Tuesday, 9 April 2013

The Raid: Redemption (2011)

What we have here is Indonesia's answer to Thailand's martial arts star Tony Jaa. Leading hero of the film Iko Uwais utilizes the martial art Pencak Silat for some major romper stomper fight sequences that would give Jaa a good run for his money I'm sure.

The plot is pretty much videogame-like and extremely basic. A team of S.W.A.T. go into a high rise block of flats within the slums of Jakarta. Their aim is to take out all criminal targets within and get to the big boss at the top.

This film has more of a 'Die Hard' approach than Jaa's films which tend to be more about a lone man fighting hoods. That said the basis is the same as is the look of the film with its dirty, gritty, sweaty atmosphere, its basically an excuse for some kick ass fighting that looks stunning from all angles.

Yes I'm mentioning Tony Jaa a lot but if you've seen his films and like his stuff then you know exactly what to expect from this (minus the small amounts of occasional religion). The only real difference is this film is much more brutal with some truly nasty screen wincing knife attacks and of course many bullets to the head.

On one hand I did enjoy the film as I do like good fight flicks, this dating back to my JCVD fanboy days. On the other hand the fights are slightly ridiculous as they seem to go on forever. It does actually get a tad dull after you've seen the same two/three guys pounding each other over and over and over and over almost taking turns in getting the upper hand then losing it etc...

Speaking of JCVD, these modern day martial arts fight flicks certainly make all the old 80's/90's stars look pretty tame. I look back at Seagal, Norris, Lundgren, Dacascos, Li, Yen, Adkins etc...These Southeast Asian films put them in the shadows bigtime!.

Impressive as it is the film is pretty much fight porn which offers nothing new if your really honest about it. The characters are very bland with most being simple nameless cannon fodder while the carnage is maybe a bit too much? I mentioned 'videogame-like' already, well this film is virtually a videogame level of any FPS you can think of.

My personal diagnosis...take the pending doom and desperation in 'Aliens' of a small elite team being taken down slowly. Add to that the highly stylised visual flair of 'Leon' with the kick boxing martial arts variations of Southeast Asia. What you get is nothing particularly new now (seeing as Jaa got there first) but it is a mean ass action flick with great production values that has been crafted well.