Thursday, 17 May 2012

The Raid: Redemption - Movie Review

A tense martial arts action movie filled with suspense from all the action sequences.


In the Jakarta slums, a derelict apartment building has become a no-go area - even the police are unwilling to enter. It has become a safe-house for the most dangerous killers and gangsters. A SWAT team infiltrate the building to remove its owner, a notorious drug lord named Tama.

Who's In It

Iko Uwais

What I Thought

The Raid: Redemption is known as Serbuan maut in Indonesia. Yes folks, this is a foreign film, directed by a Welsh director, Gareth Evans. It's an action film, and yes, it has subtitles. But don't be scared away, this is one pretty kick ass film!

As the synopsis above states, cops raid an apartment block. Once they get half way through the building the tables are turned and the no good residents of the building are enticed by the crime lord to take them on and the whole situation changes. Helped out by some individuals in the building, the hero  fights back.

There's some pretty spectacular martial arts in this movie, the style of which is known as Pencak Silat. Once the bullets run out, there's lots of punches, kicks, blocks and throws, all very meaty and all very real. They fighting all feels like it's really taking place and blows are actually landing on each bad guy and cop. None of this fake camera angle stuff you see in Hollywood. Some of the action features knives with the hand to hand combat, with lots of quick puncture wounds being made, as a weapon extension of the martial art.

All of this, coupled with great camera work from Evans is a joy to behold. You can see one of the fight scenes at the end of the trailer below, where the hero makes use of the environment to subdue a bad guy. There's loads more of this in the film, with excellent fight choreography throughout. There are also plenty of gun fights, some with graphic shots to the head.

The audio is also excellent, in terms of both sound effects and music soundtrack. For as long as the bullets last, the gunfire is loud and authentic. At one point, one of the characters loses his hearing and all we can hear is the dull sounds in the background as the action ensues, all the while his ear is singing until it returns to normal after a period of time. The music score is by Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park fame, and is well suited to the action elements of this crime thriller.

Mad Dog (right) playing Rock, Paper, Scissors
I have to mention one of the crime lords henchmen, aptly named Mad Dog. This guy is nuts! In one scene, he puts down his gun and says "Pulling a trigger is like ordering a takeout." Basically, it's too easy, his thrill comes from the fight. In another scene, he willing takes one both the hero and another guy, and he's half the size of both, and is easily a match for them both, truly living up to his name.

This is an action movie at heart, with a story added in to bring it all together. There are a nice couple of twists thrown into the movie, one involving corruption and the other a few key characters in the film. 

Things I Learnt

As with all foreign films, rather than do quotes, I pick out a few choice learnings:
  • A fridge can be a pretty effective corridor clearer, if you stick a gas canister and a grenade in it.
  • If you need to get to the floor below, you can always jump out of a window with a bad guy and use him to buffer your fall.
  • Ruthless crime lords set up headquarters on the 15th floor of a 30 floor building.
  • Bad guys keep fighting, even with a fluorescent tube sticking out of their throat and blood gushing out.
  • Punch and kick the shit out of a bunch of guys and your trainers will remain white and clean.


The Raid: Redemption is a great martial arts action, great camera work and audio to back it all up. Giving foreign films a good name


See some of the great camera work an action for yourself


  1. Great review. One of The best action movies ever made. Even if you hate subtittles, you will enjoy this because you really dont need to read anything to enjoy this

    1. Thanks Vern. Agreed, great action movie. Subtitles don't bother me too much, I enjoy foreign films. There's not much talking during the fighting anyway ;-)

  2. Nice write up Steve. Subtitles? who cares when this film speaks the universal language of punch to the head, knee to kidneys so well.

    1. Haha, and what a great language it is :-)


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