‘The Raid: Redemption’ Review

Published 2 years ago by , Updated November 27th, 2014 at 3:10 pm,

The Raid Redemption starring Iko Uwais Review The Raid: Redemption Review

If you are an action movie fan, you will walk out of this film on an adrenaline high.

In the The Raid: Redemption, highly-trained cop Rama (martial arts star Iko Uwais) leaves his pregnant wife at home and embarks on his first mission with a squad of elite cops. Their task? Infiltrate the slum stronghold of the ruthless Boss Tama (Ray Sahetapy), and bring the gangster to justice. The problem? The apartment complex the cops are invading is occupied by tenants who range from assassins to thugs to certifiable psychopaths – and all the other scum the slums have to offer.

The cops barely make it through the door before they’re spotted by the crooks, and from there it is an all-out war, floor by floor, as Rama and his teammates try to brave a nightmare of violence and destruction in order to make their arrest.

The Raid: Redemption has been hyped as one of the most thrilling and enjoyable action movies to come along in the last decade or so, and this is one of the rare occasions where the hype is actually well deserved. Put simply: this film is awesome. It is easily my favorite action movie of the last few years – and one I might rank as my #2 favorite behind Die Hard (blaspheme! I know). In my opinion, it’s just that good.

Joe Taslim as Jaka in The Raid Redemption The Raid: Redemption Review

The film is a product of Welsh director Gareth Evans (who also wrote the script) and martial arts stuntmen / actors from the Indonesian film industry. (For those wondering, the film is in Indonesian dialect with English subtitles.) The Raid is also a fantastic showcase for the Indonesian martial arts style of “Pencak Silat,” which makes the “wire-fu” antics of other Asian action films look like child’s play. The fight choreography was designed by stars Iko Uwais (Rama) and Yayan Ruhian (who plays the villain “Mad Dog”), and I do not exaggerate when I say that there are certain sequences that will have you dropping your jaw or squealing in excitement about what you’ve just seen.

Aside from the adrenaline-inducing fight choreography, The Raid has some of the most impressive camerawork seen in an action flick. Instead of fight sequences viewed at medium distance – or worse, indiscernibly filmed in “shaky-cam” style – Evans and his camera crew include the camera as part of the fight choreography. During a fight sequence (of which there are many), the camera dances around combatants in perfect synch with their movements and blows – even going so far as to circle around doorways and walls (should someone kicked kicked through one) or dropping down through floors (as combatants move to different planes by jumping down stairwells or holes).

Iko Uwais in The Raid Redemption The Raid: Redemption Review

Iko Uwais uses Pencak Silat martial arts style in ‘The Raid: Redemption’

This kinetic, carefully choreographed camerawork is also effective in scenes of straight-up gunplay, offering us distinct setups (bad guys hiding on a floor above, ready to ambush cops on the floor below), which create great tension and keep the action clear, structured and logical at all times. That this all occurs within the confines of a building (and on a shoestring budget) makes the technical aspects of the film even more impressive. The film recently got an upgraded soundtrack from Linkin Park frontman Mike Shinoda, and the pulsing electronica music fits perfectly with the action.

In a stroke of further brilliance, Evans also borrows many tropes of the ‘survival horror’ sub-genre. The film effectively uses a lineup of stock characters to be (often gruesomely) dispatched, as well as bad guys that could rival some of the more horrific and frightening slasher film killers of the last 20 years. When you see characters like the savage “Mad Dog” (Yayan Ruhian), criminal mastermind “Andi” (Doni Alamsyah), or ‘the machete gang,’ you’ll understand these slasher movie comparisons.

Evans also uses some great tension moments lifted right out of the horror genre: for example, characters hiding from pursuers while jagged blades are being scraped along walls just around the corner, or shots of killers standing over a hiding protagonist who is trying not to breathe, lest he be slaughtered. The elements of the horror genre incorporated into this action film ultimately create delicious tension, and make the actual action moments much more cathartic and thrilling to watch.

Alfridus Godfred as Machete Gang Leader in The Raid Redemption The Raid: Redemption Review

The Machete Gang leader roams the halls in ‘The Raid: Redemption’

With a few exceptions, the characters in the movie are somewhat thin and stereotypical – but really that’s par for the course if you look at any horror film. The main players are fleshed out nicely (namely, Rama and a few of the villains) and there are even some nice twists on certain characters that defy your initial expectations. The performances don’t require all that much range (it’s mostly physical acting), but the main characters are handled well by their respective performers. While the character aspect of the script is just okay, by the end of the film Evans does succeed in creating a larger mythos that will set the stage for an interesting and exciting sequel (which is currently in the works, BTW).

If I had to point out flaws, they would be things like some of the low-budget effects (CGI blood) or the aforementioned thinly-drawn supporting characters. However, these complaints are mere nitpicks (worth no more than half a star) – and when compared to the overall sense of enjoyment and thrills that The Raid offers, these nitpicks don’t even qualify. If you are an action movie fan, you will walk out of this film on an adrenaline high.

The Raid: Redemption opens in U.S. theaters on March 23, 2012. It is Rated R for strong brutal bloody violence throughout, and language.

Click HERE to find out where this movie is playing near you! If its not playing anywhere nearby yet – go HERE for a list of upcoming expansion dates!

Our Rating:

5 out of 5
(Masterpiece)

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  1. Awesome movie, but the English subtitles didn’t do well in matching the Indonesian dialogs. It’s far better if Indonesian people who understands English did the translation. That’s the only thing that ruin the movie. Well, not ruin, just less perfect…..

    • The script was originally written in English and then translated into Indonesian, which explains why the subtitles were so poor — they weren’t a translation of the Indonesian dialogue, they were the original screenplay(!).

      Gareth Evans also clearly is not fluent in Indonesian. Makes me wonder what it’s like working on one of his films, where the director can hardly speak the language of virtually everyone else in the cast and crew! LOL

  2. This is one of those movies that are overhyped and overrated. Five stars? Seriously? We’re stretching to seem like some kind of cinema God aren’t we Kofi?

    Ooh, we got a foreign film that if it had been filmed in America would either be direct-to-DVD or critically panned by websites like this one. But film it oversea and put subtitles? Cinema Gold apparently! This movie sucked, and isn’t worth a second viewing.

    • I’m sorry Gary but you are wrong. Just got out of seeing this film down in D.C. and it was an incredible action movie. I don’t think you should jump into the misguided assumption that just because it is a foreign film, it must be overrated.

      Unreal action sequences and an original movie concept. I highly recommend it.

    • I’ll somewhat agree with you without the tense uncomfortability.
      I thought the movie was awesome but I’m not sure about the five star rating. There’re a bunch of movies out there that are just as good (B13, Ong-Bak, etc.) and don’t get the same five star treatment. Although I thoroughly enjoyed it, I’m not sure why this one is hailed as being one of the best action movies ever.

      • There are action films, but they A) Do not have the same level of Martial Arts skill, IMHO, B) the same level of sophisticated camera work C) the simple yet thrilling premise of survival horror meets action. These elements, as I state in the review, make The Raid one of the better action films I’ve seen in years – an opinion many people have echoed.

      • B13 sucked. Ong-bak is ok…Ong-Bok 2 and 3 just got silly. This movie doesn’t deserve more than 3 and a half stars…But those other movies don’t deserve more than 1 !

    • @Gary

      I don’t even know where to begin in disagreeing with just about EVERYTHING you say above.

      Except “stretching to seem like some kind of cinema God,” – yep, I’m Definitely doing that. Exactly. Way to call me out on it.

    • you are a loser which has no taste in anything but criticizing something which has nothing to be criticised about. You are a loser and is probably a racist bigot at that.

    • I think somebody has issues with foreign movies and he’s the kind of ppl who loves only Hollywood’s product. There are talented ppl outside the country and Hollywood, whether u like it or not.

    • this is one of the most thrilling and awesome film ive seen in a long time…if you dont like this i would not have a clue what would you like…this is film is pure action from the begining to the very end….sorry you thin k like that

    • Yo, I agree. The action was gimmicky. A thousand and one punches and the guy doesn’t die. It makes you wonder if these guys can even throw a punch. Seriously, this movie is so overrated.

  3. 1 thing I know, Evans & Uwais has set the action movie bar extremely high.

  4. This movie absolutely deserves the praise it is getting, definitely 5 stars! Saw it last night and cannot wait to see it again! Not just the fighting but everything about this movie is top-notch. The cinematography, the music, everything. I actually think the characters were all fleshed out enough (it is about the action after all) and the main character wasn’t the only one I was rooting for. People will find stupid reasons to hate on this movie. Do NOT listen to them, they’re just drinkin’ a lot of Haterade. If you love martial arts/action movies you MUST see this. One of the best of the genre. Can’t wait for the two sequels!

  5. Just saw it. Awesome action! If you want to know about Pencak Silat here’s is a link of a demo by 6 Indonesian Silat Master. And guess what? One of them is “Mad Dog” Yayan Ruhian: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PRK9Pfhfa8

  6. I have to wait a tad over a week before I can see it here in South Florida! I’ve been waiting on this flick for a good year plus!

  7. ah you lucky bastards! at least you get to see it! in sweden i dunno when it will be available, even though i know our neighbours in finland get to see it.. they did show it at last years film festival though (and i had even planned on going but called it off for some reason!) oh well either way i can(t) wait..

  8. Eveyone just ignore gary (pretty much the only twit who criticised the movie). This movie is epic and if Hollywood got their hands on it they would most definitely have ruined it to bits!

  9. Just watched the movie in the original language (probably the original soundtrack too) and some parts censored by our “noble” Movie Censor Organization. This is one great action/horror flick. The action realism kinda reminds me of Bourne 3 (without the shaky cam), and the gore/horror (also action) parts are thrilling enough to elicit ooohs and aaahs from the theater audience. Some even clapped at the end of the final action set piece. Totally recommended.

    The cons:
    - the thin budget shows up in CGIed blood and the nondescript/non marked vehicle used in the opening sequence
    - some parts of the dialogue are weird, unintelligible (and I’m an Indonesian!) and at times seemed rushed. The main actors will need more acting coaching for the sequels and probably some script rework to make things more natural

    • yes, I agree. The Indonesian version is not completed with a great sound and music back ground. I wish I could see the Mike shinoda’s version. The original dialog….ugh !…well, the script writer is indeed a foreigner, so I understand his choice of words.

  10. AMAZING!!! Better than ong bak and b13! probably go as far to say one of the best ever action movies ever made

  11. Ok,
    I had the chance to see this the other day. I wasn’t blown away, but it was still a damn good action flick. A few of the fights were underwhelming and their weapons knowledge pissed me off, BUT… Yayan aka Maddog should be the new Hwang Jang Lee!
    His little bitty self did an amazing job as the real bad guy. I’d love to see him in more flicks.

    I will admit, that I was laughing like crazy and “oh damn’n” a good many parts of the fight in the hallway. Kid on the doorjam…ouch!

    This will most def go into my DVD rotation when I need my Asian Action fix…fixed.

    Someone said it was better than Ong Bak.. yikes! Sorry but Ong Bak had Matrix level newness to it and will forever be up there with Enter the Dragon, Fist of Legend and Ip Man.

    The theater I went to had it playing in one of it’s smaller rooms, but it filled up pretty good. I was amazed at the crowd’s demographics. Lots of older (I mean grandparents type older) folks and a good mixture of Latino, White and Black.. all checking out a movie that’s basically word of mouth/Internet driven.

    • Ong Bak was innovative (despite the pacing and bad acting), and Ip Man’s hard hitting Wing Chun is totally thrilling, but I think The Raid is WAY better than both. The adrenaline lift that it provides is so rare these days for action movies. I can’t wait to see it again.

      • The Raid was not on Ong Bak’s level. Seriously, look at the stunts in Ong Bak…no comparison. Look at both director’s body of work: Prachya Pinkaew directed Ong Bak, Chocolate, The Protector, and now Protector 2. He has way more experience with action movies than Gareth and it shows, higher production value, bigger more dangerous stunts (stunt coordinator: Panna Rittikrai dirested ‘Born to Fight’…watch that for real hard hitting stunts…).

        Both Jackie Chan and Donnie Yen have praised Tony Jaa highly. There was not one shot in The Raid that could compare with the long take of Jaa battling through the building in The Protector. The amount of planning that had to go into that shot alone sets that film apart from the pack.

        I like Gareth Evans, though I felt his film was excessively gory, which can be used for cheap thrills. Also The Raid didn’t have a lot of acrobatic stunts, relying on mid shots of arm movements. Some cool applicable moves, but not nearly as cinematic as long shots of fights, that show the entire actors and stunt crew.

        • I fully agree with you.And you are one of the few say it so far.After seeing Tom Yung Goong (The Protector) I wanted to see similar movies like that.And Born to Fight was the first on the list that popped up.I can’t believe how underrated that movie is.Especially since it features stunts and action far superior to that in The Raid.Plus it had more drama to emphasize and intensify the action.Come to think of it.Yamada The Samurai of Ayothaya also is underrated.It combines samurai sword fighting with old school thai kickboxing. I mean that is simply awesome and yet how many people have heard of this movie.

      • I fail to see how the raid is better than ip man. When I see ip mans fight sequences I see fast paced action with great story while the raid fight sequences aren’t as fast paced though I did enjoy the amount of fight scenes and action choreography I don’t see it being better than ip man.

        • Ip Man was a really good martial arts flick with lots of emotional content.Something that intensified the action so much more than The Raid did.But Ip Man is only one of the so many other titles that are better than The Raid.I am also really puzzled why The Raid has impressed so many.

  12. great film…awesome hard core kick ass.
    i know this type of martial art (silat) used in this film .
    but ….indeed this more classic than silat sport.
    this mix silat and classic silat for war. just like my friend said.
    and now i know why many of original traditional silat move called jurus banned from sport silat.
    that because its for killing purpose not for sport. and you can see it all in this film….
    rock on

  13. Ong Bak was stylistically and visually better than The Raid. Ong Bak had better acrobatic stunts too. Cinematography-wise, the Raid used too many mid-shots and medium close ups during the choreography, and not enough wide shots. Go back and watch the fight scenes and you will see what I mean. It relied on fancy arm movements, which have a place but in moderation.

    The long continuous steadicam shot in The Protector alone was far better than every scene in The Raid. The Thais have taken Hong Kong’s ball and ran with it. Gareth has potential but needs to go back and watch more 80′s Chan flicks IMO.

    • Ong Bak had some silly ass choreography! like, there was one part when Ting flaps his elbows forward to hit a guy (trying to make it look like elephant ears attacking)….So freakin stupid. that s*** would never hurt someone in real life. I like Ong Bak but some things are just stupid. especially the scene with roller blade goons attacking Tony Jaa lol in The Protector. Raid Redemption had some crazy action, although the directors camera was way to close during most fights. That gets annoying.

      • Personally I like a tinge of absurdity in films I go see. Yes Ong Bak had elements of the absurd. Especially the Mafia Boss with larynx removed talking through the vocoder, a smart directorial choice made by Pinkaew.

        But if realism is your focus, the long take of Jaa fighting his way through the hotel building up thew stairs had some realistic movements and from a cinematography perspective, and I am an action film geek, no other film has come close to that.

        The Raid had way too many mid-shots, that we can agree on. Even if the fighters are using arm techniques, I want to see their footwork.

  14. Wow…. So I watched Ong Bak yesterday for the first time in years…Wow the movie is so terrible and ppl wanna say its better than Raid??? yea right. The moves are so choreographed. Yea Raid had to many mid shots, but every action scene was freakin brutal and fast and more realistic than any of Ong Baks obviously dumb choreographed scenes!. Ong Bak is just stupid. Escecially the part were he fights big ox. It was boring . And the stunts? The stunts were nothing special at all! So what if he kicks ppl with flaming pants!….Then there is the Protector. Remember the scene were he’s breaking the bones of 50 ppl or so? yea, so choreographed and stupid! I can’t believe some fool on this page said Ong Bak is up there with enter The Dragon and had “matrix level newness”

    • MOre realistic? You call the final fight in the Raid realistic? It went on for ages! They pummeled eachother over and over, kicked eachother’s faces over and over, and still the fight went on. HARDLY realistic. Not saying Ong Bak’s fight scenes were realistic but the final fight in Bak didn’t last as long. Statistics indicate fights don’t last a very long time, so in that sense Ong Bak was MORE realistic. He ENDED the fights quick.

      • So…you are gonna compare one scene to an entire crappy movie called Ong Bak?…. Yea how foolish! By the way, the fight scene was about 6 minutes long. 1 round in a UFC fight is 3 minutes eh? I’ve seen fighters get thrashed in 3 rounds, and still go on until the decision…Yea UFC must be fake! :)

  15. This movie is incredible. Every action fan should see this!!

  16. Yet. Another. Great. Review.

    I’m yet to see a review that was negative. It just underlines how amazing this film is. This is my favourite review – I think you guys should check it out!

    http://www.totalfanhub.com/the-raid/blog/the-problem-is-that-the-film-is-too-good/

  17. Easily the best action movie I’ve seen in years. Can’t wait for the sequel!!

  18. Good action flick! It’s just the infinite endurance of some characters that takes away from my enjoyment of a movie like this. The main thug fights the police (sergeant?) and barely beats him in a long fight sequence and the police sergeant doesn’t come off as that great of a fighter. Then a short time later, the same main thug fights two highly trained fighters at the same time?

    If you want to watch a well paced and gritty action movie than ‘Raid’ is up there among the best. If you want a deep plot or need characters to have a rational reason for their actions in a movie, this probably isn’t for you.

  19. Just saw this for the first time due to this review that was tagged in the nee Raid article. I know this article is old but I tend to agree with the majority of the posts I read, this movie was not worth 5 stars. I’m sort of losing confidence in SR reviews. I know it’s a difference of opinion but a 5? Facepalm. I love action movies and this one had plenty of it. But this is 3.5 at best.