Ass-kicking is back
Indonesian import lives up to the hype
You know that The Raid: Redemption isn’t gonna be your typical Hollywood pulled-punch actioner when you find that your hero is gonna be a devout Muslim. And about 10 minutes in, this Indonesian import seals the deal by kicking off with a bang that keeps bangin’ away until the bloodied survivors walk out of the frame to make room for the end credits. Believe the hype. The Raid: Redemption is a glorious return to ass-kicking mayhem that hasn’t been seen since the Chinese retook Hong Kong in the late-'90s and chased an entire genre out of town.
The premise is simple: A team of elite cops make their way up the stairs of a degraded 30-story high-rise in a sweep to take out a diabolical drug lord who puts his profits into security equipment over maintenance, and rents out the rooms to the most sociopathic elements of society. (Let’s just say that, when our kingpin announces free rent to those who help him make his nuisance go away, these tenants are very, very motivated.)
That’s pretty much all the plot we need, because otherwise it might get in the way of all the ass-kicking that our hero (rookie cop Rama, played by martial artist Iko Uwais) lays on anyone who gets in his way. Granted, after about an hour of watching everyone trying to destroy each other in the most painful ways possible, one starts to get desensitized to all the mayhem. But at slightly over 90 minutes, things end before it becomes a problem.
Invert John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13 by way of Walter Hill’s The Warriors; substitute crazy crackheads for the zombies of the delirious French cult item La Horde; infuse it with John Woo’s trademark ballet of blood (hold the doves) and The Raid: Redemption delivers the goods. Decisively.