equally badass team leader Jaka. Indonesian cinema veteran Ray Sahetapy plays the sleazy and intensely brutal crime lord Tama. Finally, Eka Rahmadia, aka “Piranha” is almost overshadowed as Dagu. Watch him from the drug lab battle on and he absolutely shines.
THE RAID: REDEMPTION has been majorly hyped and it lives up to the hype. Don’t go in looking for an immaculate plot or touching dialogue…why the hell would you? This thing is slick, lean and every bit as mean as the stars in it. It has one goal-leave no one’s ass unkicked and hell if I didn’t get my ass kicked in the process. Make sure you watch the subtitled audio because the dubbing is not anywhere near where it should be for a film of this calibre. Besides if you’re watching an Indonesian ass kicker flick why not hear it in the native language?