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Foreign Film Friday: ‘The Raid: Redemption’ (2011)

“The Raid: Redemption” is an Indonesian film directed by the Welch Gareth Evans. This movie is one that had me in awe from start to finish for the choreography and fighting scenes. The movie’s runtime is 101 minutes and I swear there’s no more than maybe 20 minutes of dialogue; it’s just action on top of action, with a small side of more action.

Taking place in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, the film follows Rama, who works for an “elite swat team,” in attempts to bring down the area’s biggest drug ring in a 30-level building in which he must make it to the top. Rama is played by stuntman Iko Uwais, and that’s the best decision this film made. Uwais is FANTASTIC, especially after he becomes a bit rouge. He 100-percent solidified his place near the top of my favorite action characters as Rama.

I’m not usually a big fan of action movies either, but this one is a diamond in the rough (and all credit to my friend for finding it). I think most of my disdain with action movies (especially American ones) is that they go too over the top with explosions or ridiculous special effects, paired with cheesy, extremely one-dimensional protagonists — this film is not that though. This film is dark, grimy and fun to watch. It creates a great dynamic between Rama and some of the higher ups in the drug ring. It’s able to build depth in its characters, and as I said before, without much dialogue which is an incredibly difficult feat.

The direction is also solid, especially considering how hard it could be to direct a fight scene (which is basically the entire movie). Evans can do it though, and makes it flow nicely. Most of the fight scenes seems real and like you are on top of the action — even with quick cuts and edits, they’re pretty seamless.

Overall, the movie is a brutal sequence of Rama sending members of this drug ring to their eventual demise, each one worse than the other and simultaneously awesome to watch. My only real critique is that it’s pacing outside of the fight scenes could drag a little, but it never really takes you out of the movie, because if you wait five minutes another fight scene arises. I give it a three-and-a-half star rating out of five.