Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Impressive fight choreography.
Martial arts films. I’ve known a variety of people that either love them or hate them. Truthfully, I can understand both points. For the most part, focus is so strong on the fighting that the plot is often ignored. For me personally, martial arts has always been epic and reeled in my attention like nothing else. To say I don’t like them would be a lie, regardless of the fact that sometimes they don’t have the most developed plot. The Raid: Redemption is a film that I’ve seen before, but can remember how impressed it made me in the end…and I don’t really like foreign films all that much. Then again…if I watch a foreign film, there’s probably an 80% chance that it’s a fighting film.
The plot here is classic in its roots. In Indonesia, a great big building houses one of the most dangerous criminals who ever lived. He houses other bottom-of-the-barrel criminals as tenants and for the most part, this building is completely ignored by the police. It’s one heck of a dangerous place. However, it was time to raid the building and take this crime lord into custody. So off they set, floor by floor, subduing everyone they run into…but when one tenant escapes and shouts a warning to everyone else, these Indonesian police just ran into their biggest challenge. The crime lord orders literally everyone in the building to kill the police in order to get free home and board.
Why do I say this is a classic plot? Well, first of all, I want to mention that this film is referenced by so many who watched the film Dredd, and said that film just stole everything from this one. I disagree, we’ve been seeing this type of thing since before most of us were even born. It’s the whole climbing a building where every floor gets more difficult…we have seen the same thing from even Bruce Lee. However, might I note, that this is the same basic plot seen in virtually every single video game. It’s no wonder that people love it…they’ve grown accustomed to this type of thing their whole life. I can appreciate the simplicity of the plot, because most martial arts films only need as much. Even so, this film seemed to have a bit more heart than you usually find in these types of films.
It also wasn’t only martial arts. There were gun fights as well as knife fights – both choreographed incredibly well. In fact, the practical effects used in this film are astounding. Most of the time, these deaths looked absolutely authentic. Not only did the deaths look authentic, but so did the rest of the violence. Those fights were surprisingly fresh-looking, creative, fast-paced, and you actually care about the main characters. Even I’ll admit that I rarely care about the characters in martial arts…I just want to see a good fight. This time around though, the plot was just good enough for me to really care about everyone on screen.
I also want to point out that the separation of different teams in the film would normally be really confusing for any movie, really, but they were able to distinctly give everyone enough personality to separate them from the rest…which means you can easily distinguish between the stories and follow each one rather closely. This, of course, is great to see for a number of unknown actors.
Also, if you hadn’t known already, this is only the first film in a planned trilogy. As far as foreign films go, I’m actually surprised to see I’m eagerly awaiting the next installment, which is claimed to be the one they wanted to make from the beginning…just didn’t have enough funds then. The Raid: Redemption is a great film filled to the brim with top-of-the-line choreography and impressive practical effects that never let up. Check it out as soon as you can, if you are a fan of martial arts.